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Welding Certificate vs Associate Degree Programs: What's The Difference?

Welding Certificate vs Associate Degree Programs

The major difference between a welding certification training program and an associate degree program in welding technology is basically the amount of material covered, and the time it takes to complete the program. 

Welding Certificate Programs

Welding certificate training programs generally place emphasis on practical welding-related classes like oxy-fuel welding, cutting, and pipe and tube welding. Certification training programs offer students a quick way of learning the fundamentals of welding, without needing to take unrelated prerequisite courses. These programs can be self-paced and are usually about 20 to 45 credit hours. 

Students normally learn oxyacetylene (gas) welding, arc welding, and inert gas-shielded techniques during a comprehensive certificate program. Graduates of certificate training are prepared for entry-level jobs in industries like shipbuilding, utilities, manufacturing, marine manufacturing, and at oil refineries.

Certificate Program Courses You May Take

A very complete 45-credit hour welding certification program may include courses such as:

  • Welding Safety, Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Blueprint Reading for Welders
  • Introduction to Oxy-Fuel Welding and Cutting
  • Introduction to Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • Intermediate Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • Introduction to Gas Metal Arc
  • Introduction to Flux Core Arc Welding
  • Introduction to Gas Tungsten Arc
  • Introduction to Pipe Welding
  • Advanced Pipe Welding
  • Advanced Layout and Fabrication

Find a welding certificate program near you.

Welding Associate Degree Programs

Associate degrees in welding technology normally cover all of the above and more. They are generally at least 60 credit hours in length and take 2 years to complete at your local welding trade school. An associate degree-level program will include general education courses and maybe even business-related courses.

Associate Degree Courses You May Take

Besides learning everything listed in the welding certificate section above, associate degree programs can also include:

  • Advanced Gas Metal Arc
  • Advanced Flux Core Arc
  • Advanced Oxy-Fuel
  • Advanced Gas Tungsten Arc
  • Contemporary Mathematics
  • Business
  • English Composition I
  • Government Standards
  • Elective in Humanities or Fine Arts
  • Internship (may be paid or unpaid)

To find out exactly which courses are part of your local welding certificate or degree programs, contact your school admissions representative.

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