Welder / Welding Technologist

Welders are highly-skilled technicians who chemically join metals using tools that produce extremely high levels of heat and pressure, like lasers and electrical currents. Welding is difficult, dangerous, and dirty; like other “Hot Work” jobs, such as cutting and brazing, it requires persistent attention to environmental threats to safety, health, and the integrity of property.

There are many types of welding, most of which are labor-intensive and sensitive to the variable skill set welders bring to the job. Welding experts are currently in demand across numerous areas of the economy, such as fabricated metal manufacturing, motor sports, construction, mining, welding inspection, and sales.

Welders who live in a state or jurisdiction that requires licensure must make sure the school they choose is accredited by a recognized regional or national association like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) or the Council on Occupational Education (COE).

Degrees in Welding

Vocational Certificates

Aspiring welders can enter the industry through one of several pathways. Independent welder education is technically voluntary, but the advantage of having pre-existing knowledge and skills can be substantial. A vocational certificate is a popular option for those who want to learn an introductory skill set on a relatively accelerated timeframe.

Where can you earn vocational certificates? Certificates and diplomas are offered by a variety of community colleges, such as Ohio State University and Ferris State University. Career schools like the Texas State Technical College often offer vocational certificates exclusively, with some exceptions.

There are also dedicated welding schools, like the Cal-Trade Welding School, and specialized welding schools, like the Divers Academy International, which teaches underwater welding. Additionally, some employers hire workers to be trained on-site in the welding arts. Many unions also fund vocational education and set up apprenticeships for workers.

Pathways

Some certificate programs are introductory courses that ground students in the discipline's fundamentals. After graduating from a good training program, these individuals should shop for employers who are looking for their particular entry-level set of skills.

Others prepare students for special welding certification in techniques like pipe welding or plastic welding. These are popular with working welders who want to learn more to qualify for a pay increase or more advanced position. Many welders acquire an introductory vocational certificate and then go ahead and enter the workforce. Later, they pursue training, sometimes with employer or union funding.

Prerequisites

High school students can prepare for a college program in welding by taking shop, science, and math courses. Most schools don't require applicants to have prior welding experience, although admission benchmarks vary. Be sure to check with your desired institution's specific requirements. Vocational programs range from just a few months to 1-2 years.

Students may be required to have their own welding machine for practice. Another common requirement for admission to welding training is successful demonstration of visual acuity. Poor visual acuity doesn't necessarily disqualify students, but they will probably be required to wear corrective lenses during all welding exercises.

It also helps to be physically fit and have few back problems—heavy lifting is involved. Some employers now require incoming workers to have a full back x-ray before they begin work.

What kinds of jobs can certificate-holders get?

  • Metal Structures Technician
  • Laser Cutter Operator
  • Robotic Welder Programmer

Coursework for a vocational certificate in Welding Technology may include:

  • Practical Fabrication & Layout
  • Print Reading for Welders
  • Metallurgy

Associate Degrees

An associate's degree is a good option for students who can commit 2 years to intensive vocational training and want a comprehensive introductory skill set before entering the workforce. An associate's welding program should familiarize students with the most common types of arc welding, like Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), and Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW).

Each of these types is associated with an American Welding Society (AWS) certification. AWS certifications are a common vehicle for moving up in the field. Because some less skilled work previously available to human welders has now been automated, the job outlook will be best for those with advanced credentials.

An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program in Welding Technology includes courses like:

  • Machine Tool Technology I
  • Trade Mathematics
  • Introduction to Writing

Electives for a welding program at the associate level may include classes like:

  • Physics I
  • Technical Physics
  • Chemistry I
  • Introduction to Engineering

What kinds of jobs are available to successful graduates of an associate's program in welding?

  • Process Maintenance General Supervisor
  • Welding Technology Instructor
  • Advanced Welder

We found 639 schools offering welding degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 639 Welder / Welding Technologist Colleges in the U.S.

Welding Schools By Total Enrollment

1
Houston Community College System
Houston, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 40929

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
2
Community College of Southern Nevada
North Las Vegas, NV  |  Total Enrollment: 29905

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
3
College of Dupage
Glen Ellyn, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 28862

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
4
American River College
Sacramento, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 28420

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
5
Mt San Antonio College
Walnut, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 28329

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
6
Pima Community College
Tucson, AZ  |  Total Enrollment: 28078

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
7
Santa Monica College
Santa Monica, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27868

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
8
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27571

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
9
San Diego City College
San Diego, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27165

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
10
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27020

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years

Browse All 639 Colleges With Welding Programs


Title City State Enrollment
Academy of Careers and Technology Beckley WV 320
Adult & Continuing Education - Bcts Hackensack NJ 77
Aiken Technical College Graniteville SC 2268
Aims Community College Greeley CO 6948
Alabama Southern Community College Monroeville AL 1261
Alamance Community College Graham NC 3414
Alaska Vocational Technical Center Seward AK 210
Albany Technical College Albany GA 2444
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute Albuquerque NM 17265
Alexandria Technical College Alexandria MN 2192
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria CA 12110
Altamaha Technical College Jesup GA 1110
Altoona Area Vocational Technical School Altoona PA 154
Alvin Community College Alvin TX 3665
Amarillo College Amarillo TX 8422
American River College Sacramento CA 28420
Angelina College Lufkin TX 4412
Anoka Technical College Anoka MN 2046
Antelope Valley College Lancaster CA 10315
Apex Technical School New York NY 804
Appalachian Technical College Jasper GA 950
Arizona Western College Yuma AZ 5214
Arkansas Career Training Institute Hot Springs AR 139
Arkansas Valley Technical Institute Ozark AR 455
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville NC 4940
Ashland County - West Holmes Career Center Ashland OH 77
Ashland Technical College Ashland KY 503
Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School Jefferson OH 115
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta GA 2884
Atlantic Technical Center Coconut Creek FL 1570
Auburn Career Center Concord Twp OH 141
Augusta Technical College Augusta GA 3265
Austin Community College Austin TX 25735
Autry Technology Center Enid OK 208
Bainbridge College Bainbridge GA 1311
Bakersfield College Bakersfield CA 14466
Baran Institute of Technology East Windsor CT 242
Barstow Community College Barstow CA 2785
Bates Technical College Tacoma WA 14808
Bay De Noc Community College Escanaba MI 2073
Beaufort County Community College Washington NC 1366
Bellingham Technical College Bellingham WA 3682
Belmont Technical College Saint Clairsville OH 1524
Ben Franklin Career Center Dunbar WV 362
Bevill State Community College Sumiton AL 3558
Big Bend Community College Moses Lake WA 1854
Big Sandy Community and Technical College - Mayo Campus Paintsville KY 1052
Bishop State Community College Mobile AL 4058
Bismarck State College Bismarck ND 2744
Black Hawk College Moline IL 6118
Black River Technical College Pocahontas AR 1239
Blackhawk Technical College Janesville WI 2472
Bladen Community College Dublin NC 990
Blue Ridge Community College Flat Rock NC 1826
Boise State University Boise ID 16287
Bowling Green Technical College Bowling Green KY 854
Bradford Union Area Vocational Technical Center Starke FL 294
Brazosport College Lake Jackson TX 3855
Brevard Community College Cocoa FL 13265
Bridgerland Applied Technology College Logan UT 304
Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg ID 8949
Butler County Community College El Dorado KS 7911
Butte College Oroville CA 11542
Caddo Kiowa Technology Center Fort Cobb OK 311
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Hudson NC 3191
Camden County Vocational and Technical Schools Sicklerville NJ 1120
Canadian Valley Technology Center El Reno OK 198
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington NC 5470
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau MO 169
Capitol City Trade and Technical School Austin TX 89
Career Advancement and Applied Technology Trn Div San Antonio TX 38
Carl Sandburg College Galesburg IL 3220
Carteret Community College Morehead City NC 1470
Carver Career Center Charleston WV 212
Casper College Casper WY 3972
Cass Career Center Harrisonville MO 23
Central Alabama Community College Alexander City AL 1577
Central Arizona College Coolidge AZ 4536
Central Carolina Community College Sanford NC 4113
Central Carolina Technical College Sumter SC 2546
Central Community College Grand Island NE 7126
Central Florida Community College Ocala FL 5230
Central Georgia Technical College Macon GA 3787
Central Kentucky Technical College Lexington KY 1501
Central Lakes College - Brainerd Brainerd MN 3138
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte NC 14908
Central Technology Center Drumright OK 188
Central Texas College Killeen TX 14636
Central Wyoming College Riverton WY 1644
Centralia College Centralia WA 3063
Century Community and Technical College White Bear Lake MN 6937
Cerritos College Norwalk CA 24536
Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest CA 5106
Cet - El Centro El Centro CA 316
Cet - Riverside Riverside CA 243
Cet - San Diego San Diego CA 139
Cet - Watsonville Watsonville CA 146
Chabot College Hayward CA 13615
Chemeketa Community College Salem OR 9650
Chipola College Marianna FL 1845
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