What Education Is Required to Be a Welder?

Welders are in high demand across a variety of industries. If you’re thinking about becoming a welder, you might be wondering what kind of education is required. Here’s a look at what you need to know.

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Welders may not need a formal education to enter the occupation, but they must complete welding training, which is offered by many community colleges, trade schools and welding companies. Some welders also learn their skills through apprenticeships or on-the-job training.

What Education Is Required to Be a Welder?

Becoming a welder is a great way to start a career in the skilled trades. Welders are in high demand, and the job outlook for welders is very positive. But what education is required to be a welder? To be a welder, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to have completed a welding program at a technical school, community college, or trade school.

High School

Most welders learn their trade through apprenticeships or on the job training, but some welders may choose to get a formal education either through a welding certificate program offered at a community college or a welding diploma or associate’s degree program.

Welders usually need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent before they can begin training. Once they start an apprenticeship or on-the-job training program, they usually receive welding certification from the American Welding Society (AWS). The AWS offers several different types of welding certifications, which welders can earn after passing a welding performance test.

Post-Secondary Training

Most welders complete a formal training program at a trade school, technical school, or community college. Many programs last about 9 months, but some programs can take up to 2 years to complete. Some schools offer specialized programs for welding, while others offer welding as part of a broader program in metalwork or industrial technology. Certification is not required to work as a welder, but it may improve your chances of finding a job and could lead to higher wages. The American Welding Society (AWS) offers several different types of certification for welders.


Becoming a welder usually requires completing an apprenticeship program. Although some welders learn their trade through on-the-job training or welding school, most welders complete an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Apprenticeships are sponsored by employers, trade associations, or joint labor management committees.
The length of an apprenticeship program varies but is typically two to four years for welders. Apprentices must be at least 18 years old to participate in most programs, although some programs accept applicants who are as young as 16.

To become an apprentice welder, you usually need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and pass an aptitude test that measures your basic math and reading skills and your ability to follow instructions.

How to Become a Welder

The first step to becoming a welder is to obtain the necessary education and training. There are many welding schools across the country that will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful welder. Many community colleges also offer welding courses. In addition to formal education, it is important to have some experience working with metal. This can be obtained by working in a metal shop or by taking some welding classes.

The American Welding Society (AWS)

The American Welding Society (AWS) was founded in 1919, as a nonprofit organization with a global mission to advance the science, technology and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes, including brazing, soldering and thermal spraying. AWS strives to move the industry forward in both thought and action, as well as inspire new generations to see the exciting career opportunities available in welding, cutting and allied processes.

To become a certified welder, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited welding program and pass a welding certification test. There are many types of welding certifications available, each with its own set of requirements. Some welding certifications are specific to certain industries, such as shipbuilding or pipelines. Other welding certifications are more general, such as the Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) certification from AWS.

Once you have completed an accredited welding program and passed a welding certification test, you will be able to start your career as a welder. There are many different types of welding jobs available, so you should be able to find one that match your skills and interests.

The National Center for Welding Education and Training (NCWET)

The National Center for Welding Education and Training (NCWET) is responsible for the administration of welding training programs across the United States. The organization provides support to welding educators, industry, and government in the development and implementation of technical standards and education curricula.


Welding certification is not required in every state, but it may be required by your employer. Many employers prefer to hire certified welders because it shows that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job. There are many welding certification programs available, and you can usually find one that fits your schedule and needs.

Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median welder salary was $41,380 in 2019. The best-paid welders earned $70,920, while the lowest-paid welders made $28,300.

The job outlook for welders is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment will grow by six percent between 2019 and 2029.


While there is no one specific educational requirement to become a welder, most welders have received some formal training through a vocational school, community college, or welding apprenticeship program. Many welders also have a high school diploma or equivalent. The type of welding you plan to do will also influence the type of training you need to receive. For example, if you are interested in becoming a certified welding inspector, you will need to complete a rigorous training and certification program.

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