Welding can be learned in the classroom or on the job through apprenticeship.
Various amounts of welding training are available for different positions in the industry.
Welders obtaining a certificate may start in entry-level jobs or move on to an apprenticeship.
Those completing a bachelor’s degree may start in management or engineering positions.
Some classes are on-site and others are available online and typically include topics ranging from the fundamentals of welding to preparation for a certified welder exam.
Welding training courses include blueprint reading, shop mathematics and mechanical drawing.
Classes to set up students for a professional welding certification will includes training in cutting systems, safety procedures, welding processes and metal fabrication.
Associate’s degrees cover a wider range of material, including welding, drafting techniques and fabrication.
A bachelor’s degree goes even deeper into metallurgy, engineering and welding computer programming.
The focus is on welding leadership and design to prepare for higher level positions.
Community colleges or technical schools typically charge $5,000-$15,000 for welding training programs.
Programs usually last two years and earn a certificate of completion.
Tuition and training period can vary depending on the location and specialization.
For example, Modern Welding School in Schenectady, New York is a $6,000 program lasting three months.
Alexandria Technical & Community College in Minnesota is $7,000 and lasts one year.
The Welder Training and Testing Institute in Allentown, Pennsylvania costs $8,100 and lasts nine months.
Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees vary substantially in tuition for non-residents versus residents.
There are substantial savings from attending a nearby school.
Associate’s degrees can be earned in two years and range from $2,000-31,000.
For example, Austin Community College in Texas is $1,900 for residents and $11,430 for non-residents.
A bachelor’s degree in welding engineering technology at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan is $41,760 for state residents and $62,640 for non-residents.
A bachelor’s degree can be earned in four years and ranges $40,000-$100,000.
Those who earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in welding typically go on to become welding supervisors, inspectors, instructors or engineers.
After training, many welders go on to complete an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships can be formal or informal, cost between $0 and $1,300 and last 3-5 years.
Welding typically requires a state license and qualifications will vary by state or municipality.
Licensing fees are between $24 and $250.
For example, on the low side Pittsburg charges $87 for a welding permit.
However, Mississippi requires a $200 fee plus $50 for each additional license obtained.
Many welding schools require passing of a certification exam.
After the exam, other certifications can be obtained to further your career.
Certification requirements vary by location and specialization.
Depending on the certification, costs range from $275 to $1,100.
For example, a welding instructor certification from American Welding Society is $825 for members and $1,040 non-members.
Additional fees include equipment and books, housing and meals.
These range from $500 to $10,000 depending on the location and the program.
For example, a 10-week program at Albany Trade School in Albany, Oregon charges a $600 equipment fee in addition to the cost of the coursework.
In Jacksonville, Florida, additional costs range from $65 for a physical examination, $240 for books, $721 for equipment, $800 in lab fees to $4,000 for housing and meals.
Tools and safety equipment incur additional costs ranging from $500 to $1,200.
Examples include Alfred State SUNY College of Technology in Alfred, New York which estimates $150 for safety equipment, $700 for a welding rod and $1,000 for tools.
Discounts, including scholarships, may be available for qualified applicants.
For example, scholarships from the American Welding Society range from $500 to $3,000.
Student discounts for welding tools are common in the industry.
The Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington estimates a $780 discount for safety equipment and tools.
Some retailers also sell used welding equipment for reduced prices.
For more information, check out our database of welding training programs by state.