When thinking about welding, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is a lot of hard work, gruel, and heat. Jobs such as welding have a bad rep for being rumored as taxing and difficult. But that’s hardly so.
Welding can be considered an art form, and professional welders themselves act as artists at times when working on innovative projects. Professional welding opens up doors and avenues of opportunities and is a very competitive job.
Even more demanding is getting certified to meet pro standards.
Hence, to make things easier, we bring the “how to become a certified welder: step by step guide & instruction.”
What Does It Mean to Be a Certified Welder
To kick off this discussion, let us first discuss what it means to be a certified welder and run through the various tasks you will have to perform.
As a welder, your primary task will be to join metal together and either create new goods or repair old ones. Specific welding industry is mainly dependent on a few very important metals.
These include iron, aluminum, sheet metal, brass, and steel. These are the most common ones, and more may be involved.
Being a certified welder means that you went through exams and procedures that documented your skills in welding and have now been endorsed. This also means you went through seminars to amp your welding skills.
Some of your duties include the following:
- Flame checking during welds
- Blueprint inspection and verification of design
- Safety inspections in welding sites
- Keeping tabs on instruments
These are your primary responsibilities as a certified welding inspector or professional welder.
How to Become a Certified Welder
Becoming a certified welder is not that tough at all. However, there are a few steps that you should take to smoothen the transition.
Step 1: Finish welding School
The first step is to get that high school diploma, without which you can’t make the transition. Try to learn & complete the courses that cover basic manufacturing or flamework in high school, if your welding school offers them. Many high schools offer courses in welding and metal fabrication.
Step 2: Begin Training
The next step is to start your career transition. A welding training program is perfect for this and can jumpstart welders career. Many welding certificate programs can be done in about 6 months to a year and are affordable too.
But, if you want greater exposure, you can go for longer training programs, such as two years, three years, or even four. These are more expensive, but the knowledge you receive will be priceless, to say the least.
Step 3: Internships
Internships can provide you with valuable hands-on experience, and this will help immensely in the long run. Try to land an internship when you feel you are ready for some hands-on experience. Some welding programs find suitable positions for you, so see if your program does.
Step 4: Tests!
The big day is here. The tests will define what you have learned thus far, and there are several of them to choose from. This we will discuss briefly next. Once you passed the tests, you can work as a professional welder.
Types of Welding Certifications Levels
The most renowned certification standard is that of the American welding society (AWS). And the AWS conducts exams and provides a number of welder certification levels to successful examinees. These are listed below.
American welding society (AWS) certification:
- Certified Welders (CW)- This requires no prior experience.
- Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)- This requires some prior experience.
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI)- It’s required a level of education and welding work experience.
- Certified Welding Educator (CWE)- This requires the applicant to possess a former welding certificate and has classroom teaching experience (several years preferably)
- Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR)
So, the ones above are the most common levels. Additional levels include:
- Certified Welding Engineer
- Certified Robotic Arc Welding
- Certified Radiographic Interpreter
Welding Certification Tests
The tests are taken in different ways, and it can vary from level to level, based on difficulty, time, length, and so on. And the general structure of the test consists of a theoretical part and a practical task or job.
In the theoretical task, you will be asked certain questions regarding the process of welding and distinguish between functions, analyze safety procedures, recount facts, and so on.
Welding Processes such as Stick (shielded metal arc welding), MIG (gas metal arc welding), TIG welding (gas tungsten arc welding), or Flux Core (flux cored arc welding).
And in the practical part, you will be asked to perform a test weld. The instructor will provide all details before the test, and you must ensure that your final products meet the guidelines set. Passing on both sections will get you a welding certification and accelerate your career progress.
Welding Certification Test Costs
The costs vary according to the level. Here we have provided the average breakdown.
- Certified Welders (CW) This is a basic AWS certificate & this certificates will cost you $35
- Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) certificates cost $850 to $1065
- SCWI certificate cost between $850 and $1065
- CWE certificate costs between $635 and $850
- CWSR certificates cost between $275 to $355
Types of Welding Tests
The American Welding standards have laid down certain tests & requirements for welders to hone their welding skills. When examining a sample for inspection, there are a few tests that must be undertaken. These include:
- Visual Inspection
- Bending Test
- Fillet break Test
- Macrotech Test
- Radiographic Test
While all are important, the first two are paramount during quality inspections, and it’s necessary for professional welders to know how to perform them.