A professional welder fuses the metal joints that can be found in everything from massive structures like ships and skyscrapers to tiny parts found in computers and medical devices. Large or small, a professional welder’s work must be strong and sound to ensure the satisfaction and safety of its users. Formal welding training and welder certification are two credentials employers typically look for to confirm whether a welder has the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job correctly. What does earning these qualifications entail and what else is needed to become a welder?
What Do You Need to Become a Welder?
While many of the skills necessary to work as a welder can be learned in welding classes, certain personal traits can also be helpful on the job. Since welding requires strength and precision, these tradespeople can benefit most from a combination of physical and mental qualities.
|Mental Qualities||Applications||Physical Qualities||Applications|
|Attention to Detail||Visually Detecting Defects & Performing Precise Work||Manual Dexterity: Steady Hands & Good Eye-Hand Coordination||Guiding Handheld Welding Equipment Along Metal Surfaces with Precision|
|Spatial Orientation||Interpreting Multi-Dimensional Diagrams||Physical Strength & Stamina||Lifting Heavy Equipment & Standing While Performing Repetitious Tasks for Long Stretches of Time|
|Critical Thinking||Logically Troubleshooting Problems||Near Vision||Seeing Work a Few Feet Away|
|Problem Sensitivity||Recognizing Problems||Operation & Control Precision||Controlling System & Equipment Operations with Precision|
|Monitoring||Assessing Personal & Peer Work Performance to Make Improvements||Multi-Limb Coordination||Coordinating Movement of Two or More Limbs While Standing, Sitting, or Lying Down|
What Training & Education Does It Take to Become a Welder?
The skills for a welding career are often learned in a welding training program and validated through welder certification tests. This is because employers typically prefer to hire welders with technical training. A high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) are usually requirements for admission into welding schools. Work experience is also helpful to becoming a welder because it may entail on-the-job training or help with career advancement or specialized certification.
High School or GED
Helpful Classes or Study Focuses: 
- Shop Math
Example Welding Classes 
- Basic Math
- Welding Processes with Production Applications
- Metal Cutting Techniques
- Metal Properties
- General Safety Training & Safety Procedures for Craning & Rigging
|Welding School||Core Production Welding Processes (SMAW, GTAW, FCAW & Others)||Enrollment in Welding Program & Passage of Test||Positions in Maintenance, Construction & Manufacturing|
|Employer||Welding Processes Needed for the Job||Job Interview & Passage of Test||Welding Job|
|American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welder||AWS Standard Welding Procedures (SWPSs), Non-Code or Company Supplied Welding Specifications, or Industry Standard Specifications||Pass a Test at an AWS Accredited Test Facility & Submit Completed Application & Fee||Welding Jobs in the Petroleum Pipeline, Chemical Refinery, Structural Steel & Sheet Metal Industries|
|Specialized Industry: AWS, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Petroleum Institute (API) & Others||Varies||Usually a Combination of Work Experience, Welding Training & Other Requirements||Professional Certifications like Certified Welding Inspector or for Working in the Petroleum or Boiler & Pressure Vessel Industries|
Where to Learn How to Weld
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there are a few options of where to receive formal welder training: vocational schools, community colleges, and welding schools. A welding program can take between 7 months and 2 years to complete. Community colleges can take longer, especially if seeking an associate degree. Vocational and welding schools tend to offer a more career-specific, hands-on course of study, which can result in shorter program lengths.
Delta Technical College offers a welding training program that can be completed in 7 months at its campuses in Horn Lake and Ridgeland, Mississippi. Graduates of the program typically find employment in the maintenance, manufacturing, and construction industries as pipefitters, boilermakers, structural welders, and other positions. If you have further questions about becoming a welder, our admissions staff can help.
-  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm#tab-2