Becoming a Welder - Part 2 Getting Your Certifications

Learning about the different types of jobs available


While still in an entry level position like an apprentice, the demands of the job will pretty much remain menial. It’s important to understand what will be required of you moving forward, however. Different types of welders do different types of jobs. Before you decide on which type you’d like to be, first you must review the choices.

  1. Welders – Welders do just one thing: they weld metals together. A good welder, especially one with experience, can typically find work consistently. A welder is very transitional, meaning he can apply his trade in an assortment of industries, anything from airplane manufacturing to heavy machinery. It’s important to note that a welder does not assemble any of the metals or operate other types of machines. A welder welds, plain and simple.
  2. Welding Engineers – A welding engineer has many more responsibilities than the average welder. Welding engineers need to know how to perform project management and planning, metallurgy, as well as overseeing other welders. A welding engineer will typically need to know how to draft in CAD and most times  must have a four-year degree in both materials and welding engineering.
  3. Welding Instructors – A Welding Instructor must pass the Certified Welding Instructor certification examination from the AWS, the American Welding Association. To become qualified to teach others in a variety of fields however means you must yourself have experience in these fields.
  4. Welding Inspectors – Welding Inspectors must be certified to both evaluate and complete quality standards as pertaining to any job or project. Before becoming certified, a Welding inspector must have extensive on-the-job training alongside a Senior Welding Inspector.

Gaining accredited AWS certification

Most often, AWS Certification can only be attained through both a written test or exam that you will be required to pass once a year (sometimes every 6 months). This will keep your certification up to date.

For commercial welders, typical requirements mean completing the AWS GMAW or MIG 3G certification. These cover the basic skills requirements, but it may be necessary to complete further certification requirements depending on the job. Completion of the courses means you will be qualified for jobs that require a Certified Welder.

For welding engineers, completion of their AWS Certification is necessary. This covers a variety of practical topics, fundamental techniques, and some geometry. Once certification is obtained, the welding engineer is now a qualified Certified Welding Engineer.

Be aware that while certification is not at all times required, and you can still find good jobs without it, you may also find yourself beaten out of jobs by those with accreditation.

Side skills are a plus

If you want to be a welding engineer, think about learning to read blueprints as well. Reading blueprints will help you to better oversee projects. You can attend training classes in project management, blueprint reading, and other vertical skills that will help you in your role.

Recommended Products:

API 1104: Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities  Flux Cored Arc Welding Handbook  Audel Welding Pocket Reference  Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Handbook