Getting your certified welders certificate doesn’t have to be complicated. You can get licenses whether you are a beginner, with no experience, or an advanced welder, an educator, supervisor, radiographic interpreter, fabricator, or engineer in the field. This article covers the basics for the Certified Welder education and degrees as they apply for use in structural steel, pipelines, sheet metal and refineries. In the Philadelphia area, look for schools accredited in different welding techniques couldn’t be easier. Career Institute of Technology in Easton, PA is one of many colleges in the general area that you can search for online.
Anyone can apply and be eligible for the educational process since there are no formal prerequisites; you only need to demonstrate ability. To understand what is expected, go to the American Welding Society online website. Courses are taken at an accredited center, often a vocational school or union-run facility approved by the AWS such as the Industrial Training & Testing Institute. Other welding certificates are listed on the AWS website along with pricing and fees for Certified Welder classes. Becoming a member will reduce exam costs.
List of Welding Programs in Philadelphia, PA
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Application Process & Costs
Applications can be downloaded from the AWS or online educational websites and technical colleges. Classes are generally 12 weeks. There is a flat or hourly fee for training and a fee for each certificate. These testing costs can go anywhere from $165 to $350 per exam. The AWS membership and processing fee can be between $15 and $75.
If you are over 18, with no criminal record for at least 7 years, drug free, and own a car, you can apply for government grants covering the entire cost of the class.
Different companies certify their welding processes with an AWS provision. That means their employees can pass a test for their specific welding task on the job. This license is only valid at that company and will not transfer to side work or other jobs at other facilities. It is limited to the specific task being accomplished.
Courses at www.ittinstitute.org, located in Philadelphia,are great for additional education and industry specific courses. They use video tapes and DVD’s for theory and practice of MIG, TIG, and stick welding and cutting, blueprint reading, and welder training and certificates for specific manufacturing facilities.
Maintaining Certification/License Renewal
Proof of continuous work in the field is required to remain a Certified Welder. Do this by submitting maintenance forms every 6 months to AWS at a cost of about $15. Other types of licenses beyond a CW are renewed every 9 years. The pricing for renewal and other requirements for more advanced certifications is also listed on the AWS website.
Salary & Job Prospects
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 15 percent growth in welding jobs between 2010 and 2020 and high demand in construction and manufacturing. Both private and government contractors use welders to maintain, repair and upgrade buildings, bridges, schools and malls. Underwater welding is needed in the energy industry from inland power plants to offshore oil rigs. The average welder salary is $37,900 or $18 per hour depending on ability and experience. Engineers move up to $50,000 and oil rig welders make $60,000 and more.
When choosing a college degree or other facility program to take, be sure the course covers a variety of applications. The 6G test is often used for pipe fitting and assesses body positioning, left handed welding, and different weld positons including flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead, to qualify for several weld positions at once. To find a facility that is accredited by AWS call 800-443-WELD.