Welders are trained to weld or join metal parts. They use a wide variety of materials and tools to weld different types of metals under specific conditions. The vast majority of welders have earned one or more welding industry certifications attesting to their knowledge of specific welding methods. The American Welding Society offers a number of certification programs, including the Certified Welder program.
Enroll in a welding program at a local community college or technical school unless you are already an experienced welder. The AWS Certified Welder program does not require any specific educational requirement, but you are expected to demonstrate your ability to deposit a sound weld in several common settings such as joining sheet metal or pipe-fittings.
Register for the AWS Certified Welder program and schedule an appointment for testing at one of the more than 80 AWS-accredited test facilities around the United States.
Attend your scheduled appointment at the AWS-accredited test facility and deposit sound welds on the specified performance tests. You should demonstrate an ability to adhere to each welding procedure specification, including fit-up, assembly and positioning. Your welds will be inspected and graded by an AWS test supervisor. If you pass, you will receive your AWS Certified Welder card within about two weeks.
Renew your AWS certification every six months by having your employer sign your renewal form attesting that you have performed the welding techniques originally tested for within the last six months, and return the form and maintenance fee to the AWS.
- Check with your employer regarding your AWS certification if you are already working as a welder. Many employers will pay for professional certifications, and some employers want to include specific performance tests as a part of your AWS certification testing.
- If you fail a certification test, you can reschedule at any time.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: OOH -- Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: OES -- Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011 51-4121 Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
- American Welding Society: AWS Certified Welder Program
- American Welding Society: AWS QC7-93 Standard for Certified Welders
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images