While it once sufficed to learn on-the-job without formal training, nowadays it is generally necessary to acquire a complete skill set at a trade or vocational school to become a welder. One of the most popular skilled trades going, you can train to become a welder at thousands of institutions across the United States. Read on to learn more.
Complete your high school education to at least the tenth grade. This is generally the minimum you'll need to gain admission to sanctioned welding apprenticeships. Of course, applicants who have completed high school or passed an equivalency exam are preferred by employers.
Take stock of your skill set. To become a welder, you'll need dexterity, good overall physical health, the ability to work on your feet for long periods of time and enough technological knowledge to operate computerized welding equipment. Consider another career if this seems beyond your means.
Find a community college, trade school or university that offers formal training in the welding profession. While it is possible to acquire the basic skills needed to become a welder in a short period of time, you'll need to undergo extensive training in the finer points of the craft to succeed as a professional. The job market for welders without formal training is shrinking rapidly.
Enroll in a welding program at an accredited educational facility. Complete the prescribed course of study to attain your diploma, degree or whatever type of professional certification your institution of choice offers.
Look for an apprenticeship after you complete your formal education. The community college, university or trade school you attended will have resources available to you that can help you find and secure an apprenticeship with a reputable company. The exact requirements of an apprenticeship vary from state to state, so check locally for accurate information.
Complete your apprenticeship to become a certified welder (CW). With your CW designation, you will be qualified for thousands of welding jobs in virtually any construction or technology-based field you desire. It's a good idea to continue to update your skills as you progress professionally to ensure continued access to the top welding jobs.
Use the American Welding Society's welding school locator feature to find accredited instruction (see Resources below).
Always learn to weld under the guidance of an experienced professional. Welding improperly can lead to serious injury or loss of vision.