How to Get a Welding Certificate

career in welding after high school

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Finishing your senior year of high school and thinking about starting a career in welding in Texas?

As long as you graduated high school or have earned a GED, technical, hands-on welding training is all you could need to get started. Welding certification might be your next step after learning basic welding skills.

Here are 4 frequently asked questions about starting a welding career and earning welding certification in Texas.

Question #1. What Is the Best Welding Certification to Have?

One of the largest and most nationally recognized certification institutions for welders is the American Welding Society (AWS).

AWS Certified Welder Program

The best AWS welding certification to get first as a welding trainee, welding school graduate or entry-level welder is the AWS Certified Welder (CW) certification.

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What It Covers

The CW program tests welders’ skill and knowledge of various welding techniques used in the structural steel, petroleum pipelines, sheet metal, and chemical refinery industries.

You can get different types of certifications as a Certified Welder with various metals, positions and processes. (You can download the AWS Certified Welder certification table here.)

Who Can Take the Test?

Anyone can take the AWS Certified Welder test. You just need to be able to pass a welding skills test.

The AWS welding certification is the best place to start for anyone who has spent some time learning how to weld, such as in a vocational training program. A welding certification like this can demonstrate to a potential employer your applicable skills and dedication to growing in the field of welding.

Advanced AWS Welder Certifications

All other AWS certifications have some prerequisites, such as education and work experience.

For example, once you have two years of welding experience alongside a GED, you could be qualified to take the Certified Associate Welding Inspector (CAWI) exam.

No objectively “best” welding certification exists, because each one may offer its career opportunities. AWS provides multiple types of advanced certification for welders to choose their own path of certification and specialty.

2. How to Get a Welding Certificate in Texas?

To legally work on bridges, beams and other steel structures with the Texas Department of Transportation, the state of Texas requires that welders have a certification from AWS called the Steel Structures Welding Certification.

The Steel Structures Welding Certification is an endorsement that can be added to the Certified Welding Instructor (CWI) or Senior Certified Welding Instructor (SCWI).

To be eligible for CWI certification, you must have a combination of some education and welding training, according to the AWS eligibility requirements, such as one year of vocational training and four years of welding work experience.

3. How Many Years Does a Welding Certification Last?

Each welding certification will have its renewal requirements. For example, once you pass the AWS Certified Welder (CW) test and become certified, the certification is valid for 6 months.

To keep the welding certification current, you must submit a Certification Maintenance form every six months. If you are still performing the same welding skills and an employer can verify you are still qualified, you can keep a valid certification card.

4. Can You Get Certified in Welding without Going to School?

AWS Certified Welder Program

Technically, to become a Certified Welder (CW) with AWS, there are no educational or training requirements. As long as you know how to weld and can pass the test, you are eligible for certification.

Advanced AWS Certifications

Additional AWS certifications may require some mixture of formal education, vocational training and on-the-job welding experience. It is possible to be certified in some AWS specializations without formal education, but more years of on-the-job welding experience are typically required.

For instance, if you have less than an 8th grade education, you must have 12 years of welding experience to be eligible for the Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) exam.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering or technology, you only need one year of work experience to be eligible.

Trade school welding courses may also count toward AWS certification prerequisites. For example, with one year of welding training credits, you would only need 4 years of welding work experience to qualify for the CWI exam.

Prepare for a Welding Career and Certification with TWS in Houston, Texas

Enrolling in trade school is one way to begin a welding career. The purpose of technical training is to gain a foundation of knowledge in a hands-on environment. Tulsa Welding School (TWS) offers welding training programs in Houston, Texas, that are designed to prepare students for an entry-level position in the field of welding.

With basic welding skills, there are plenty of opportunities for welding certification from AWS and other certification agencies. Some employers may pay for the cost of welding training to prepare for welding certifications, as well as for testing.

Welders are needed to help rebuild bridges, highways and buildings across the country’s aging infrastructure. Will you do your part to keep Texas strong? For information about enrolling in welding training in Texas, contact us.