Not everyone wants to go to a four-year university. There are plenty of respectable career options for people who prefer to work in a hands-on environment.
Welding is a great example of one such career. Welders play an important role in society, and are needed in almost every industry, from car racing to manufacturing.
You need to know what to expect before pursuing a career in welding. Understanding the requirements for certification, licensing and welding training can help you prepare for success in the field.
If you’re in Florida, here’s some helpful information about starting a welding career in your state.
How Do I Become a Certified Welder in Florida?
The American Welding Society (AWS) is a nationally recognized certification organization for welders. Earning an AWS certification shows potential employers that you have met the rigorous standards for welding set by the AWS Qualification and Certification Committee.
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Passing the AWS welding test guarantees that your welding knowledge and experience meet an approved set of industry standards.
There are a few different types of welding certification offered by the AWS.
The foundational level of certification is the Certified Welder program, which anyone can take. It is purely performance-based, so there are no official prerequisites. You simply need to have the right welding skills and knowledge to pass the test.
After earning the Certified Welder designation, you could be eligible to advance into other areas of certification:
4 Basic Steps You Could Take to Become a Certified Welder
How do you become a welder? Below are 4 steps many men and women take on their journey to becoming a certified welder.
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma or Equivalent
To get started on the path to becoming a certified welder in Florida, the very first step is to graduate high school or earn a GED. That is the first basic educational requirement.
At Tulsa Welding School, however, folks without a GED or high school diploma have the opportunity to begin learning how to weld. The Education Career Pathway Program allows student to enroll in TWS’s Professional Welder program (or any of the other TWS eligible programs) and an Adult Education Program at the same time. ECPP students who complete both programs will receive both a high school diploma and a diploma from TWS. ECPP students can receive their high school diploma without completing their training at TWS. Of course, it’s advisable to complete welding training to become a professional welder in Florida.
Step 2: Learn Welding Skills
Next, all welders need to learn welding skills. Welding is a hands-on job, so hands-on technical training is usually necessary.
Many people learn their welding skills at a vocational training program. Tulsa Welding School (TWS) in Jacksonville offers three different types of welding training programs, for example, that combine interactive workshops with in-class lecture.
Completing a welding training program is one way to learn the skills necessary to pass the AWS Certified Welder exam and gain the skills for an entry-level welding job.
Step 3: Take a Welding Test
Once you’re ready to take the AWS Certified Welder test, you would need to make an appointment with an AWS-accredited testing facility. The TWS Jacksonville campus is an AWS-accredited testing facility.
If you pass the welding certification test, congratulations! You will know immediately if you passed.
It may, however, take a few weeks to receive your Certification card and Maintenance Form in the mail. After that, you are officially a certified welder!
If you do not pass the test the first time, you can retake it at any time.
Step 4: Comply with Local Licensing Laws
Some states, counties or cities may have additional licensing requirements for welders. Contact your city, county or state to find out what the legal working requirements are for welders where you live.
In Florida, the Construction Industry Licensing Board oversees contractors in the construction industry, including sheet metal contractors.
In Jacksonville, the Construction Trades Qualifying Board oversees construction licensing and exams, including a Craftsmen Certificate for Welding.
How Much Does a Welding Certification Cost?
As of January 2022, the application fee for the AWS Certified Welder exam costs $55 for both AWS members and non-members. The maintenance fee of the certification is $30.
In addition to AWS certification, there are other specialty welding certifications.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) both offer certification.
Each certification may have its own associated fees, and these might change over time. Check directly with the accrediting organization.
What Type of Welding Is in High Demand?
What type of welding is in high demand can depend on where you’re working. If you’re working on urban construction sites erecting buildings, for example, you might use stick welding a lot. Or, if you’re working in a shop that focuses on precision welding, then TIG welding could be common.
4 Common Types of Welding
Four main types of welding are used across various industries:
- Gas metal arc welding (GMAW/MIG)
- Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW/TIG)
- Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)
- Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW)
What’s the Career Outlook for Welders?
As of May 2021, there were 13,96 people working under the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) category of “Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers in the state of Florida.” Welding as an occupation is expected to grow about 8% by 2030.
Welders who are willing to relocate and/or travel may have better job prospects than average. Welders who keep advancing their skills might also open up more doors of opportunity for themselves.
If you are curious about job prospects in your area and what type of welding jobs are out there, check local job boards like Indeed or ZipRecruiter. You can browse job listings and see what type of welding skills, training and certifications are needed to be a competitive candidate.
Prepare for a Welding Career at TWS in Jacksonville, Florida
Want to know more about welding training in Jacksonville, Florida? Get in touch with a TWS Admissions Representative today to talk about your options. A career in welding just might be the perfect path for you!