So you are interested in becoming a welder, maybe investigating different welding schools and you have the question “how long is welding school.” Most welding schools offer three different types of welding programs that can vary in length. Let’s take a look at your choices and what may be best for you.
How Long Is Welding School? Answers Here!
You should be aware that their are a lot of fly by night welding schools out their. Be careful when choosing a welding school to attend, it is very important to get good training. The length of each school’s welding program will depend on what they are teaching you. I would HIGHLY recommend choosing a welding school that at least offers the following things.
- Combination Welding – This means that you will learn pipe welding as well as plate welding.
- All Welding Processes – Every welder should be able to utilize the three basic welding processes, in all positions. Make sure your welding school offers SMAW/Stick, GMAW/MIG and GTAW/TIG welding training.
- Knowledge Based Learning – You should learn how to read and understand blueprints as well as have pipefitting skills. Classes in metallurgy, welding theory and metal identification are also great.
- Welding Certifications – It is great if a school offers in house welding certification tests but you can always take these on your own thru a third party.
Length of combination welding school programs
If you are learning pipe welding as well as plate welding with all of the common welding processes a good welding program should be at least 5 or 6 months long. To become a welder, a good welder you need to practice and then practice more. My advice is to look for a welding school that is between 6 months and a year long. This will give you ample time to really hone in your skills.
Length of associate’s degree welding programs
If you choose to attend a welding school that offers an associate’s degree you will find that the length of welding school will be anywhere between a 12 and 18 months on average. Youy do not have to have a degree to become a welder. Most companies will not care if you have a degree and would rather see experience and certifications on your resume. With that being said having a degree is not a bad thing. It can be useful when applying for management positions or going back to school in the future.
Beware of short term welding schools
There are many welding school that say they will train you in three months. Being an experienced welder I don’t know how this is possible at all unless they are just teaching you the very basics. Not only do you have to learn to weld with three different process (four if you count FCAW) but you have to be able to weld in every position on pipe and plate. Positions include flat, horizontal, vertical, overhead and also at a 45 degree angle for pipe.
Another consideration, welding exotic metals and alloys
Everything that is welded is not steel. Many manufactures, plants and factories utilize different metals for a host of different reasons. The more specialized you are as a welder the more money you be able to make. If your school teaches you to weld different metals other than steel the welding schools program will be longer, at least it should be! Some commonly welded alloys and exotic metals include the following.
- Stainless steel
Length of underwater welding programs
Underwater welding schools are generally about 7 to 12 months long. The welding portion is only a small portion of underwater welding school. You will become a certified diver and salvage expert. You do NOT need prior welding experience to go to underwater welding school. You may find my underwater welding information page interesting.
Other helpful articles about welding, welding schools & more
- National Welding School Directory – Find a quality welding school near you.
- Top Welding Schools – Find out which welding schools offer the best welder training.
- Tips for Choosing a Welding – Things to look for in a good welding school. Free printable welding school checklist included!
- How Much Do Welders Make – A real world look at welding wages and how to make good money.
- Types of Welding Jobs – Find out which welding career path you might be interested in.