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How to Become a Welder

May 12, 2021 ·

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career in welding can be exciting, attracting skilled professionals who enjoy hands-on work. If you see yourself in a detail-oriented role that requires creative problem-solving and invigorating challenges, becoming a welder could be the path for you.

Students interested in pursuing a welding career can enroll in the 36-week Welding Technology program at Universal Technical Institute for technical training. UTI provides students with hands-on training in four main types of arc welding:

Keep reading to learn more! We’ll explain how to become a welder and the skills needed for the industry.1

Welder Job Description

Welders are technicians who use different processes to join metal materials together, most commonly by melting the base metals and adding filler material. This process creates a molten weld pool, which cools to form a strong joint.

These skills also help welding technicians perform metalwork diagnosis, repairs and maintenance. Many industries employ welders to create parts and goods used in our everyday lives, including:

  • Manufacturing and fabrication
  • Construction and infrastructure
  • Automobile manufacturing and maintenance
  • Railroad
  • Shipbuilding
  • Aerospace
  • Pipeline transportation

Welders can work either indoors or outdoors, depending on the type of welding process being used and the specific industry or project.

Read: How to Become a Traveling Welder

How to Get into Welding

Do you need a degree for welding? What about a certificate of completion?

There are no federal regulations on how to become a welder, so there’s no training required for welding, though some states and parts of the industry may mandate specific credentials.

    That means there is no particular estimated timeline for becoming a welder. Certain types of training can either lengthen or shorten that journey by months or years. Your training strategy can influence how well you develop vital welding skills and establish credibility on paper.

    Having said that, here are some steps you can take to help get started as a welder.

    Get a High School Diploma or GED

    Entry-level welding jobs frequently require a high school diploma or GED diploma. Admission to trade schools like UTI typically requires a high school diploma or GED. These documents demonstrate previous completion of a structured curriculum, which can indicate an applicant’s readiness for an advanced technical program.

    Attend a Trade Program

    If you’re wondering how to become a welder, the first step is to get the right training! The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that welding employers often prefer candidates who have attended a technical training program.

    Welding is best taught in controlled classrooms and labs with industry professionals providing instructional guidance and support. In these settings, students use modern welding technologies to put theoretical fundamentals into practice, which can help them correct, learn and polish hands-on skills required for welding roles.

    For example, the Welding Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) can help students build entry-level skills relating to the following topics:  

    • Arc welding processes 
    • Welding in various positions
    • Thermal cutting with plasma and oxy/fuel equipment
    • Personal protection and safety standards 
    • Metal properties 
    • Inspection and defect testing 
    • Blueprint reading 
    • Common welding documentation codes, standards and terms
    • Measurement and geometry skills 
    • Project planning 
    • Quality control 
    • Design software 
    • Pipe welding

    Pursue a Career

    Welding is an important trade for many manufacturing practices. As previously stated, this includes manufacturing for a wide range of industries like construction, aerospace and agriculture!

    Whatever sector they choose to pursue, most UTI graduates begin their careers as entry-level technicians or other entry-level roles in the welding industry. It also helps to understand some important statistics about the welding industry:

    • There are more than 47,000 estimated average annual welding job openings in the United States.42
    • Total welder employment is expected to exceed 434,000 by 2031.50

    Continually building experience can help improve your technical knowledge and skills. Once you’ve spent time in the field, you could eventually work your way up into other positions, like welding inspector or welding project manager.77

    Read: How to Create Your Welding Resume: Examples and Tips

    Requirements for Becoming a Welder

    While there are no federal regulations on how to become a welder, some of the most important traits for welding include:

    • Attention to detail: It’s critical to perform welds correctly with proper setup and preparation, as well as to inspect welds for flaws or issues as you go. Failure to identify welding defects like porosity, slag inclusions, arc strikes and other discontinuities will affect the weld’s structural integrity.
    • Mathematical skills: Welding requires mathematical skills, as welders often review sketches and blueprints. They also need to calculate dimensions while cutting and trimming metal.
    • Experience with various welds: Knowing one type of process is beneficial, but becoming a combination welder with extensive knowledge of multiple welding types will help you demonstrate that you can successfully complete various welding projects.
    • Hand-eye coordination: Welding is a precise skill that requires constant use of your hands. Having good hand-eye coordination is necessary, along with correct depth perception.

    These are just a few of the many skills that can help technicians pursue a welding career. A decent work ethic and a passion for the craft, as with any other profession, can also make a big difference.

    Read: How to Become a Welder in Florida

    Where Can I Learn to Become a Welder? 

    As mentioned above, a welding training program may be the best place to learn how to become a welder because you can gain hands-on experience in a safe, controlled environment led by instructors with experience. 

    During your search for a welding school, you should evaluate how relevant each program’s curriculum is to the field. 

    An effective way to do this is to ask how they developed their course material and what their hands-on training looks like. A program capable of providing you with in-demand skills will teach courses inspired by feedback from industry leaders and incorporate industry-standard tools, technologies and equipment. 

    For instance, UTI developed its welding curriculum with help from Lincoln Electric – a leader in welding technology, manufacturing and design. Throughout the program, students learn the four main types of arc welding under the guidance of passionate industry professionals. 

    Several industries utilize these four arc welding processes, including manufacturing, construction, automotive, aerospace, agriculture and more. Understanding the four processes can help prepare students to pursue entry-level roles and create opportunities to transition across various environments throughout their welding careers.1 

    But arc welding isn't the only way you can learn how to become a welder at UTI. Our welding courses include:33 

    • Introduction to Welding, Safety and Careers
    • Principles of Welding
    • Gas Metal Arc Welding I (GMAW)
    • Shielded Metal Arc Welding I (SMAW)
    • Engineering and Fabrication
    • Gas Metal Arc Welding II (GMAW)
    • Shielded Metal Arc Welding II (SMAW)
    • Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
    • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
    • Pipe Welding
    • Welding Applications I (GMAW & FCAW)
    • Welding Applications II (SMAW & GTAW)

    Some UTI students also jump on opportunities to network with employers by attending our events, where they can introduce themselves and learn more about what employers seek from entry-level candidates. 

    How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?

    Don’t delay starting because you’re wondering “how long does it take to become a welder?” While becoming a welder is no easy feat, with the proper guidance, you can begin pursuing entry-level roles within the field in less than a year. 

    As mentioned above, employers often prefer candidates who have attended a technical training program. These programs can last up to a year. 

    UTI’s welding school equips students with the fundamentals in just 36 weeks! 

    Throughout those 36 weeks, many students take advantage of our Career Services team to help them fine-tune their resumes and practice interviewing for welding roles. Our career service specialists also have relationships with employers throughout the U.S. and can help graduates look for potential career opportunities. 

    While some candidates may be able to secure an apprenticeship after high school with no experience, they will likely require extensive on-the-job training, and learning how to become a certified welder or grow within the industry may take longer.

    How to Become a Welder FAQ 

    Is a welding career hard? 

    Welding is a specialized skill set that can be physically demanding and mentally challenging. Welders may be required to lift heavy equipment and work in tight spaces or outdoor environments for extended periods. The trade also requires careful attention to detail and the ability to creatively problem solve.  

    Does welding require a lot of math? 

    Math plays a vital role in welding. Welders must be familiar with fractions, geometry, conversions, trigonometry and more. If math isn’t your strong suit, attending a vocational school before pursuing a welding career may prove helpful. 

    What is the highest-paid welding job? 

    According to the BLS, the highest-paid welders are those who work in the Water, Sewage and Other Systems industry. 

    How long does it take to become a certified welder?

    Most aspiring welders must test for certification from the American Welding Society (AWS) after attending a technical program or spending some time in the field. While the AWS Certified Welder test does not require any specific amount of tenure to take, candidates will have to understand proper arc welding methods to pass. UTI students can apply to test for certifications after graduating from the program.

    Learn How to Become a Welder at UTI 

    Here it is – our guide on how to become a welder. Although the journey will require hard work, it will present valuable opportunities to learn, chances to try something new and the ability to build a specialized skill set you can take pride in. 

    If you’re up to the challenge, request more information online or schedule a tour where you’ll get to meet instructors, observe learning and delve into our culture. Head to our program page to find a campus near you! 
    With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
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    1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

    2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

    33) Courses vary by campus. For details, contact the program representative at the campus you are interested in attending.

    42) For Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an annual average of 47,600 job openings between 2021 and 2031. Job openings include openings due to net employment changes and net replacements. See Table 1.10 Occupational separations and openings, projected 2021-31, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, viewed October 13, 2022. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

    50) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that total national employment for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers will be 434,900 by 2031. See Table 1.2 Employment by detailed occupation, 2021 and projected 2031, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, viewed October 13, 2022. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

    77) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI prepares graduates for entry-level careers using the provided training. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than those listed.

    Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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