How to Become a Welder in Texas and How long does it Take?

How to become a welder in Texas

When you are career ready, time matters. Well, how to become a welder in Texas? Texas is known for being one of the top states to hire welders. They also host several schools where you can find appropriate classes and training in less time.

How do you become a welder in Texas and how long does it take? The state of Texas requires welders to be certified by the American Welders Society. The best course of action is to find a good program at a local school and then test for certification. These courses can range anywhere from six month to two years.

You do not need a degree to enter the welding industry. Texas requires welders to hold an American Welders Society certification. Gaining knowledge from an accredited institution helps you learn what is required to pass the certification test.

We have put together an information guide, with links, of the top welding school programs in the state of Texas.

Learn More About the Highest paying Welding Jobs: – Here, you can find an article from our website about: Do Welders Make Good Money? | Highest Paying Welding Jobs

Who is the American Welders Society (AWS)?

The AWS is a nonprofit organization that helps create and maintain high standards for the welding industry. They help unite welders and industry in a common cause. The nonprofit has become a popular source for certification and testing in the welding community.

Some AWS certification programs include:

  • Certified Welder (CW)
  • Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)
  • Senior Welding Inspector (SCWI)
  • Certified Welding Educator (CWE)
  • Certified Welding Supervisor (CWS)

The certification we discuss is the Certified Welder option. This certification is performance based. There is no prerequisite classes or courses you need in order to pass the certification. It is recommended to find some way to gain experience in the welding field.

If you choose to become a welder in Texas, you need to become certified. A good way to make sure do well on the AWS test is to take specific courses or programs that familiarize you with known welding techniques and standards.

Accredited Testing Facilities (ATF)

To be certified by the American Welders Society you need to be tested at an Accredited Testing Facility.

If your school is not an ATF, then you must go to a third-party resource or another school to get a certification test. According to the AWS website here are some Texas facilities that are accredited under the AWS that would work as a third party option:

It is a good idea to ask for recommendations from your current welding school. It’s likely they will know which location is best suited for what you need.

Welding Abbreviations

We are going to be using some welding terms throughout this guide. These abbreviations give a shortcut and help remembering them.

This will help anyone doing their own research since this is the familiar way listed in educational resources. The following terms are welding techniques that most schools offer and should help you get certified.

Oxy-Fuel- A welding process that uses fuel gases and oxygen to weld or cut metals.

GTAW- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding

FCAW- Flux-Cored Arc Welding

GMAW- Gas Metal Arc Welding

SMAW- Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Related Article: Is Welding a Hard Job? | All Facts You Need To Know

9 of the Best Welding Schools in Texas

Searching for the best welding school in Texas is not hard if you know what to look for. We have noticed the best programs tend to be the ones who offer the most. Check to see what comes with each degree or certificate course.


If you are ready to join the workforce now, then check to see how long the program takes to complete. Check if the institution is an ATF, that way you can get everything you need in one location. This is how you become a welder in Texas.

Before you continue reading, here is an article we wrote about Advantages of Being a Welder >>Salary, Working Hours | Worklife Balance

1. Alamo Colleges District St. Philip’s College

A benefit to Alamo is it is an accredited testing facility through the AWS. Along with offering the appropriate courses there is no need to seek out an alternative testing site. Programs offered here include:

Alamo is in San Antonio and is committed to helping community college students they consider underserved. They hope to transform into a premier college institution by focusing on:

  • Student success
  • Leadership
  • Performance

Admission varies depending on your program. Alamo offers financial aid and a scholarship program.

2. Texas State Technical College (TSTC)

Texas State Technical College is made up of several campus’s. The following programs are offered at several locations but may not be available everywhere.

  • Welding Technology Associate of Applied Science- This degree program will take four semesters to complete.
  • Structural Welding Certificate- The courses take three semesters to finish.
  • Structural and Pipe Welding Certificate– The program will take four semesters to complete.

Any of these programs can lead you towards becoming a certified welder. The school itself does not appear to be an ATF. A third-party location will be needed to complete certification.

TSTC is known for their emphasis on job placement and helping match students with the potential employers across their state. They offer services:

  • Resume writing
  • Interview Preparation
  • Online networking
  • Job fairs
  • An online job board

The school offers financial aid to help cover tuition. Their website lists possible scholarships and a work study program for those who qualify.

3. San Jacinto College

San Jacinto is a top Texas school that offers a variety of ways to obtain a welding education. You need to look through the classes to affirm you are taking the correct ones to pass certification. Programs offered at San Jacinto:

  • Welding Technology, Art-Welding, Occupational Certificate- This is a two-semester program that introduces welding techniques.
  • Welding Technology, Associate of Applied Science- This degree program is more in depth, but you are required to take basic college courses such as composition and math. This will take you four semesters to complete.
  • Welding, Combination Welder, Certificate of Technology- These classes fit into two semesters. They include basic techniques that help for certification, especially if you have previous experience.
  • Welding, Gas Shielded Welding, Certificate of Technology- This two-semester program focuses on GTAW and GMAW welding with an introduction to FCAW.
  • Welding, Industrial Welder, Level 2 Certificate- The three-semester course offers basic welding classes along with the pipe welding credits.
  • Welding, Stick Pipe Welder, Occupational Certificate– This shorter one semester course offers just SMAW studies along with pipe welding. This would be good for someone with prior experience or whose had previous classes.

San Jacinto offers several career services options to give students a better chance at accomplishing career goals:

  • Career advising
  • Job fairs
  • Resume and Cover letter assistance
  • Mock Interviews
  • Employment opportunities

San Jacinto understands the financial needs of its students and offers financial aid assistance along with scholarship programs.

This school is not on the ATF list with the American Welders Society, so a third-party tester will be needed.

Related Article: How Much Do Welders Get Paid? >>The truth on welder pay

4. Arclabs Welding School

Arclabs divides their programs by hour. This is a combination of classroom time and onsite welding hours that the school claims can be done in as little as six months depending on the student’s level. Arclabs offers these four flexible programs:

  • 120 Hour Pipe Welding Program- This program is designed for someone with prior welding experience. In order to take this course, you must pass a couple prerequisite tests.
  • 280-Hour Specific Process Program- This course is open to beginners and experienced welders. It can be designed around your basic knowledge of welding, but there are some tests to pass if you want to enroll in certain classes.
  • 400-Hour Welding Program- This program is made up of 55 classroom hours and 345 welding hours. It is aimed at beginner to intermediate level students.
  • 900 Hour Advanced Welding Program- This course is open for beginner to intermediate level welders. The program includes 85 classroom hours along with 815 welding hours. You will find several advanced topics are covered.

Arclabs says they provide education and training with career purpose. They do not guarantee job placement but attempt to give students what they need for entry level jobs in a variety of industries.

They offer a financial aid program for those students who need it.

This school opens itself to companies who hire welders but need some guidance on assessing and testing. They are not an ATF for the American Welders Society.

5. South Coast Welding Academy

This facility breaks their courses down depending on the type of welding you learn and if you choose day classes verses evening courses. Their website offers descriptive breakdowns of each course offered in the following programs.

The following courses can be completed in either three weeks of day sessions or six weeks of evening sessions:

  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

The following courses can be completed in either four weeks of day sessions or eight weeks of evening sessions:

  • Plate-Shielded Metal Arc Welding (Plate-SMAW).
  • Pipe-Shielded Metal Arc Welding (Pipe-SMAW).
  • Pipe-Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (Pipe-GTAW)
  • Pipe Welding
  • Chrome/Duplex Specialty Welder
  • Stainless Steel/Inconel Specialty Welder
  • Titanium/Aluminum Specialty Welder

The following course can be completed in either eight weeks of day sessions or 16-week evening sessions:

  • Plate/Pipe Welding
  • Pipe-Combination Welder

This course can be completed in either 12-weeks of day sessions or 24-weeks of evening sessions:

  • Combination Welder

This course takes either 24-weeks of day sessions or 48-weeks of evening sessions to complete.

  • Master Welder

Cost for courses varies depending on which one you choose. The school does offer financial aid for those who qualify.

South Coast offers a program for a variety of fields that could help any welder. This school helps anyone who needs to study specific sections rather than combining them all at the same time. It’s not listed as an ATF.

6. Lonestar College

Lonestar College offers 16 programs to those seeking a welding certificate or degree. Some of the programs can be stacked (used) towards an Associate in Applied Science degree. There are also courses aimed at fast track completion which should take one to two years to complete.

Regular certificate programs can be completed in nine months:

  • Inspection Certificate Level I- This certificate can be stacked for the Welding Technology AAS.
  • Pipefitting Certificate Level I stackable- This certificate can be stacked for the Pipefitting AAS.
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Certificate Level I- This program can be used towards the Welding Technology degree.
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) Certificate Level I- This course can be used towards a Welding Technology degree.
  • Welding Certificate Level 2- This program leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree.

These courses are part of the school’s fast track program and can be completed in a year:

  • AWS Welder Skills Certificate prepares for the certification
  • Pipefitting I NCCER Certificate
  • Pipefitting II NCCER Certificate
  • Pipefitting III NCCER Certificate
  • Pipefitting IV NCCER Certificate
  • Welder (SMAW & GMAW) Certificate
  • Welding I NCCER Certificate
  • Welding II NCCER Certificate

Lone star offers Associate Degree courses for the welding industry. These programs take two years to complete:

  • Pipefitting AAS Degree
  • Inspection Technology Specialization AAS Degree
  • Welding Technology Specialization AAS Degree

If paying for college is a concern, Lone star offers a few options:

  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Work Study
  • Grants

Lone star offers a variety of ways to gain certificates in different areas of the industry. This school is not listed with the AWS as an Accredited Testing Facility.

Related Article: What does MIG Welding Stand For? >> Definition & Terminology

7. Mainliners Welding Academy

Mainliners Welding Academy is not an accredited facility for AWS but offers a flexible course schedule for potential students. This school offers the following programs:

  • Introduction to Welding- A true beginner’s course that will take three weeks to complete.
  • Introduction to Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) Plate- This six-weekcourse on plate safety and plate technique with SMAW.
  • Introduction to Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) Pipe- This is a six-week course based on SMAW welding on pipe at different angles.
  • Introduction to Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) / Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Plate- This six-week course is based on using the GTAW method and safety.
  • Introduction to Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) / Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Pipe- This is a six-week course on using GTAW on pipe welding for different angles.

Mainliners offers courses aimed at pipeline welding. You do have to have one year of pipe combination experience and bring your own equipment to participate in the program. Pipeline courses include:

  • Introduction to Pipeline Welding- Six-week course
  • Advanced Pipeline Welding- Six-week course
  • Combination Pipeline Welder- Six-week course

The school does offer financial aid to qualifying students.

8. Griffin’s Industrial Welding School LLC

Griffin’s offers a program that can be completed in 12-weeks. The cost of their tuition is aimed at those who cannot afford larger universities or schools. Griffin’s is not an accredited testing facility to be properly certified in Texas; another site will be needed. Courses offered include:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding on Carbon Steel Plates- Eight-week program
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG) on Carbon Steel Plates- Two-week program
  • Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW) on Carbon Steel Plates- Two-week program

This school hopes to help graduates find jobs once they have completed the program. Griffin does this by creating a relationship with the communities and bringing in industries.

9. Lincoln Tech

According to their site Lincoln Tech is one of the top five schools who provide welders to the state. They believe their curriculum provides everything a welder needs for work once they complete a program.

Lincoln offers two-degree programs that can be completed in a year or less:

  • Welding Technology degree program
  • Welding Technology with Introduction to Pipefitting degree program

Here are a several skills Lincoln Tech hopes graduating welders leave with:

  • SMAW
  • FCAW
  • Pipefitting
  • Metal fabrication techniques

This school works with each student to help them create a plan that fits their needs. Lincoln strives to help students find the right jobs after graduation with guidance and counseling.

Lincoln is not listed as an ATF with the American Welders Society.

What Industries can Welders work in?

There are a variety of industries and possible job paths for a certified welder. Welders can find valuable careers in places like:

  • Oil Fields
  • Steel
  • Ship Building
  • Construction
  • Maintenance Shops

Texas is known for hiring welders. They may not hold the highest yearly wage average, but they are consistently hiring welders. Gaining experience in the welding field can help someone gain more money in the future.

According to Southern Careers Institute, welders in Texas make around $30,000 to $50,000 on average.

Popular welding jobs in Texas:

  • Pipe Fitter
  • Structural Welder
  • Welder Machine Operator
  • Welding Inspector
  • Underwater Welders

We wrote an article about how to become a coded welder. Find the article here.

Certification Renewal

Once you receive your certification it is important to keep it current. In order to stay certified with the American Welders Society the welder must send in a certification maintenance form every six months.

welding schools

It is imperative you remember to do this. You can request a 60-day administrative extension. If allowed you will have to pay a late fee. If the date is missed, then the welder must re-test in order to receive certification.

Recommended Reading

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Thank you for reading this article. I hope it helps you find the most recent and accurate information for your welding project. Here are some tools that I use daily and hope you´ll also find helpful.

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David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at David's an experienced fitter and tuner/welder who's passionate about helping others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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