Welding Certification In Illinois (School, Costs + More)

welding certification illinois

As a welder in the United States, you can expect to earn an average of $42,615 in a year.  However, this amount can range from $38,035 to $48,016, depending on your work ethic, your experience, and the certifications that you have. With that in mind, it is a good idea for you to get certified as a way of boosting your worth as a welder in Illinois.

So how do you become a certified welder in Illinois? You need to have basic math skills, a fundamental scientific understanding of how welding works, and experience. You can earn a certificate from the various technical colleges that offer welding programs in their institutions.

You must follow the following steps to become a certified welder in Illinois:

  • Find an accredited technical college
  • Meet the requirements for joining a welding program
  • Pass skill level requirements
  • Pay your fees
  • Choose your specialty course
  • Attend all classes and pass all exams
  • Earn your CW certificate

This article will explain the steps you must take to become a welder in Illinois further so that you know exactly what you need to do to pursue a welding career in the state.

Do You Need a License To Weld In Illinois?

No, you don’t need a license to work as a welder in Illinois. However, becoming certified through an approved welding training program can increase job opportunities and salary potential. Welding programs and courses are available in many colleges in Illinois and can take from seven months to two years to complete.

While Illinois doesn’t issue welding certifications, the American Welding Society issues national welding certifications that are recognized nationally and can increase your job opportunities.

The 7 Steps to Becoming a Certified Welder in Illinois

Since the state of Illinois itself does not offer welding certifications, you must search for the certification yourself.


Below are the steps you are likely to go through when trying to become a certified welder in Illinois.

Step – Nr.What to do to become a certified welder in Illinois
1Find an accredited technical college
2Meet the requirements for joining a welding program
3Pass skill level requirements
4Pay your fees
5Choose your specialty course
6Attend all classes and pass all exams
7Earn your CW certificate

1. Find an Accredited Technical College

The state of Illinois has a variety of technical colleges that offer various welding programs. By identifying the most suitable, you can quickly start your journey to becoming certified.

When choosing the right college, keep the following details in mind:

  • The college should be reputable
  • Ideally, it should have been operational for at least two years
  • It should be legally accredited to offer welding courses
  • A quick tour of the college should reveal state-of-the-art facilities for learning
  • The fees required should be within your budget

You can do some research online to find out what people think about the college you are interested in. If possible, make contact with past and present students of the college so that they can give you their opinions regarding the quality of education they received or are receiving.

Here are some examples of reputable technical colleges in Illinois to consider:

  1. Midwest Technical Institute
  2. SWIC Southwestern Illinois College
  3. Illinois Welding School
  4. Rock Valley College
  5. Elgin Community College

2. Meet the Requirements for Joining a Welding Program

Once you identify the best technical colleges in the state, it is time to consider the various requirements that you must meet before getting enrolled. Keep in mind that each college will have a unique set of requirements.

Here are some of the most common requirements for joining a technical college in the state:

  • A specific amount of money in terms of fees
  • A minimum high school GPA
  • Being at least 18 years of age

Generally, the requirements to join a welding program are minimal, and just about anyone can meet them.

3. Pass Skill Level Requirements

While not all colleges may require you to take skill level assessments, some of the most reputable ones may ask you to undergo an initial assessment examination to gauge your capabilities.

The tests you may have to take often include a specialized math course, blueprint reading, and welding theory. These tests often help the college determine the courses you are most suited to take.

The tests also allow you to learn more about your weaknesses and strengths and, in that way, help you minimize the chances of choosing a course that you may not excel in.

4. Pay Your Fees

Once you have met all requirements and passed initial examinations, you are required to pay the fees for the courses you are taking. The amount of money may vary depending on the particular college and the course you choose to pursue. Fees may also be slightly different for an out-of-state or international student when compared to a local student.

As a student, you can expect to part with at least $2,800 and a maximum of $20,000 throughout your courses. The amount of money you pay can be paid in installments or all at once. It all depends on your financial capability and preference.

It is worth pointing out that some students may qualify for financial aid when taking welding courses. These are subject to individual requirements, as you are likely to learn while enrolling for college.

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

5. Choose a Specialty Course

You need to choose a specialty course to ensure you get the most out of your education. However, some individuals prefer taking all the welding courses offered in a particular institution. If you prefer going that route, you may have to pay more in terms of fees and allocate more of your time to studying.

Below are some of the welding subjects you may have to choose from:

  • Extrusion welding
  • Fabricating
  • Gas metal arc welding
  • Corner Welds
  • Gas cutting equipment
  • Hand welding
  • Health and safety
  • Heat bending
  • Machine calibration
  • Manual metal arc
  • Quality control
  • Silver soldering
  • Visual inspection
  • Weld testing
  • Welding inspection

6. Attend All Classes and Pass All Exams

It is often encouraged that you attend every welding class so that you can grasp everything that is taught. Welding classes involve both theory and practical sessions to help the learner develop skills as well as have the understanding to apply different solutions to unique circumstances.

Related reading: Are Welding Classes Hard? What Should You Expect?

Most welding courses last between 6 and 8 months. You may have the option of choosing day or night classes depending on what you find convenient. The level of training you take determines the amount of time you will be enrolled and learning for your certification.

There will be periodic course assessments to ensure that you have a decent grasp of the course you are taking. There may also be a final exam to gauge your overall skills. At the end of the course, you are usually issued with a certificate of completion from the institution.

7. Earn Your CW Certificate

You can also earn a Certified Welder credential from the American Welding Society. To earn this certificate, you are required to contact one of their Illinois testing facilities and register for any of their upcoming rounds of testing.

  • An inspector is likely to come to your institution and carry out an assessment of the kind of work you can do.
  • The information they gather is then sent to AWS.
  • The authority will verify the results and send your certification within four to six weeks.
  • You can maintain your AWS certification by sending in proof of work every six months.

We wrote an article listing The Top 10 Types of Welding Certification you need to know. Find the article here.

How can I get a welding Certification Online?

Getting a welding certificate online is a convenient and affordable way to obtain your welding certification. There are many different options for obtaining this certificate so it is important to make sure you pick the right one.

As long as you are taking courses through an accredited college then you are on the right track.

During your online courses, you will learn all the basics and fundamentals of welding.

Once you have completed your coursework you will then be expected to take an exam. When you pass the exam, it is then when you will be awarded your welding certification.

You can take the online course via AWS and it will take around 8 weeks to complete the online course.

On average the cost for the online welding certification will vary between $825 and $1,030.

It’s also important to note that completing your welding certification online may not give you the hands-on experience that you need to complete jobs.

Intro to D17.1 Certification | How to Become a Certified Welder >> Check out the video below:

AWS Welding Certification

The AWS is one of the best places to obtain your welding certification online. Their eight-week course provides all the education you need to be a successful welder.

This course will have you go through two-hour online sessions and they will provide you with all the reading materials you need which include:

  • Seminars
  • Certification opportunities
  • Teleconferences
  • and many other resources.

One really great thing about AWS is that they will also provide you with the materials to learn hands-on while you are sitting through online sessions.

This gives the student a chance to practice more than other courses.

Master Welder Certification: What You Need To Know

A master welder is less of an actual degree title and is more an earned title from years of experience and nearly flawless welds, even in the harshest conditions.

The Institute of Technical Trades does, however, offer courses that require long-term dedication and hard work to help you become a master welder.

There are specific requirements that must be achieved in order to become a master welder, so if this is something you are hoping to become, it’s best to get started right away.

With long-term studies and experience becoming a master welder is definitely achievable for anyone and will help to boost your chances of getting jobs and higher pay.

BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A WELDER >> Check out the video below:

In Conclusion

Taking a welding course to become certified is not a tedious thing and can take less than eight months to complete. Keep in mind that you may take a course while at the same time engaging in part-time work to earn some extra income. Welding classes are often flexible enough to allow you to continue working.

Welding courses are often affordable and do not demand stringent requirements for anyone to join. The best part is that, once you complete your course and become certified, you will be able to raise your worth and get high paying jobs throughout the United States and even overseas.



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David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at weldingtroop.com. 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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