Knowing a trade is a sure way to give yourself job security and marketability in a wide range of economic conditions, as there will always be a demand to build and fix things. Among the trades, welding offers some of the most lucrative upsides, as there is a limited amount of people who can perform specialized welds. However, there is an investment to learn the trade.
How much do welding courses cost? Welding courses to obtain certificates at local technical colleges and trade schools can be obtained for as little as $300, depending on location. More comprehensive bachelor’s degree programs in welding can cost up to $100,000 at out-of-state universities.
As there is a wide range of costs to obtain training as a welder, it is important to understand your goals in the trade. If you already have some understanding of welding and want to get certified to work quickly, the cost of welding courses can be quite affordable. On the other hand, if you are a novice just entering the field, the training costs could be more extensive.
Cost of Welding Courses for Those Looking for Work
Trade education is different from a white-collar education in that those studying trades are not as interested in a comprehensive, theoretical knowledge base across a wide range of topics. Most usually want to learn a specific skill expeditiously and put it to use—and make money—as quickly as possible in the field.
As such, many welders opt for certificate and associate degree programs that offer low-cost tuition and quick turnarounds from starting the program to going to work in the field.
Therefore, let’s look at a leading mid-Atlantic welding institute, Earlbeck Gases & Technologies, to do an in-depth analysis of the cost of welding courses, which should be similar to other welding schools across the nation.
Related reading: How To Become A Certified Welder In California? – All Facts
Welding Basics Course
This type of class will teach the most fundamental of welding concepts and will not, when taken by itself, yield any kind of professional certificate upon its completion. This course will benefit a couple of categories of students:
- Complete beginners looking to start a career in the profession: You will need the most general knowledge of the trade to lay a foundation for increased practical training in the future.
- At-home tinkerers who enjoy making crafts out of metals: This includes people who may not have any aspirations of doing commercial welding or making money as a professional welder.
By completing a welding basics course, the student will gain the following knowledge:
- General safety principles that apply to welding
- A theoretical understanding of successful welding technique
- How to successfully set up equipment for a specified weld job
- A basic understanding of how to use MIG, TIG, and stick equipment
MIG, TIG, and stick are three of the more common welding processes that work to either use a filler metal to join base metals (MIG and stick) or join two base metals together at high heat (TIG).
Related reading: How to Start & Grow A Welding Business In 11 Steps
Symbols for Welding Course
An important aspect of welding is being able to understand blueprints and design plans, so welders must be able to properly interpret welding symbols attached and embedded in drawings to complete a job successfully.
While this course is not necessary for those at-home or recreational welders, it is essential for those who aim to embark upon a career in commercial welding, as the information obtained will be built upon in future courses and applied in the field.
Aspiring welders will receive a certificate upon completion of this course, commemorating an ability to understand weld symbols, their use, and purpose following the American Welding Society A2.4 standard, which sets the guidelines for industry welding symbols.
Visual Weld Inspection Course
For the aspiring commercial welder, this is a logical next step in the welder education process. For those who only intend to weld as a hobby, it is a very useful class to be able to determine the quality of existing work.
Visual weld inspection is necessary for the welder because conscientious observation can help save time and money associated with rework costs by identifying areas of need and potential problem areas before undertaking a job.
This course will provide a comprehensive knowledge of weld elements and how certain welds are accepted or rejected by specific base metals, as well as the following:
- Fluency in the terms associated with weld inspection
- Use of proper gauges and tools to help spot welding defects
- Interpretations of discontinuities in a base surface
Although a certificate will be obtained after this course, it does not make the welder certified to inspect welds on a commercial basis, as continuing education and training will be required.
Fundamentals of Welding Course
While the classes mentioned above are largely theoretical and provide a general, albeit important, understanding of welding concepts, the Fundamentals of Welding course requires the welding student to combine important conceptual knowledge with hands-on practice.
This is a required course for aspiring welding professionals to obtain their licensure and is most likely not a class that hobby welders should choose to enroll in.
This course includes 60 percent hands-on welding practice, giving the student experience in MIG, TIG, and the stick welding technique. In addition to this experience, the aspiring welder will be able to perform the following:
- Cut steel, stainless steel, and aluminum with oxy-fuel and plasma equipment
- Use the three primary welding processes to perform groove and fillet welds on carbon steel in the flat and horizontal positions
- Interpret weld symbols and execute the best weld for a specific situation
- Decipher applicable welding codes
- Understand common metallurgy
Completion of this course makes the welder certified to start performing entry-level welding jobs in the field.
Specialized Welding Courses
While the classes mentioned above cover a wide gamut of topics and practices necessary for those looking to get to work welding as soon as possible, Earlbeck Gas & Technologies does offer some more specialized courses for those looking to become experts in a specific area of welding.
- Intermediate Stick/TIG/MIG – This course provides the student with 48 hours of next-level practice in the specified process. Completing the course gives the student an advanced certificate to perform a wide array of welds on carbon steel and aluminum surfaces. Cost: $2,500
- Advanced Stick/TIG/MIG – This course will give the student an additional 42 hours of the most advanced practice in the specified process. Specifically, this course will make welders compliant with the Structural Welding Code and certified to prepare thick base metals for overhead and vertical welds. Cost: $2,500
Cost of Welding Courses for In-Depth Study
While most welding students are looking for courses that they can practically apply for quick use in the field, some may have a more long-term view for their study, perhaps preferring courses that can help make them a foreman or project manager.
For example, an associate’s degree in welding at a community college may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on if you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition. These programs typically take two years to complete and will expose students to a wide range of welding related courses.
Some larger universities will offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in welding. These programs will cost between $40,000 to $100,000, depending on tuition residency classification. While more expensive, these degrees will give graduates a leg up for entry-level jobs with the potential for more rapid growth within a welding company.
In summary, if you’re interested in enrolling in a welding course, either for your own knowledge or to find a job in the field, expect to pay between $300 to $100,000. The final cost of the program or course you enroll in will depend on the skillset or certification you wish to achieve.
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