If you’re thinking about becoming a welder, don’t hesitate!
The American Welding Society predicts there will be a shortage of 291,000 skilled welders by the year 2020. That means that welders will be in high demand.
With such high demand, companies are willing to pay more for skilled welders, and the more skills you have as a welder, the more lucrative your career will be.
So, where do you begin?
Aside from getting the right tools for the trade, be sure that you enroll in a welding school… And not just any school.
If you’re truly ready to become a great welder who’s in demand, read on to discover which school for welding might be right for you:
1. Hobart Institute of Welding Technology
In Troy, Ohio, just north of Dayton, Hobart Institute of Welding Technology was established in 1930. It offers a wide variety of training, from pipe welding, plate welding, weld inspection, and welding certification testing.
This school offers over 20 different entry-level welding training programs, the most comprehensive being the Combination Structural & Pipe Welding program.
This 1330-hour class over 38 weeks runs from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. Students receive in-depth training in all of the major welding processes, including:
- Oxyacetylene Welding & Cutting – Students spend two weeks learning how to weld and cut metal smoothly and efficiently with a torch.
- Shielded Metal Arc – Also known as Stick or SMAW welding, students spend 16 weeks learning how to weld pipe and plate in every position, including overhead and 6G welding positions.
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding – This process is known as TIG welding. Students spend nine weeks learning how to TIG weld pipe and plate on various base metals, including aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, and titanium.
- Gas Metal Arc Welding – GMAW or MIG welding classes run for four weeks and cover pipe welding and plate.
- Flux Cored Arc Welding – Also known as FCAW, students spend two weeks learning this process.
Students spend most of their time in a welding booth and learn other essential skills required for the industry, such as Welding Technology & Blueprint Reading and Weldability of Metals, Ferrous & Nonferrous.
Hobart gets excellent reviews across the board. It has a long history of training welders and providing them with the skills needed to succeed in the industry.
2. Lincoln Electric Welding School
Since 1917, Lincoln Electric Welding School has turned out highly skilled welders with a vast array of skills. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, their curriculum differs from Hobart’s in that they don’t offer a “learn everything” welding program.
At Lincoln’s school for welding, students can either pick the courses they wish to take or enroll in a more traditional welding program. While we can’t list all of their class offerings, here are some of their more popular welding classes:
- Basic Plate and Sheet Metal Welding – A 6-week course ideal for those interested in structural steel welding.
- Pipe Welding – ASME or API – This course runs for four weeks, and students can choose between ASME and API pipe welding standards.
- Motorsports – Advanced Materials – In this 5-day program, students will get hands-on training welding exotic metals like titanium, magnesium, and Inconel
- Advanced Submerged Arc Welding – Similar to MIG welding but done under a bath of flux, this program runs for three days.
For students with no prior experience with welding, Lincoln’s Comprehensive Welding Program is the perfect option. Running 15 weeks, this program covers the following:
- SMAW/Stick Pipe Welding
- Plate Welding
- Torch and Plasma Cutting
- GTAW/TIG Welding
- FCAW/ Flux Cored Arc Welding
While offering excellent welding training, Lincoln further excels in exotic welding metals. The ability to weld metals that others cannot puts you in a solid position to land a lucrative job.
3. Tulsa Welding School
Tulsa Welding School was founded in 1949 by two welders who recognized a strong demand for skilled tradespeople in their industry. Over 60 years later, TWS has evolved into an educational institution that prepares students for various professional trade careers with a multitude of specialties and applications:
“We train our graduates for the skills, knowledge, and workplace attitudes essential when entering the professional world. Graduates with the dedication, commitment to excel, and workplace experience in their welding, pipefitting, shopfitting, HVAC/R, or electrical welding education, have the potential to obtain a lasting and rewarding welding career.”
Tulsa Welding School offers the following programs:
- Professional Welder
- Refrigeration Technologies
- Electro-Mechanical Technologies
- Welding Specialist
- Welding Specialist with Pipefitting
- Electrical Applications
The period of all programs ranges from three and a half months to fourteen months. Students spend most of their time in practical welding, with some time on theory.
This school for welding employs some of the most highly trained professionals, giving students a unique opportunity to work with the most talented and experienced welders.
4. University of Alaska, Anchorage
It may be a way to go, but the University of Alaska, Anchorage, was ranked 75th among the universities in the west and one of the top 25 universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2014.
Founded in 1954, students at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Welding and Nondestructive Testing Technology through the university’s technical college.
The university’s school for welding educates aspiring students about various metallic components and structures, along with thermal cutting procedures of metals and numerous welding processes.
Upon graduation, students earn a degree and are prepared for employment as entry-level nondestructive testing technicians.
5. Utah State University
Located in Logan, Utah, this state university is a public research university. Founded in 1888, it offers several agriculture, business, mechanic arts, and domestic arts programs.
But it also offers welding programs for interested students.
Utah State University offers two programs in its school welding:
- Associate of Applied Science Degree
- Certificate of Completion in Welding
The Associate’s program is for those who aspire to pursue a career in the welding industry with a complete welding educational background.
For students looking to join the industry with just one year of training, the certificate of completion in welding is offered after the student has completed 23 credit hours of general welding along with 9 hours of public education.
In either case, the welding program of Utah State University is a solid choice for anyone seeking a career in welding.
6. University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Heading north again, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is one of the top-rated public research universities in the country. Founded in 1917, it offers various programs, including a welding program for aspiring welders.
The university’s welding program is ideal for the beginner who wants to learn the basics of metal cutting and welding. But it’s also well-suited to those who aspire to take their welding skills to the next level.
Advanced students have the opportunity to work toward American Welding Society certification.
7. Ferris State University
Ferris State University was founded in 1884 in Big Rapids, Michigan. Its welding engineering technology program was established 100 years later.
This program is nationally recognized and the most extensive welding program (within a university) in the United States.
The university offers more than 180 degree programs designed to produce highly skilled and plant or industrial-level welding engineering technology graduates.
8. College of Western Idaho
The College of Western Idaho is a top-rated public community college famous for its welding courses. It is located in southwestern Idaho.
Students can complete their school for welding in a year, at which point they are certified by the American Welding Society and ready to start their careers in welding.
In the program, students learn all of the basic welding processes. They are also given opportunities to participate in community projects.
9. Butte College
Located in Northern California, Butte College offers welding courses among its other offerings.
The Welding Technology Program consists of a core of vocational courses designed to produce qualified personnel for certified welding jobs.
Program performance standards for certification are according to those established by the American Welding Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
It should be noted. However, the Welding Technology Program accepts 50 students beginning each fall semester and runs continuously – except for school holidays and certain breaks – through the first two weeks of the summer session.
Since the program is impacted, interested students must complete a Welding Technology application to be placed on the waitlist.
10. Ohio State University
And finally, for students looking for a bachelor’s degree, Ohio State University in Columbus offers students a four-year program in welding engineering.
The program offers basic liberal studies and the engineering training needed to function effectively in the manufacturing industry. Students are also taught different welding methods and welding technology.
Four cross-disciplinary areas of study are covered in:
- welding materials
- nondestructive evaluations
Please note that specific prerequisites are required before being admitted into the Department of Material Sciences and Engineering.
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Which School for Welding Will You Choose?
From Alaska to Oklahoma, Ohio to California, there’s a school for welding that’s just right for you.
So get out there and start making a new life for yourself as a welder. What are you waiting for?
As always, if you have any questions on welding matters, feel free to reach out to us.