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Degree Overview: Degrees in Welding Technology

Majors Overview August 18, 2014

Receive information about degree programs in welding technology and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and certification choices.

Degree Programs in Welding Technology

Schools most commonly offer welding technology programs in associate’s degree formats. However, students can avail these programs in the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Welding Engineering Technology format at several schools in the country.

Students enrolled in 2-year welding technology associate’s degree programs have to complete coursework that combines hands-on training and classroom lectures, which enables them to seek employment as welders. Those who complete the 4-year bachelor’s degree programs can seek advanced welding positions or careers as welding instructors or inspectors. Those who complete the bachelor’s degree program may also pursue industry certifications, such as the Certified Welding Engineer credential offered by the American Welding Society.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Programs in Welding Technology

Students enrolled in associate’s degree programs in welding technology can seek employment as practical welders, and after they gain sufficient experience, graduates can aspire to become welding inspectors. Enrolled students can expect to become adept in identifying different metal types and their properties. The course offers hands-on experience working with welding equipment relating to a variety of heat sources, including electric and oxyacetylene. Students are also trained to identify the most appropriate heat source for use with each metal.

Education Requirements

Educational prerequisites vary by college; some schools may require incoming students to welding technology associate degree programs to have completed previous courses in algebra and geometry. They may also have to have completed high school classes in metalworking and drafting.

Coursework

Welding technology students take classes in physics and technical math and learn the importance of welding safety. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Arc welding
•Metal inert gas welding methods
•Pipe welding
•Interpreting blueprints
•Tungsten inert gas welding methods

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, job growth rates of 15% has been predicted for welders and soldering professionals (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these experts brought home an average annual wage of $36,300 (BLS).

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program can seek continued education by passing an exam to earn the Certified Welder designation offered by the American Welding Society (AWS). The exam tests students’ skills in blueprint reading and correctly welding a piece of metal. In order to indicate that the certification holders are still performing the same kinds of welding procedures for which they were tested, they may have to submit an employer verification biannually to maintain certification.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Welding Engineering Technology

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Welding Engineering Technology are best suited for individuals who demonstrate an interest in the manufacturing and mechanical design processes pertinent to welding. Quality control, maintenance, and the importance of machinery and products testing are taught to welding engineering majors.

These undergraduates also learn effective communication within a team setting and project management techniques.
Incoming students may need a 2-year degree in welding technology for some schools. In others, applicants are required to complete foundational courses in computers, calculus, chemistry and physics, in addition to an introductory engineering class.

Coursework

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program are taught about estimation strategies and manufacturing planning, in addition to an overview of testing and welding construction techniques. They may complete such standard courses as:

•Computer-aided design for engineers
•Alloy fabrication
•Materials science
•Metallurgy for welding engineers
•Automated machine welding
•Welding codes

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may seek entry-level careers in both private and public sectors. They can also choose from popular career options such as:

•Welding instructors
•Welding supervisors
•Professional consultants
•Welding inspectors

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program can seek continued education by earning not only the Certified Welder designation offered by the AWS, but also the Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Welding Supervisor credentials it offers to bachelor’s degree holders. Qualification for certification would require interested individuals to satisfy experience and education requirements, in addition to passing a written examination.

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