Welding certification programs prepare students to work in pipe fitting, manufacturing, construction, and other industries providing hands-on skills. Students must complete hands-on learning before taking the state-approved certification exam.
The best welding certificates offer students ample flexibility in learning the skills they need for specific industry applications. These programs tend to offer a short duration, affordable pricing, advanced instruction, and both student and career support services.
Best Welding Certification Programs of 2021
- Best Overall: Hobart Institute of Welding Technology
- Most Affordable: Davis Technical College
- Best for Continuing Education: Ashland Community and Technical College
- Best for Flexible Classes: Tulsa Welding School
- Best for Student Support: Elite Welding Academy
- Best for Job Placement: Advanced Welding Institute
- Best Online Program: American Welding Society
Best Overall : Hobart Institute of Welding Technology
Hobart Institute of Welding Technology has a long history of helping students become certified welders with a competitive cost, short educational track, and comprehensive programs for construction, fabrication, and other entry-level positions.
Finish in 24 weeks
Long history in the industry
Only in-person training
No advanced training
Hobart Institute of Welding Technology offers a 24-week long welding program providing students with everything they need to enter into an entry-level career in the field. The school only teaches welding, which allows them to focus on providing top-level professionals with seasoned industry leaders to provide their education.
The cost for Hobart’s welding certification courses is $11,700, which is a mid-range to lower price point for this type of education. The courses occur in-person with hands-on education and training for industry-certified professionals in Troy, Ohio. Students may select a structural welding focus or a combination structural and pipe welding program. Topics include welding technology, blueprint reading, shielded metal arc welding, and flux-cored arc welding, among others.
Another core advantage of this program is the assistance after completing the courses. Students can receive employment assistance to find local jobs. The school states that over 100,000 people have completed the courses it offers, with many working for Fortune 500 companies.
Most Affordable : Davis Technical College
Davis Technical College is the most affordable program for welding certificates but still offers competitive program options, financial aid support, and job placement resources.
Moderate length program
Offers additional educational tracks
No placement requirements
Only available in-person
Limited course times
The welding technology program at Davis Technical College takes 11 months to complete, but provides students with a wide range of skills including flux core arc welding, plasma cutting, and spray arc welding, among others. It's also the most affordable program at $5,052.
Davis Technical College uses state-of-the-art welding equipment and hands-on learning to prepare students for American Welding Society certifications. Students complete a total of 1000 hours of program training in person. The training is completed Monday through Friday with courses available throughout the day, and some available in the evenings.
Davis Technical College does not require students to meet prerequisites. Instead, the program is available to high school students at least 16 years of age and adults with a high school diploma or equivalent. The school claims an 87% placement rate for students who complete its program.
Best for Continuing Education : Ashland Community and Technical College
The welding certificates at Ashland Community and Technical College is ideal for students seeking continuing education because it offers degree and certificate programs in a wide range of specialties.
Numerous specialty options
Students can pursue a degree
Work-ready scholarship program
Associate program takes 2 years
Only available in-person
Ashland Community and Technical College provides several learning paths for students in the welding field, including certificates for welder helper, gas welder, and arc cutter. More advanced certificates are also offered, including pipeline welder and production line welder. Students are also able to continue their education to earn a full associate degree, a process that takes two years to complete.
Though the cost of the program is $24,625, students can apply for free tuition through the Work Ready Scholarship Program, an opportunity for eligible students based on financial abilities. While the program is only available in person, students have the flexibility to learn days and evenings, allowing them to continue to work while earning their certificate.
Ashland Community and Technical College states that graduates can work in various manufacturing and industry fields including entry-level positions in manufacturing, ironworking, pipe-fitting, and boiler-making. The school also offers some support for students looking for job placement assistance.
Best for Flexible Classes : Tulsa Welding School
Tulsa Welding School offers in-person learning across three locations with day, night, and weekend programs. Students can also learn at their own pace by spreading out courses.
Flexible learning schedule
Short 7-month program
Career support services
Not available online
Moderate to high cost
At Tulsa Welding School, students learn at one of three locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jacksonville, Florida, or Houston, Texas. Courses are available during the day, at night, or on weekends, offering more flexibility to learn. The program takes just seven months to complete, allowing students to get into the field quickly.
Tulsa Welding School’s certification program trains students in structural welding, pipe welding, and flux core welding using modern methods and hands-on learning. Students will be prepared to work in the military, manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, or shipbuilding upon completion. The program costs $20,465 for training.
Tulsa Welding School doesn’t offer students access to job placement across the board but does provide assist with job interviewing and weld tests to help them complete their welding certifications. Students work hand-in-hand with instructors to ensure they are ready for those exams.
Best for Student Support : Elite Welding Academy
The welding certification program at Elite Welding Academy offers a career-focused program with seasoned instructors and fully equipped welding booths. Students have access to ongoing support from instructors and financial aid programs.
Short duration for training
Follows industry guidelines
Higher cost for training
Only available in-person
Elite Welding Academy offers a structural and pipe welding program as well as a manufacturing welding and SP program. The courses focus on both commercial and industrial applications, giving students a wide range of skills. Students work with seasoned industry professionals to get hands-on training in their field. The program focuses on preparing students to work in the field with necessary skills as well as a safety-minded focus to training.
Elite Welding Academy also offers financial aid access to enable most applicants to get into the program, though at $29,768, the price is one of the highest we've found. The program takes about seven months to complete and fully prepares students to obtain their certification and work in the field. Career services include job interviewing skills as well as help finding open positions in the area. A key drawback is that it is only available as an in-person program.
Students will complete 1,000 credit hours of education using industry-standard and modern equipment and training to the American Welding Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers guidelines. The school also follows the welding guidelines set by the National Council of Construction Education and Research for their construction-focused programs.
Best for Job Placement : Advanced Welding Institute
Students completing the welding certification training at Advanced Welding Institute gain good access to job placement services, hands-on training, and ample access to in-demand training.
Job placement services
Short duration of 15 weeks
Only available in-person
The Advanced Welding Institute offers a 15-week structural welding program to help students perform all welding of plates across most industrial applications. Students earn skills for entry-level positions in the areas of fabrication, manufacturing, and construction. Courses include shielded metal, gas metal, and gas tungsten arc welding, among others.
Post-training, the school provides job placement opportunities and boasts a job placement rate of 87%. To prepare students, Advanced Welding Institute offers career support with resume building and interview skills.
The school also says it has a low student-to-teacher ratio to help students prepare for real-life scenarios. Students attend full time, spending as much as eight hours a day in the welding shop building skills. The program has a moderately high price of $21,300, though financial aid opportunities may be available. The program is only available in-person in Vermont and Wisconsin, but it offers some of the most sought-after training, making it well worth consideration.
Best Online Program : American Welding Society
The American Welding Society is one of the field schools to offer any type of welding certificate program online. The program is limited, but it offers an affordable and advanced career option.
Advanced career training
Not for entry-level students
Limited benefit for some
Most welding courses happen in-person due to the requirements to learn advanced hands-on skills. The American Welding Society offers an 8-week seminar for those with a basic welding certification to obtain Certified Welding Inspector training. This is an affordable program at only $2,840 and offers both a virtual seminar and a seminar with an exam package.
This program is an excellent choice for those who already are working as a welder and want to advance their career while working. Students will learn how to perform visual inspections as well as industry practice skills and get access to an interactive program with instructions set over several weeks for two-hour sessions each day.
American Welding Society’s course is not for those seeking basic welding training. Instead, it offers an opportunity for students to extend their careers in a new direction.
While numerous options in welding training courses are available, some programs stand out. The Hobart Institute of Welding Technology offers a cost-effective program that lets students get into the field quickly. It also offers advanced course offerings, hands-on learning from industry experts, career services, and several certificate program options.
Compare the Best Welding Certification Programs
|Hobart Institute of Welding Technology
|1||In-person||$11,700||24 weeks||Structural Welding, Structural and Pipe Welding|
|Davis Technical College
|1||In-person||$5,052||11 months||Welding Technology|
|Ashland Community and Technical College
Best for Continuing Education
|1||In-person||$24,625||2 years||Welding Technology, various associate programs|
|Tulsa Welding School
Best for Flexible Classes
|3||In-person||$20,465||7 months||Professional Welder, Professional Welder with Pipefitting, and associate programs|
|Elite Welding Academy
Best for Student Support
|1||In-person||$29,798||6 months||Structural and Pipe Welding, Manufacturing Welding|
|Advanced Welding Institute
Best for Flexible Classes
|2||In-person||$21,300||15 weeks||Structural Welding, Structural and Pipe Welding|
|American Welding Society
Best Online Program
|1||Online||$2,840||8 weeks||Welding Technology|
How to Choose the Best Welding Certification Program
Consider the type of welding certification provided based on the type of industry you wish to work in, such as construction, manufacturing, or aerospace. While cost is a significant factor for many students, financial aid is available through many programs.
A short-duration welding certificate can help you get to work faster and is worthwhile as long as it prepares you for the work environment. As a hands-on job, student support is also critical. Look for courses taught by industry experts whenever possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Learn in a Welding Certification Program?
Programs differ in what they teach. Some of the most important skills include tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, metal inert gas (MIG) welding, acetylene welding, pipe welding, and arc welding. Some programs offer specialized programs such as shielded metal arc and oxyacetylene welding and cutting.
What Type of Certification Do You Need to Work as a Welder?
Typically, a high school diploma or equivalent along with technical and on-the-job training is all that's required in order to become a welder. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some specific certifications may be required for inspecting, such as the Certified Welding Inspector certificate or Certified Robotic Arc Welding certificate.
How Much Do Welding Certification Programs Cost?
The cost of welding certification programs ranges from as low as $5,052 to as much as $29,798. Some welding certification programs offer more extensive training with more career specializations such as aerospace and aviation or military applications. This, along with advanced career placement, may make some programs a bit more expensive than others.
How Much Money Do Welders Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a welder earns a median salary of $44,190 per year or $21.25 per hour. Employment opportunities are projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, adding 13,600 more welders to the workforce to repair, maintain, and rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure.
After looking at over a dozen welding certification programs, we created a list of the top programs based on cost, student support services, program duration, and skill learning. We also sought out programs that offer flexible learning paths with day and evening courses. In addition, programs offering certificates in numerous areas were also considered.