You need certification to pursue a career in welding, whether it is in plastics, metals or mechanical. You can sign up for classes at a local community college or trade school, where you can learn the procedures necessary for a career in this field. Many aspiring welders also apply for an entry-level position or apprenticeship with a welding company to learn the craft. Once you've completed the certification exam, you can work as a welder as long as you keep your certification current.
Sign up for classes at a local community college, trade school or technical school that offers welding courses. These courses typically take eight to 12 weeks. Take a variety of courses that cover the theoretical aspects of welding and provide a significant amount of hands-on training.
Apply for a position at a local welding company. You might obtain an internship or apprenticeship. Though the position might not pay well or at all, it is valuable experience that prepares you for the certification exam. If an apprenticeship position is not available, you could inquire about a job as a welder's assistant.
Sign up for the Certified Welders Test, offered through the American Welding Society (AWS). This test is conducted at an AWS-accredited test facility, where you must demonstrate your welding skills, including fit-up, assembly and positioning. The weld you create is inspected by an AWS-certified welding inspector.
Look for your qualification card and certification maintenance forms in the mail four to six weeks after your exam. The card shows proof of your certification, which allows you to begin your work as a certified welder.
Use the certification maintenance forms you receive with your qualification card to keep your certification up to date. Submit these forms every six months to prove that you still perform welding practices on a regular basis to continue your certified status.
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- If possible, combine formal classes with on-the-job experience before taking your certification exam. Though neither is required to take the exam, you won't pass the exam without training.
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