Welders use hand-held or remotely controlled devices to cut or join together different metal parts. They also fill indentations, holes or seams in metal products. A career in welding can be quite rewarding. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage of Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers was $41,380 in 2018, which roughly translates to a per hour wage of $19.89. The number of jobs in this field was 424,700 in 2018, a number which is expected to grow by 14,500 by 2028. If you are interested in a career as a welder, you ought to know about the following top 15 welding schools in the US.
- Tulsa Welding School
The Tulsa Welding School boasts of being the largest welding school in the US offering multiple programs. It offers a Professional Welder Program, which can be completed in 7 months and an Associate of Occupational Studies in Welding Technology program which can be completed in 14 months. Students at TWS are given hands-on skilled trade training, on-going student support and short technical programs, making the institute a great choice. The school has been training welders for more than 60 years now.
- Elite Welding Academy
Based in Ohio, the Elite Welding Academy offers an amazing Pipe Welding Program, which prepares students for a rewarding career in one of the most sought after branches of welding. Welders from the Elite Welding Academy are engaged in critical tasks relating to Energy Production, Manufacturing, Highway Transport and Military Functions. The Structural and Pipe Welding Program is a six month long full-time program. The academy also offers night classes, in which case the program may be completed in 11 months.
- Pennsylvania College of Technology
The Pennsylvania College of Technology offers multiple programs for those interested in welding. It offers three different majors – Welding Technology, Welding and Fabrication Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. These programs cover the most common welding methods and can lead to careers in construction welding and shipbuilding. These majors are offered at different levels, bachelor’s, associate’s and certificate, giving you a variety of options to choose from.
- Ashland Community and Technical College
Programs at the Ashland Community and Technical College train students to become certified welders. After graduating from Ashland, students can work as Arc Cutters, Pipeline Welders, Production Line Welders and Gas Welders etc. The college offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in General Occupational Technical Studies, which covers Welding Technology and Pipeline Welding. It also offers diploma and certificate programs.
- Hobart Institute of Welding Technology
The Hobart Institute of Welding Technology has more than 80 years of experience in welding instruction, employment assistance options and industry leading curriculum. The institute ensures that students get hands-on training in welding technologies and offers courses that finish within one year. It offers two programs – a 40 week program in Combination Structural and Pipe Welding and a 24 weeks long program in Structural Welding.
- The Lincoln Electric Welding School
The Lincoln Electric Welding School is the ‘longest operating and most comprehensive welding training facility in the world.’ It has been around since 1917 and has taught the techniques of arc welding to more than 150,000 people. The institute offers courses in Basic Plate and Sheet Metal, Pipe Welding, Plasma, Oxyfuel, Alloy and Hard facing etc. It also offers advanced courses in Submerged Arc Welding, API Pipe Welding and Motorsports.
- Welder Training and Testing Institute
The Welder Training and Testing Institute offers multiple programs for those who want to enter this field. It has two career-level programs – Welder Fitter which can be completed in 900 hours and Combination Welding, which can be completed in 740 hours. In addition to these, WTTI also offers five advanced level welding programs, designed for individuals who have prior knowledge of welding techniques. These include a Standard Welding course for 180 hours, an Advanced Welder Qualification – Pipe for 120 hours, a Gas Tungsten Arc Welding course for 60 hours, a Gas Metal Arc Welding course for 60 hours and a Flux Cored Arc Welding course for 60 hours.
- Modern Welding School
The Modern Welding School has been training welders for more than 75 years now. It has an amazing 900-hour, 30-week program that prepares aspiring welders for careers in the field. It teaches a variety of topics including Safety in Welding, Oxy-Acetylene Welding of Cast Iron, Tig Welding and Sheet Metal Welding etc. The institute also offers a 665-hour long course in a part-time evening format, which can be completed in 45 weeks. This course deals with subject areas such as Safety in Welding and Electric Arc, T-joints all positions, Mig and Fluxcore Welding all positions.
- Central Louisiana Technical Community College
The Central Louisiana Technical Community College offers a welding program that helps students understand a variety of subjects relating to welding, including Oxy-fuel Cutting, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Flux-cored Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Pipe Welding and Plasma Arc Cutting etc. Once this program is completed, students would have covered all the required topics specified by the American Welding Society (AWS) and will be prepared to take the entry level AWS test. The program requires two years to complete.
- University of Alaska Anchorage
The University of Alaska Anchorage offers several programs for those interested in becoming welders. It offers an Associate of Applied Science in Welding and Nondestructive Testing, an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Welding, an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Advanced Welding, an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Nondestructive Testing and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Technologies Leadership. These programs prepare students to take up careers as welders, non-destructive testing specialists and sheet metal workers. The welding facility at UAA is an authorized Accredited Testing Facility under the American Welding Society (AWS).
- Arizona Automotive Institute
The Arizona Automotive Institute offers an amazing welding training program, designed specifically for those with busy schedules. It gives students the option of flexible hours, along with a chance to learn from industry-experienced instructors. The program will equip you with knowledge about Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Flux-core Arc Welding and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. With small class sizes and an opportunity to learn in a hands-on stimulated environment, the Arizona Automotive Institute is an excellent choice for aspiring welders.
- Southwestern Illinois College
The Welding Technology Program at the Southwestern Illinois College is recognized by the American Welding Society as one of the top programs in the US. The program provides training through experts for both beginner level welders and experienced welders. Students are taught skills such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Plasma Arc Welding and Cutting, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding and Flux-cored Arc Welding. The welding shop at the Southwestern Illinois College has top notch equipment with highly trained instructors offering knowledge about the latest trends in welding. The college is also a member of the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America.
- Apex Technical School
The Apex Technical School offers a stellar Combination Welding Technology program which helps students get an in-depth understanding of the Gas and Electric Welding Processes, Blueprint Reading for Metal Layout, Manual and Automatic Cutting Techniques etc. The welding school at Apex has been around since 1979 and has been preparing students for entry level positions. Each part of the Combination Welding Technology course at the Apex Technical School combines classroom training and practical work for a total 900 hours.
- Knight School of Welding
The Knight School of Welding is an Accredited Testing Facility of the American Welding Society. It offers several training programs and certificates such as the MIG Welding & AWS Certification Testing Program for 80 hours, the STICK Welding and AWS Certification Program for 80 hours, the TIG Welding and AWS Certification Testing Program for 80 hours, the FLUX CORED Arc Welding and AWS Certification Testing program for 80 hours and the 6G PIPE-UPHILL Welding & AWS Certification Testing program for 300 hours. The institute offers both day and evening class options to accommodate job schedules. Custom scheduling options are also available for current welders and employer certification testings.
- Vincennes University
The Vincennes University has an amazing Welding Technology Department offering two highly sought-after programs. These include the two-year long Associate of Science in Welding Technology and a Certificate of Graduation in Welding Technology. With top-notch faculty and training facilities, the university is one of best options for aspiring welders. The university also has a partnership with Lincoln Electric, through which it has helped produced new multi-process welding equipment and state-of-the-art technology.