Gas tungsten arc welding, known as TIG welding, is a specialized welding technique requiring refined welding skills. TIG welding brings together metals of very light weights or of different compositions in a precise fashion. The aircraft and race car industries require TIG welding skills to build safe and durable products. Learning the basics of gas welding techniques is the foundation for producing high quality, precision TIG welds. Obtaining certification is an important consideration if a living is to be made from TIG welding.
Learn the basics of gas welding. The basic skills used in gas welding (oxyacetylene welding) are the foundation of a TIG welder's craft. Start with courses in welding at the local community college or a trade school focused on welding and piping skills. High schools students can find courses in many public schools and vocational-technical training facilities.
Apprentice or obtain an entry-level welding job. Apprenticeships and entry-level jobs help strengthen welding skills and build a welder's knowledge. Look for jobs that expose you to TIG welding.
Study good welds and practice building TIG welds. Learn by examining good TIG welds on aircraft and race car frames. Practice creating similar welds with the goal of duplicating them. This process helps builds TIG welding skills.
Get certified as a GTAW, or Gas Tungsten Arc Welder. Certification identifies a qualified TIG welder, one who possesses the training and skills necessary to get a job done correctly. Certification can be obtained through trade schools and college programs by taking all required courses for certification.
Maintain certification. Certification cards note expiration dates; retake certification tests to maintain a TIG welding cert. Many employers will pay for maintaining an employee's TIG and other welding certifications. Look for local testing centers where welding certifications can be maintained.
Tips & Warnings
- Some employers may require all welders to pass their (the employers') certification tests regardless of proof of previous certification testing.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 Edition: Welding, Soldering and Brazing Workers
- "Welders Handbook"; Richard Finch; 2007 (chapter 13, TIG Welding)
- "Welders Handbook"; Richard Finch; 2007 (Chapter 17, Welding Certification and Training)
- Welding Engineer: TIG Welding
- Owens Community College: Welding Certificates
- Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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