Welding is the process of joining metals using extreme heat. It is essential for welders to learn metallurgy and understand the properties of different types of metals. Welders have a choice of several different types of welding techniques including arc welding, tungsten and other metal Inert gas welding and underwater welding. They mainly use oxyacetylene and electric equipment. Welders work in automotive and other fabrication facilities, and advanced welding degrees may result in supervisory or consulting jobs.
Associate Degree in Welding Technology
This is a 2-year community college or vocational school course. Prerequisites include High School Diploma or GED. Technical math, geometry and drafting are recommended but not essential. Classes are a mixture of theory and practice and may include algebra, trigonometry, oxy-fuel welding, shielded metal arc welding, cutting, occupational safety, gas metal arc welding, robotic welding, technical communication skills and metallurgy. Associate's degree holders may expect to obtain employment as welding technicians, inspectors, supervisors and estimators.
Bachelors Degree in Welding Engineering Technology
This is a 4-year program offered at colleges and universities. Prerequisites may include an Associate's degree in welding technology or classes in physics, chemistry and calculus. Coursework includes subjects listed for the AA egree plus practical math and physics, interpreting blueprints, pipe welding, tungsten inert gas welding methods and metal inert gas welding methods.
Master of Science in Welding Engineering Technology
The prerequisite is a Bachelor's degree in welding engineering technology or a degree in industrial, mechanical or manufacturing engineering. Classes include welding processes, welding design, non-destructive evaluation, general engineering and thermodynamics. Graduates may find employment in the manufacturing testing or inspector and managerial field, and may opt to obtain a Doctorate in welding engineering technology.
The American Welding Society oversees several technical welding certificate courses. The Welding Certificate of Proficiency can be taken at community colleges and technical and trade schools and usually takes two years. Dedicated welding schools offer certification in the various welding categories including Master Welder, Structural Welder and Associate of Occupational Studies in Welding Technology. The courses vary in length from as little as 3 1/2 months.
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