Welders use advanced equipment to manufacture metal products, work with sheet metal and perform repairs on metal structures. They work on everything from bridges and automobiles to pressurized tanks and jet engines. If that sounds right up your alley, this guide can help you learn how to become a welder in Minnesota. Discover the best welding schools in Minnesota, find excellent career opportunities, and see where to go to reach your goals.
What Does a Welder Do?
The main job of a welder is to use heat to join different pieces of metal together. Welders work with a variety of metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, nickel, titanium, and cast iron. The welding process also includes many tasks to correctly prepare each weld:
- Reading and understanding blueprints and engineering specs
- Measuring metal parts
- Choosing the right filler metal, gas, heat level, and welding process
- Cutting and preparing metal
- Properly aligning materials for the weld
- Correctly generating and controlling the welding arc
- Cleaning or protecting finished welds
- Inspecting metal seams for weld strength
Welding schools in Minnesota can help you learn a variety of welding methods and techniques:
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW or MIG)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW or TIG)
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (stick welding)
- Flux Cored Arc Welding
- Robotic welding
- Plasma arc cutting
Welding Schools Near Me in Minnesota
Minnesota has a large number of vocational schools, technical colleges, and universities that offer welding courses. Some welding schools in Minnesota provide one-year programs and others offer the education needed to obtain an Associate of Applied Science degree in welding.
Anoka Technical College
- Location: Anoka, MN
- Phone number: 763-433-1100
- Programs available: AAS degree in welding, welding technology diploma, basic welding certificate, pipe welder certificate, welding fabricator certificate, and robotic & laser welding certificate
- Program duration: Two years (four semesters) for an AAS degree
- Average cost: About $7,000 in tuition
Dakota County Technical College
- Location: Rosemount, MN
- Phone number: 651-423-8000
- Programs available: Welding technology diploma
- Program duration: One year (two semesters)
- Average cost: $5,700 tuition
- Location: Hutchinson & Willmar, MN
- Phone number: 320-234-8500
- Programs available: Welding certificate, welding diploma, and AAS degree in welding
- Program duration: From one to two years
- Average cost: $5,980 annual tuition and fees
Hennepin Technical College
- Location: Brooklyn Park, MN
- Phone number: 952-995-1300
- Programs available: GMAW production welder certificate, GTAW production welder certificate, robotic arc welding certificate, structural iron fabrication, and repair certificate, welding diploma
- Program duration: Three years (five or six semesters) for welding diploma
- Average cost: $5,741 annual tuition
St. Cloud Technical & Community College
- Location: Cloud, MN
- Phone number: 800-222-1009
- Programs available: Welding/fabrication diploma
- Program duration: One year (three semesters)
- Average cost: $7,244 total tuition and fees
Alexandria Technical & Community College
- Location: Alexandria, MN
- Phone number: 320-762-0221
- Programs available: Welding technology diploma
- Program duration: One year (three semesters)
- Average cost: Approximately $2,250 total
Lake Superior College
- Location: Duluth, MN
- Phone number: 218-733-7600
- Programs available: Welding certificate, welding technology certificate, GTAW production certificate, welding diploma, welding technologist diploma, welding AAS degree
- Program duration: Two years
- Average cost: About $12,000 in total tuition and fees
Rochester Community and Technical College
- Location: Rochester, MN
- Phone number: 507-285-7557
- Programs available: Welding technology certificate
- Program duration: One semester
- Average cost: About $3,500 total
Central Lakes College
- Location: Brainerd, MN
- Phone number: 218-855-8220
- Programs available: Welding and fabrication diploma, welding, and fabrication AAS degree
- Program duration: Two years for welding AAS degree
- Average cost: About $5,240 annual tuition
Welding Career Opportunities in Minnesota
Countless businesses in Minnesota rely on experienced welders to get the job done. Welding is needed for manufacturing, construction projects, and a variety of industrial and commercial repairs. Specialized welders handle robotic welding, pipe-fitting, and precision welding for aircraft or pressurized systems.
Many industries in Minnesota require the expertise of certified welders:
- Oil and gas
- Infrastructure (bridges, railways, and municipal work)
Mining and energy industries are present in northern Minnesota, near Duluth. In the Twin Cities, there are many factories involved in automotive manufacturing, aerospace parts, and metal fabrication. Construction welding is needed throughout the state.
How Much Do Welders Make in Minnesota?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for welders, cutters, brazers, and solderers in Minnesota is $49,540. Welders in the state make about $24 an hour on average. The Twin Cities have one of the highest concentrations of welding jobs in the U.S., with over 5,200 welders in the area.
Glassdoor estimates that beginning welders can make about $57,600 a year. With more experience and training, the pay can increase to nearly $70,000 a year for senior welders. Structural welding jobs may pay more (an average of about $67,000 annually) than assembly or fabrication jobs in Minnesota.
Major Employers of Welders in Minnesota
Minnesota has its share of large-scale manufacturing and metal fabrication businesses. Several Minnesota-based companies that belong to the Fortune 500 have a significant need for welding professionals, including Polaris Industries and Xcel Energy, CHS, and 3M. Here are some of the largest welding employers in Minnesota:
This world-renowned brand makes high-performance snowmobiles, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, and parts. There are frequent openings for experienced robot operators, assembly operators, and other welders. Some internship options are available as well. Starting pay is about $18 an hour along with signing bonuses.
Xcel Energy is involved in the natural gas and electricity industries. Certified welders and journeyman steamfitter welders are needed. Starting pay is $48 an hour for some positions. There are also internship opportunities in Minnesota.
Aerospace Manufacturing, Inc.
This Twin-Cities company handles the manufacturing and repair of precision aircraft components. Industry experience and certification are preferred, but only a high-school diploma or GED is required for many areas. Welders, fabricators, tube benders, repair technicians, and inspectors are needed. Pay starts at around $20–$30 an hour, and the company also provides full benefits, including medical, dental, and 401k matching.
Komatsu is connected to many industrial, construction, forestry, mining, and infrastructure projects across the state. Potential jobs for welders vary from the manufacturing of industrial machinery and forklifts to work on pipelines and bridges.
The Toro Company
The Toro Company is well-known for commercial lawn care and landscaping equipment. Subsidiaries produce snowplows, trench equipment, industrial augurs, and underground construction systems. The company looks for industrial fabricators, sheet metal fabricators, welders, CNC machinists, and repair techs. Pay starts at $27 an hour plus signing bonus.
How To Become a Certified Welder in Minnesota
The road to welding certification depends on your goals. Most welders begin with a high-school diploma or GED. From there, you can pursue one or two years of education to obtain a basic welding certificate, welding diploma, or specialized certificate, such as robotic and laser welding.
Apprenticeships and internships are optional but can supplement your work experience. The final step for many welding professionals is to obtain AWS or ASME certification, which are national standards for the best.
Every Minnesota business has different requirements for welders. Some are willing to hire high-school grads and provide on-the-job training, which means you could get started right away, though likely with a lower salary. For the most lucrative work opportunities, you generally need AWS or ASME certification.
Do You Need a License To Be a Welder in Minnesota?
Welders don’t need any kind of license to work in Minnesota. AWS or ASME certification can help you get a high-paying job, but they’re not required, either.
Minnesota Welding FAQs
1. How Long Does It Take To Become a Welder?
Many employers expect welders to have the necessary education to receive AWS or ASME certification. Welding schools in Minnesota provide courses of one to two years. In addition to two years of welding education, students need 15 credits of general education if they want to obtain an AAS in welding or robotic/laser welding. Minnesota also has apprenticeship programs for welders.
2. Does a Welder Need Insurance in Minnesota?
Welding businesses with employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Otherwise, there are no insurance requirements for welders in Minnesota. That said, there are advantages to having insurance if you work as an independent contractor. Business owners, homeowners and other clients often prefer to hire professionals that have liability insurance.
You can easily request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners using the tool below.
3. Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
An excellent resource for help with welding schools in Minnesota is the CAREERwise portal. Searching for welding careers can show you the best areas in the state for welders and the average pay for each type of specialization. You can also check your local city government, welders’ unions, and trade groups for information about any AWS welder training scholarships available.
A career in welding provides solid work opportunities in Minnesota. Many of the industries that employ welders are growing significantly, including mining, civil engineering, metal manufacturing, repair and maintenance, and transportation industries. Welding schools in Minnesota can open the door to satisfying, in-demand work around the state.
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become a Welder in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Michigan, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: