Welding is a demanding but rewarding career. A typical day can find you performing a wide array of tasks requiring specialized skills, so it is essential to find the right training program. Researching welding schools in Tennessee is a great way to do this.
This article will help you explore how to become a welder in Tennessee by exploring top schools and training programs, requirements for entry-level positions, and major employers in the state.
What Does a Welder Do?
Welders perform various tasks, including reading blueprints, identifying metals to be welded and determining the appropriate technique, and cutting, fitting, and joining metal components together. Welders in Tennessee are often needed to build automotive parts, assist in bridge construction, and manufacture pipe sections.
Many consumer products — from electronics to heavy equipment — and most infrastructure projects require welding. As a result, training programs need to provide a strong foundation in each aspect of the job.
Welding Schools Near Me in Tennessee
The top welding schools in Tennessee offer comprehensive classroom training and opportunities for hands-on experience using modern welding equipment and tools. Some of the skills you can expect to learn include:
- Popular welding techniques, such as metal arc, tungsten inert gas, and oxyacetylene welding
- Property safety procedures and equipment
- Metal identification and properties
- Blueprint and construction drawing reading
Several Tennessee high schools offer welder training programs for upper-level students. This allows them to achieve AWS Level 1 (Entry Level welder) certification while completing high school. Some schools with this career path include:
- Bradley Central High School, Cleveland, TN
- Grundy County High School, Coalmont, TN
- Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
- Rutledge High School, Rutledge, TN
You still have plenty y of choices if you are beyond high school and looking for welding schools in Tennessee. Consider the following programs that offer varying levels of training:
CSCC offers full-time day classes at all three of its campuses and an evening program at the main campus in Chattanooga.
- Location: Chattanooga
- Phone number: 423-697-4433
- Programs: basic welding diploma
- Program duration: one year
- Average cost: $5,499
Northeast State Community College
Northeast State offers both degree and certificate programs. Financial Aid is available to qualifying students.
- Location: Blountville
- Phone number: 423-323-3191
- Programs: AAS, certificate
- Program duration: one to two years
- Average cost: $5,400 to $12,000
Pellissippi State Community College’s Associate degree program is accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering in Raleigh, NC. It provides a broad base of knowledge on several popular welding techniques. Students should begin the program in the fall semester.
- Location: Knoxville
- Phone number: 865-694-6400
- Programs: AAS Welding Technology
- Program duration: two years
- Average cost: $9,000
TCAT offers welding on three of its campuses to accommodate the needs of residents throughout the state.
- Location: Jackson (Main campus)
- Phone number: 731-424-0691
- Programs: certificate, diploma
- Program duration: one year
- Average cost: $4,000 (plus supplies)
Welding Career Opportunities in Tennessee
There are ample opportunities for rewarding welding careers in Tennessee with proper training. For example, welders may work in manufacturing, the marine industry, or infrastructure projects like bridges and roads.
Pipefitters and welders are in particular demand in Tennessee. In this role, you can expect to identify metal components and measure, cut, and fit pipe sections.
How Much Do Welders Make in Tennessee?
When exploring welding careers in Tennessee, you’ll want to look at average salaries in the field. Luckily, welders are generally well-compensated for their specialized skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average salary for welders in the state was $44,550 per year or $21.42 per hour as of May 2021. Career sight Indeed estimates salaries at a slightly lower rate of about $41,600 per year.
Major Employers of Welders in Tennessee
There are numerous companies and government agencies in Tennessee that routinely hire welders. The following three companies are highly rated for employee satisfaction and welder salaries:
- Industry: Transportation Equipment Manufacturing
- Possible Job Opportunities: Weld Tech, Maintenance Tech, Welding AME
- Industry: Manufacturing
- Possible Job Opportunities: Welder I& II, Welding Trainer, Fitter/Welder Lead
- Industry: Construction Equipment Manufacturing
- Possible Job Opportunities: Robotic Welder Trainer, Maintenance Technician
How To Become a Certified Welder in Tennessee
Tennessee does not have specific certification requirements for becoming a welder. However, there are some generally accepted standards that welders must meet. These include having a high school diploma or GED, formal welder training, and hands-on experience in the field.
While it is not required, certification from the American Welding Society or American Society of Mechanical Engineers can help you secure employment or advance your career. Many of the top welding schools in Tennessee include preparation for AWS certification in their standard curriculum.
Do You Need a License to be a Welder in Tennessee?
You do not need a specialty license to work as a welder in Tennessee. However, if you will be performing work beyond the scope of welding, you might look into getting a general contractor license.
Tennessee Welding FAQs
The following FAQs provide more information about how to become a welder in Tennessee.
1. How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
Including the time it takes to complete a training program and obtain certifications, you can become a welder in as little as one year. However, individuals choosing degree programs at welding schools in Tennessee can expect to take at least two years to earn their degree and begin a job search.
If you choose to attend a high school program offered through the Tennessee Department of Education, you could be prepared to start at an entry-level welding job right after graduation.
2. Does a Welder Need Insurance in Tennessee?
Tennessee does not require welders to carry professional insurance. However, many welders choose to purchase liability insurance and equipment coverage. These policies can help protect assets and replace lost, stolen, or damaged tools and equipment.
Additionally, if you choose to start your own company, you must meet some basic insurance requirements.
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?
The American Welding Society is an excellent resource for questions about their certification programs and welding careers in general. You can contact them by emailing [email protected] or calling (800) 843-2763.
There are also several unions for metal workers in Tennessee that may be able to answer your questions. These include:
- Iron Workers Local 167, Memphis (901) 367-1676
- Iron Workers Local 384, Knoxville (865) 689-3371
- Tennessee State Pipe Trades Association, chapters statewide
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 Tennessee, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: