If you’ve always been good with your hands, and you have a burning desire to build something that will last long after you’re gone, you may want to think about a career as a welder. Welders create the infrastructure the world needs to function day to day. This guide will tell you about welding schools in Virginia and provide all the information you need to become a welder.
What Does a Welder Do?
Welders undergo specialized training to learn how to work with metal. They can cut metal, mold it into shapes, join pieces of it together, and cut it apart. One of the largest welding industries in Virginia is shipbuilding. Welders are also crucial in building high-rise buildings, especially in Northern Virginia, where undeveloped land is at a premium.
Welding Schools Near Me in Virginia
To begin a welding career in Virginia, you have to start with a high school diploma or GED. From there, you should attend one of the many welding schools in Virginia to receive the education and training you need to be a top-notch welder and earn your American Welding Society or American Society of Mechanical Engineers certification.
Byers Technical Institute
Byers only offers welding programs. It has rolling admissions, with classes starting on the first Monday of every month, so you don’t have to wait for months to start your education.
- Location: Buena Vista
- Phone number: 540-258-1028
- Programs available: Accelerated welding, Combination pipe welding, and Pipe/mechanical trade welding
- Program duration: 14, 28, or 40 weeks
- Average cost: $5,680, $10,240, or $14,640, including safety equipment, tool packs, and books
Tidewater offers both standard and maritime welding programs, which makes sense since it’s located near one of the largest shipping ports in the U.S. It’s one of four AWS-certified test facilities in the state.
- Location: Norfolk
- Phone number: 757-858-8324
- Programs available: Combination welding, Combination maritime welding
- Program duration: 33 or 48 weeks
- Average cost: $20,478, including books
Advanced Technology Institute
Unlike many trade schools, ATI offers student housing for those who live outside the Tidewater area. It is an AWS-certified testing facility.
- Location: Virginia Beach
- Phone number: 888-346-2315
- Programs available: Diploma or Associate in Occupational Science Trades Leadership with Specialization in Maritime Welding Technology
- Program duration: 33 or 48 weeks
- Average cost: $29,136 or $36,420
Virginia Western Community College
Virginia Western offers day and evening classes in welding; a fast-track option is available. It’s an AWS-certified testing facility.
- Location: Roanoke
- Phone number: 540-857-VWCC
- Programs available: Associate’s in Technical Studies with a concentration in welding, Career Studies Certificate in Welding & Metal Processing
- Program duration: 16 weeks to two years
- Average cost: $2,891.53 to $11,376
Virginia Technical Institute
VTI provides hands-on welding training along with a set of core competency courses such as basic safety, introduction to construction math, introduction to construction drawings, and introduction to materials handling.
- Location: Altavista
- Phone number: 434-369-8200
- Programs available: certificate in welding
- Program duration: two years
- Average cost: $8,380
Virginia School of Metal
Virginia School of Metal’s sole focus is on welding. They offer a variety of one-off courses and shorter specialized courses as well as two course bundles designed to jumpstart your new welding career.
- Location: Troy
- Phone number: 434-531-3517
- Programs available: certificates in TIG, MIG, and Stick welding
- Program duration: one or two days to 272 course hours
- Average cost: $150 to $9,500
Central Virginia Community College
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- Location: Lynchburg
- Phone number: 434-832-7600
- Programs available: certificate in welding
- Program duration: one year
- Average cost: $6,673
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
On July 1, 2022, the college will change its name to Mountain Gateway Community College, erasing a name that’s become associated with racist ideas of the past.
- Location: Clifton Forge
- Phone number: 540-863-2820
- Programs available: Certificates in Flux Core, MIG, TIG, and STICK welding
- Program duration: a few months for each specialty
- Average cost: $1,890
Welding Career Opportunities in Virginia
In addition to shipbuilding and high-rise construction, Virginia offers a multitude of welding opportunities. Welders also build heavy equipment such as bulldozers, create and install pipes, repair machinery, and put together HVAC systems.
How Much Do Welders Make in Virginia?
According to Indeed, the average welder’s salary in Virginia is $22.84 per hour. That comes out to $47,507 per year or $3,959 per month. With one to two years of experience, you can expect to earn $20.84, which works out to $43,347 per year or $3,612 per month. Once you have ten years of experience under your belt, you can command rates of $26.10 per hour. That adds up to $54,288 every year or $4,524 each month.
However, when you look at Indeed’s job listings for welders in Virginia, you see much higher wages being offered. For example, Ameri-Force is offering $38 per hour, which would be $79,800 per year or $6,650 per month.
Major Employers of Welders in Virginia
When you pursue a welding career in Virginia, you have a plethora of options available to you. Here are just a few companies that are actively hiring welders.
- Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic, which specializes in crushing and screen equipment, offers salaries from $41,600 to $54,080.
- Innovative Refrigeration Systems, which builds custom commercial refrigeration systems, has a starting salary of $72,800.
- Advex Corporation, one of the best metal fabrication companies on the East coast, pays its welders $52,000 to $62,400 per year.
- Steeltech Industrial Fabrication, Inc., which is a metal fabrication shop making anything from handrails to barges, pays its welders $55,000 to $70,000 per year.
- Aire Serv of Great Bridge, which crafts and installs HVAC systems, pays its welders $70,000 per year.
How To Become a Certified Welder in Virginia
All you need to become a welder is a high school diploma or GED and either an apprenticeship or training at one of the many fine welding schools in Virginia. However, it is a good idea to become an AWS- or ASME-certified welder. These two bodies set the standards for welders nationwide. Certified welders have more job opportunities and can earn higher salaries. For example, Indeed says that welders who hold the AWS D1.1 license can earn 7.64% more than those who aren’t certified.
Do You Need a License to be a Welder in Virginia?
There is no statewide license required to become a welder in Virginia.
Virginia Welding FAQs
You may have many questions about how to become a welder in Virginia. Here are a few of the most common ones.
1. How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
If you already have a GED or high school diploma, you could earn a certificate from a welding school in as little as four months. You could also take two years and earn your associate’s degree in welding, learning more techniques and positions.
2. Does a Welder Need Insurance in Virginia?
If you choose to work for yourself as a welder, you’re not required to have insurance in Virginia, but it’s a good idea to carry workers’ comp and commercial liability insurance.
Workers’ comp protects you if you’re hurt on the job. It pays for medical care since most private insurance companies won’t cover workplace injuries. It also covers your lost wages while you recover from your accident.
Commercial liability insurance protects you if the personal property or another person is injured in the course of you doing your job. Liability insurance keeps your personal assets safe in case you’re sued.
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?
There are a few sources you can reach out to if you have questions about welding careers in Virginia.
- You could reach out to any of the welding schools listed above.
- You might speak with someone at the Ironworkers Union. Local 28 is in Midlothian; the phone number is 804-716-2081. Local 79 and Local 854 are in Norfolk; you can reach them at 757-461-7979 and 540-373-8618, respectively.
- You can contact the AWS at 800-443-9353 or the ASME at 800-843-2763.
Welding is an exciting career that keeps you on the front lines, building the infrastructure that holds up the world. Welding schools in Virginia such as the ones listed above are in more demand as the need for welders increases. Don’t hesitate; talk to an admissions adviser today about becoming a welder.
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 Virginia, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: