If you are looking into welding as a potential career, you must first acquire the requisite knowledge and skills. With training programs and job opportunities expected to increase, the Washington DC area is a good place to start learning a trade as a welder. This innovative career is for you if you like the idea of building infrastructure that will last for decades, you should definitely consider attending one of the fine welding schools in Washington DC to train to be a welder.
What Does a Welder Do?
There are over 100 welding methods that skilled welders use to complete projects where metal pieces are fused together with the use of extreme heat. Skilled welders may work in construction, joining I-beams for high-rises or other metal buildings. Racing teams employ welders to repair or replace a damaged chassis. NASA uses highly skilled, specialized welders for aerospace applications. The most common welding method is arc welding, which uses an electric current arc from a welding rod to combine two pieces of metal.
Welding Schools Near Me in Washington DC
Some people describe welding as more of an art than a craft. Becoming a welder means committing to a profession that requires an artistic eye, intense training, and sometimes multiple levels of certification.
With more than 30 years of experience in welding, the school’s mission is to provide quality education to create “World Class Welders.”
- Location: SE Washington, DC
- Phone number: (202) 610-9858
- Programs available: Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Oxy-Fuel Welding and Cutting, and Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Program duration: 1-2 years
- Average cost: $3,865 in-state tuition
AACC has partnered with Earlbeck Gases and Technologies to provide state-of-the-art instruction in MIG, STICK, and TIG welding.
- Location: Arnold, MD
- Phone number: (410) 777-1999
- Programs available: noncredit basic fundamental, intermediate, and advanced courses
- Program duration: varies per course
- Average cost: varies per course ($178-$3,868)
Representing the apprentice steamfitters and pipefitters in Washington DC, Steamfitters Local 602 offers traditional classes and hands-on, technology-rich experiences.
- Location: Hyattsville, MD, and Springfield, VA
- Phone number: (301) 341-1555
- Programs available: Apprenticeships in welding, all types
- Program duration: varies
- Average cost: $50 application fee
Welding Career Opportunities in Washington DC
The Washington DC area offers many opportunities for welders, particularly in the construction industry. The job outlook is expected to increase by around 8% by 2030. The District of Columbia is also ranked at the top of the highest-paying states for brazers, cutters, solderers, and welders, with a mean annual wage of $71,230.
How Much Do Welders Make in Washington DC?
The average annual salary of a welder in the District of Columbia is $54,882, which is 16% higher than the national average. Welders with more than 10 years of experience average $62,709, and highly skilled and specialized welders can earn closer to $100,000.
Major Employers of Welders in Washington DC
Top welding employers in the Washington DC area include the following:
- Bechtel ($91,011): This world-renowned global engineering, project management, and construction companies operates in the energy, environmental services, mining, metals, infrastructure, security, and nuclear energy.
- Toyota ($86,509): As a recognized leader in the automotive industry since 1937, Toyota offers a wide range of opportunities for welders.
- McDermott ($83,460): With operations in over 54 countries, McDermott supports global product line teams including LNG, power, industrial storage, downstream, offshore, subsea, and pipe fabrication.
- Zachry Construction Company ($80,813): Zachry’s expertise in areas from transportation infrastructure to building construction offers many opportunities for welders.
- U.S. Department of the Navy ($69,720): Steelworkers have a variety of opportunities in the navy, with on-the-job welding experience on specialized metalwork and essential steel structures, all while maintaining readiness for combat.
How To Become a Certified Welder in Washington DC
According to the American Welding Society, the welding workforce is aged past 50, causing a shortfall of nearly a half-million welders within the next 10 years.
The process to become a welder begins with a high school diploma or GED. Some vocational high schools provide co-curricular training that can provide students with certification upon graduation.
In post-secondary welding programs, students learn to create permanent bonds through the heating and shaping of metals. Courses may include welding symbols, blueprint reading, hands-on practice, and even advanced math.
Certifications for welders are generally offered through the American Welding Society. The most popular certifications include:
- Certified Welder (CW): This is typically the first certification, with a cost of $35 and no minimum requirements.
- Certified Welding Educator (CWE): Costs for this exam range from $635-$850. Applicants must have teaching and welding experience.
- Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR): Requirements for this exam vary and tests run from $275-$355.
- Certified Welding Inspector (CWI): This exam costs from $850-$1065 and applicants must meet minimum requirements for education and experience.
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector (CWI): Applicants must meet minimum experience and education requirements. The exam costs from $850-$1065.
Do You Need a License to be a Welder in Washington DC?
Washington DC does not require licensing for welders. However, most employers prefer (and usually require) that applicants hold welding certification before employment.
Washington DC Welding FAQs
The following questions are commonly asked by prospective welders.
1. How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
There are multiple tracks that you can take to become a welder. The length of time it will require you to dedicate depends on the track you select.
- Bachelor’s degree: A high school diploma or GED is a pre-requisite for the Bachelor’s degree, which is a 4-year program that offers more in-depth study into such areas as mechanical design or manufacturing processes. Common courses of study include the following:
- Welding codes
- Metallurgy for welding engineers
- Materials science
- Computer-aided design
- Automated machine welding
- Alloy fabrication
- Associate’s degree: This 2-year program is usually pursued after receiving some training or certification in welding. An Associate’s degree prepares graduates for such roles as welding inspection by teaching the following skills:
- Ultrasonic testing
- Radiographic film interpretation
- Quality control
- Nondestructive testing
- Magnetic particle testing
- Leak testing
- Fabrication processes
- Welding Certificate: It generally takes 6-18 months to attain certification through the American Welding Society based on welding performance in the following areas:
- Certified Welder
- Certified Welding Inspector
- Associate Welding Inspector
- Senior Welding Inspector
- Welding Sales Representative
- Welding Supervisor
- Radiographic Interpreter
- Robotic Arc Welding
- Welding Educator
- Welding Engineer
- Apprenticeship: this option varies greatly in the amount of training provided and the length of time required, depending on the specific position and the employer/instructor.
2. Does a Welder Need Insurance in Washington DC?
The District of Columbia requires general liability for welders to protect against damages.
3. Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
Contact the American Welding Society (AWS) at their toll-free line 800-443-9353 with questions. Representatives are available between the hours of 8-7 EST Monday through Friday.