What is a Welding Certification?

Definition: Welding Certifications are technically a hands-on welder qualification test that is conducted by certified welding inspector that will determine if the person or machine can produce a sound quality weld up to the code or welding procedure needed for a Company, job site or a particular industry standard.

Bottom line, can you produce a sound quality weld by following the procedure/instructions?

  1. Weld the metals given by the welding inspector in the position the test is designed for by following the instructions provided.
  2. Cut the metal welded according to the instructions and prepare them for a bend test or some approved form of quality testing.
  3. Test the materials welded according to the procedure. If they pass the test then you just earned your welding certification. The testing ranges from a bend test to Radiographic (x-ray)  or even just a visual exam of the quality. In most cases a welding inspector will have a excellent idea if your welds will pass just by visually inspecting them.

Welding certifications are designed to ensure the welders skills are up to the code they will be working under. Welding certifications are also documented to prove that the welder is qualified under that code. Welding codes vary a lot depending on the type of work being done. There are many organizations that have different procedures depending on the type of work they oversee.

In the United States there are quite a few organizations that have certified welding procedures. The three largest organizations are:

  • The American Welding Society / AWS. www.aws.org They typically deal with structural codes mostly involved with buildings and bridges.
  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers /ASME Section IX. www.asme.org They deal with boiler and pressure vessel codes.
  • The American Petroleum Institute / API. www.api.org They oversee pipeline welding codes for the gas and oil industries.

The largest organization in America that certifies welders is the American Welding Society. The welding certification procedures they have approved have been tested many time to ensure that if followed the welder taking the welding certification follows the rules and has the skills will pass the test.

Welding Certification Processes

All welding certifications come in different process and procedures. The most widely used welding processes are:

  • Stick welding properly known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding or “SMAW
  • TIG welding properly known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or “GTAW
  • MIG Welding properly known as Gas Metal Arc Welding or “GMAW
  • Flux Core Arc Welding or Wire Wheel Welding

These are the most common but there are many other types of welding processes that you can get certified in. The only catch with the other types of processes is that they are so specialized that getting a job might not be easy to do. If you don’t weld using the process you are certified in they usually expire worthless after six months. Making the time and money spent wasted.

For someone new to the welding field the three best welding certifications to get that will pay off the fastest are an AWS D1.1 3G and 4G SMAW combo done on carbon steel and a 3G MIG Welding Certification. Most employers will be more than happy with someone who has passed these qualification tests. These certifications open the door for shop work and field work.

Addition Welding Certification Information


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