Life as a welder involves heavy masks, hot torches, and liquidized metals.
You get to create and mend metal objects using sparks and heat.
A career as a welder is not for those who are faint of heart or afraid of getting dirty, but there is more involved with manual labor.
A welder will also need to train as an apprentice to gain the skills necessary to work independently.
This guide defines how much it costs to become a professional welder in the US.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Welder
As you consider a career as a welder in the US, start by outlining the costs of this training.
You will need to pay for several areas, including:
- School tuition
- Fees for exams
- Living expenses
A significant consideration is that you will likely be unable to work full-time while you go to college to be a welder.
The result is a decreased income to help accommodate the increased expenses you will have as a student in welding school.
How to Pay for Training and Materials in Welding School?
Here is where you will need to be creative.
Apply for federal financial aid.
This will allow you to get grants, work-study opportunities, and financial assistance.
The money will go toward tuition, books, and materials.
You can also look for jobs that offer tuition reimbursement.
This type of tuition assistance program is available through employers willing to pay you for your training expenses, such as tuition.
If you qualify, i.e., have recently graduated training, you can have your employer send money to your training school to pay for student loans.
Cost of Schooling to Train as a Welder
To attend welding training classes will cost you more than most trade school programs.
You can attend welding training school for $3,000 to $20,000 for the entire course.
Expect to pay around $8,000 based on tuition reimbursements, scholarships, financial aid, and work-study opportunities.
If you pursue a two-year associate of science in welding technology at a university, the cost will be an average of $19,000 for the total program.
For students interested in a four-year bachelor’s degree associated with welding engineering technology, the cost is more than $40,000 for the entire program.
How Much Are Materials and Tools for Welding?
As a welder, your major expenses are in the tools used for welding and your safety equipment.
Some of the tools you purchase can be used and still be suitable for welding.
Buying used and maintained tools will save you a percentage of your expenses.
For comparison, welding students enrolled in welding training at Olympic College in Washington pay $780 for tools and safety equipment.
This amount comes at a lowered price thanks to an educational discount.
You must physically purchase this equipment, which is used, from local retailers.
Other major purchases that you will need ongoing as a welder include:
- Electrode sticks
- MIG wire
- Welding tips
- Flux-cored wire
- TIG / gas brazing rods
- LCD hood
- DC welders
Where you live, you can inquire with the school and instructors about discounts and local retailers for equipment.
They will have the resources you need to easily and safely find the best deals on welding materials and tools.
You will also need to pay for:
- Certification exams
- Licensing fees
- Business Insurance
- Welding permits
- Bonding coverage
Each of these expenses varies depending on the welding job and your location.
As you train to be a welder, you will learn what brands and items are necessary for the tasks.
Length of Time to Become a Welder
When you enroll in a welding school to train as a welder, you will spend at least a year in the program.
Some of the programs take up to 15 months.
Remember, you may also have a separate apprenticeship starting when you graduate from training.
This will extend the time you will invest in becoming a welder, but can help you advance your career.
The longer you train as a welder, the less income you will have.
Therefore, it is ideal that you focus on your studies and practice significantly with the best tools and materials you can buy.
The quicker you complete training, the faster you can get started working for someone as a welder.
It takes a little over a year to train successfully to be a professional welder.
You will need to purchase materials and tools for welding.
However, most schools will already have a package or opportunity for you to purchase these at a discount.
This will save you time and money, and ensure you have the right tools.
Expect to spend at least $5,000 on training, materials, and living expenses as a basic entry-level welder.
If you want to earn a degree as a welder, there are several advanced educational opportunities.
These take between two and four years and cost up to $40,000 for the full program.