Where and How to Get a Welding Certification or License
Before you decide to become a certified welder you should think about the type of work you want to do and what type of welding you were trained to do. In the United Stated the most common and accepted welding certifications are from the American Welding Society.
Typically most vocational schools offering a welding program also offer AWS welding certifications. Otherwise you can locate an accredited testing facility and take the welding certification test there. The downside to using an accredited testing facility is the cost could be more! But these accredited testing facilities usually offer many more welding procedures and codes to choose from. If you are working under a code like ASME or API these testing facilities may be the only available option.
I contacted the welding school I was trained at for some basic prices. These prices are from an AWS accredited testing facility. The school is the Welder and Training Testing Institute in Allentown, PA their web site is www.welderinstitute.com. For a plate test the cost is $143.00 and for a 6G pipe welding certification it is $299.00 plus if you need to practice the booth rental is about $23 an hour. Again the upside to an accredited testing facility like the Welder Training and Testing Institute is they can certify or train you under almost any code or process including procedures for exotic metals.
The cost of taking a welding certification at a vocational school vary. Most vocational schools require signing up for a class that is about $175.00, test plates run about $20.00 and pipe coupons are around $30.00. The prices do go up much higher depending on the type of metal. The upside to a vocational school is that most will allow you to take as many welding certifications as you want during the class duration. The only extra cost is the price of the testing coupons.
The last place you want to take a welding certification is the American Welding Society because their prices are through the roof! There are a lot of welding inspectors who are struggling and could cut you some good pricing for the test.