Are Welding Certifications Really Worth It?
When it comes to welding certifications there are many things to consider. Before going out and paying for a test that may or may not be needed you need to ask yourself three questions?
- Does my experience make up for the need to be certified?
- Do I do enough code work to justify the cost?
- Can I afford the cost and keep the cert active?
For many welders being certified comes down to previous welding experience. If you have been welding for three or more years, chances are you don’t need a welding certification. For most people a welding certification is a crutch to get your foot in the door. This applies to experienced welders and the less experienced. For example if you are a structural welder and want to break into the pipe welding field, then a pipe welding certification would be a BIG HELP! Or let’s say you are a student who is about to graduate. In this case a few welding certifications would also be a big help in getting hired.
The funny thing about employers is that the human resource department does not look at anything but experience. If you lack the experience then being certified could be what is needed to get a weld test. As for most jobs you will still need to take a weld test and that is what is really going to get you hired. As I previously stated the human resource department decides who gets an interview and weld test. The reality is they have no clue to what your skills are or care to find out. It comes down to giving them something that looks good on paper that makes them say WOW. I have run into a many really good welders that could not get a job because they lacked the experience that the employers wanted. So when it comes to the welding certification it is great way to make up for a lack of experience.
Welding codes are why people get certified. If you are planning to do code work then getting a welding certification in that code would be a good idea. On the other hand if you are not sure of what type of work you will be doing then a certification would be a waste of money. The weld test can cost as little as $200 to more than $1000 for a single shot at a pass or fail test. The big down side of getting certified is there are many codes to choose from and there is not a single cert that covers all of them. If you specialize in a specific type of work then it makes it much easier to decide if the cost justifies the risk.
As a student or someone with less experience, the cost of getting certified can be a lot. There is a big risk you run if you don’t weld for a while after getting certified. Most welding certifications expire in six months if you do not weld during that time. Think about it? You spend a few hundred dollars and get certified but then you don’t work for six months. That time and money just went down the drain.
In the end welding certifications are great for someone who either lacks experience or is looking to break into a specific type of welding. On the down side they expire if you don’t weld for six months or they might not have any use to you if the code you are working under is not covered by your certification.