How to Become a Welder in Arizona
Arizona residents hoping to qualify for a job in the skilled trades should consider becoming welders.
Welders in AZ use their critical thinking skills, dexterity, and attention to detail to help build sturdy, lasting metal machines and structures.
Want to pursue welding jobs in Arizona?
Use the information in this article to start your journey toward a promising welding career.
Education and Training
Step one for those wondering how to become a welder in Arizona is to enroll in an accredited training course at an Arizona trade school. During your program, qualified instructors will teach you the abilities you’ll need to succeed in this skilled trades career.
While curriculums differ at each institution, most aspiring welders in AZ take classes like:
- Shop and Job Site Safety
- Blueprint and Schematic Reading and Interpretation
- Construction Mathematics
- Equipment Handling and Maintenance
- Fabrication and Metalworking
- Welding and Cutting Operations
- Weld Testing
- OSHA Compliance
In addition to traditional textbook instruction, students in welding programs practice their skills in on-campus workshops. Your training program might focus on a particular welding technique that most contractors in the industry use.
In most cases, your chosen educational course will provide classroom instruction and hands-on training on one of the following methods:
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)/MIG Welding
- Flux-Cored Welding
- Gas or Oxy-Acetylene Welding
- Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG Welding)
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)/Stick Welding
- Plasma Arc Welding
Specific Assignments from Instructors
Instructors often give students assignments that require them to perform a specific type of weld that meets a particular set of blueprint specifications. These hands-on training modules allow students to develop the hand-eye coordination and accuracy they need to thrive in their chosen welding careers.
Certain welding jobs in Arizona require students to undergo specialized training and obtain official certifications. Depending on your career goals, you might consider enrolling in a trade school or community college program that teaches one of the following:
- Underwater Welding: involves using welding and diving skills to build and maintain underwater structures, such as bridges, ships, dams, nuclear reactors, and off-shore oil rigs
- Automotive Welding: requires working with motorcycle, diesel, and auto mechanics to perform auto body repairs and help build and repair vehicle engines and parts
- Pipefitting: creating, fitting, and repairing pipes that plumbers use in residential and commercial buildings
- Aerospace Welding: building vessels for aviation and space programs, usually for government or military contracts
How Long Does It Take?
Most aspiring welders in AZ can complete their training programs in as little as six or seven months. However, some courses are closer to nine months long. If you’re planning to become a licensed contractor or qualify for more complex, labor-intensive welding jobs in Arizona, you might consider enrolling in a one- or two-year training course.
How Much is Welding School in AZ?
Wondering how much welding school in Arizona costs? The answer varies depending on where you choose to enroll. Some institutions charge about $5,000 for training, registration, equipment, and study materials. Other programs cost as much as $30,000 or more, especially if they’re specialized courses that teach a particular welding discipline.
Arizona Welder Requirements
Getting an official license or certification is optional for most welders in AZ. Typically, employers are willing to hire candidates who meet the minimum requirements of being at least 18 years of age, having a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, and completing hands-on training through an accredited program.
American Welding Society
However, some welding jobs in Arizona require workers to get certified through the American Welding Society (AWS). To register for the AWS competency exam and earn an official certified welder (CW) credential, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Fill out an exam application form detailing what type of certification you’re testing for.
- Submit your application, a copy of your photo ID, and payment of your application and testing fees.
- Pass both the written and practical application portions of the certification exam
Arizona Welders Licenses
Any welder jobs in Arizona that involve working with construction teams to build residential or commercial structures may require you to have an official contractor license. Check the Arizona Registrar of Contractors to determine whether you need an official state license to perform specific welding jobs in Arizona.
Welder Salaries in AZ
Employers across Arizona offer different wages based on the duties they expect their workers to perform. As a result, the average welder salary in Arizona varies depending on which part of the state you live in. Take a look at the list below to learn about regional annual earnings for welders in AZ:
- Flagstaff $46,041
- Phoenix $44,011
- Tucson $43,148
- Prescott $44,274
- Yuma $39,743
- Sierra Vista $46,605
AZ welders with the proper education and experience may be able to negotiate salaries closer to $90,000 per year. If you qualify for aerospace or underwater welder jobs in Arizona, you may be able to earn $100,000 per year or more.
Welders in AZ work with heat-emitting tools such as gas flames, lasers, and electrical arcs to build and repair metal items and structures. Duties for these skilled trades professionals include:
- Proper equipment use and maintenance
- Read blueprints and take accurate measurements before beginning a weld
- Use proper safety measures and equipment when cutting, melting, shaping, and joining metal components
Welders must also be able to lift at least 50 pounds and sit, kneel and stand for long periods of time while they work. Depending on the job, they may also have to work underwater or climb or rappel down the side of large buildings and structures.
Experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that the demand for qualified welders in the U.S. will increase by about two percent over the next ten years. Despite this seemingly low growth rate, welders in AZ may have an easy time finding welder jobs in Arizona, especially if they specialize in a particular welding discipline or have additional certifications.