How to Become a Welder in Texas

According to the Bureau of Labor, Texas has the highest employment for welders in the country.

Texas is home to several construction, drilling, and engineering companies that need qualified welders.

Education & Training

You’ll need to start the process by choosing an accredited online education program that teaches you the skills you need for the job.

Local Trade Schools

    Elite Welding Academy
    Elite Welding Academy's Structural and Pipe Welding Training Program equips students with the skills needed for careers in pipe welding, structural welding, and manufacturing welding. The 1000-hour program is divided into four 250-hour sessions, covering welding safety, equipment setup and maintenance, and various welding procedures such as SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, and FCAW. Classes are available in both day and night schedules to accommodate different needs, with completion times of approximately 26 weeks for day classes and 44 weeks for night classes. Upon successful completion, students receive a Certificate of Completion, qualifying them for employment in various welding industries.

    • Houston


    FORTIS College
    In depth, hands on instruction prepares students for many different disciplines in the welding field.

    • Grand Prairie, Houston


    Houston Community College
    Choose from Welding Technology, A.A.S. or certifications in Combination Pipe Welding, Structural Welding, or Welding Automation (C1).

    • Houston, Missouri City, Stafford


    Lincoln Tech
    40 week certificate programs in Welding and Fabrication Technology & Pipefitting.

    • Grand Prairie


    Lone Star College

    The Welding Technology AAS degree is a two-year program that prepares students for careers in the fabrication, construction, and manufacturing industries. The program includes hands-on training in SMAW, GTAW, and GMAW welding processes and offers Level 1 and Level 2 certificates in these areas, equipping students for various welding jobs and preparing them for industry certifications. The curriculum also covers basic layout and fabrication, metallurgy, and inspection procedures, using up-to-date equipment and professional standards.

    The Welding Core Skills Occupational Skills Award (OSA) is a non-credit fast track program designed to prepare students for the American Welding Society (AWS) Exam. The program includes 80 contact hours each in Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), and Shielded Metal Arc Pipe welding.

    The non-credit fast track Welder (SMAW & GMAW) Certificate program, now offered in a hybrid format, provides essential training in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW). Students learn critical skills such as arc length, current setting, travel speed, and electrode angle to produce code-quality welds in various joint designs. The program covers welding in flat, horizontal, vertical up, and overhead positions, along with electrode selection, joint design, and oxyfuel cutting systems.

    • Houston


    North Central Texas College
    The Welding Technology program at NCTC is available at Bowie, Gainesville, and Graham campuses. Students gain practical skills in various welding processes, including Oxy-Fuel Cutting, Shielded Metal Arc, Gas Metal Arc, Gas Tungsten Arc, and Flux Cored Arc, along with blueprint reading and welding code interpretation. The program ensures graduates are well-prepared for real-world challenges and employment by requiring them to pass certification tests for each welding process. Courses are offered in flexible formats, including in-person, hybrid, and online, allowing students to earn Basic Level 1 and Level 1 Certificates, as well as an Associate of Applied Science Degree, equipping them with comprehensive skills for the welding industry.

    • Denton


    South Texas Vocational Technical Institute 
    The Combination Welding program at STVT equips students with the skills needed for careers in construction and maintenance through hands-on training and a focus on workplace safety. Available at the San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Weslaco campuses, this 10-month, 56.5-credit hour program covers various welding techniques, including SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, GTAW, plate welding, pipe welding,

    • Arlington, San Antonio, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, McAllen


    Southern Careers Institute
    7 month certificate program that includes Shielded Metal Arc, Gas Metal Arc, Flux Cored Arc and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.

    • Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio, Waco


    Texas State Technical College
    TSTC provides a comprehensive Welding Technology program, available at several campuses, including Abilene, Breckenridge, and a new location in New Braunfels starting Fall 2024. The program offers both Associate degrees and Certificates through in-person and hybrid formats, including night classes. Students receive hands-on training with top-of-the-line equipment used by professional welders, learning essential skills such as blueprint reading, SMAW and GTAW welding, layout and fabrication, and liquid penetrant and magnetic particle testing.

    • Rosenberg, New Braunfels, Abilene, Hutto


    Tulsa Welding School
    7 month Professional Welder program with flexible class schedules preps students for certifications and jobs in auto, construction, manufacturing, aviation and more. Morning & evening classes. Career services helps with placement. Apply for a scholarship.

    • Houston


    Universal Technical Institute
    Learn MIG, TIG, stick & flux-cored welding in 36 weeks. Provides help with financial aid, housing and employment.

    • Irving, Houston, Austin


    Wharton County Junior College
    Intensive welding technology course that equips graduates with 19 industry certifications.

    • Wharton, Richmond, Sugar Land, Bay City


How Long is Welder School in TX?

Some accelerated certificate or diploma programs are only about two to 6 months long. On the other hand, it will take students up to two years to complete courses for an associate’s degree.

Program Costs

Some institutions charge between $3,000 and $5,000 for their basic welding certification programs. However, tuition rates for a degree program or specialized course typically start at about $15,000.

What Do You Study?

Most schools offer classes like:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding or stick welding
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG)
  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG)
  • Blueprint Reading and Interpretation
  • Welding Equipment Handling
  • Shop and Site Safety
  • Construction Mathematics
  • Weld Testing
  • Fabrication and Metalworking
  • Welding and Cutting Operations
  • OSHA Compliance and Basic Equipment Maintenance

Instructors may also help students develop efficient communication skills for interacting with clients and coworkers.

Hands-on Training

Students may complete workshop modules that help them become familiar with the process of creating lasting welds.

Shop classes involve following blueprints to measure, cut, and join metal components based on instructor specifications.

Salary

Lets take a look at some salary numbers from major job websites:

Below is some regional data for areas of the state from the BLS.

Area Hourly Annual
Abilene $22.49 $46,770.00
Amarillo $23.00 $47,830.00
Austin-Round Rock $24.52 $51,010.00
Beaumont-Port Arthur $29.64 $61,650.00
Big Thicket $21.25 $44,200.00
Border Region $23.15 $48,160.00
Brownsville-Harlingen $21.01 $43,700.00
Coastal Plains $23.92 $49,740.00
College Station-Bryan $23.45 $48,780.00
Corpus Christi $29.12 $60,580.00
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington $24.42 $50,800.00
El Paso $20.30 $42,210.00
Hill Country $22.92 $47,680.00
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land $27.01 $56,190.00
Killeen-Temple $21.54 $44,790.00
Laredo $20.56 $42,760.00
Longview $23.51 $48,900.00
Lubbock $21.10 $43,880.00
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission $19.05 $39,630.00
Midland $30.05 $62,500.00
North Texas $22.97 $47,770.00
Odessa $29.01 $60,330.00
San Angelo $20.78 $43,220.00
San Antonio-New Braunfels $23.57 $49,020.00
Sherman-Denison $20.40 $42,430.00
Texarkana $20.73 $43,120.00
Tyler $22.66 $47,130.00
Victoria $25.22 $52,470.00
Waco $21.29 $44,280.00
West Texas $25.24 $52,490.00
Wichita Falls $20.94 $43,560.00

source: data.bls.gov
Occupation: Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers (SOC Code514121);

Texas welders with additional certifications may be able to negotiate higher salaries than others. You may earn closer to $60k or $70k per year if you have more experience in the industry.

Depending on their contracts, dive welders and those who specialize in a particular welding discipline might even make about $100k annually.

Additional Training and Certifications

If you plan to qualify for a particular type of welder job in Texas, you may need to undergo specialized training. For example, some aspiring welders in TX obtain the following credentials:

  • Commercial Diver Certification: Welders with dive certifications can work on marine vehicles and off-shore oil rigs, maintain nuclear reactors, and help build bridges, dams, and other underwater structures.
  • Pipefitting Certification: A pipefitter credential allows you to work alongside plumbers and construction workers to install and repair pipes for residential and commercial structures.
  • Aerospace Welding Certification: Those hoping to build vessels for space and aviation programs may need specialized aircraft and spacecraft welder training.
  • Automotive Welding Certification: Take automotive welding courses to learn about building and maintaining parts for motorcycles, cars, trucks, and marine vehicles.

Welding Apprenticeships

Some aspiring welders in TX enroll in an apprenticeship program to perfect their skills and gain additional welding experience. While these programs are optional, they can be beneficial for those hoping to build connections with other professionals in the industry.

The Texas Workforce Commission has a database of construction and building companies that offer apprenticeships for welders throughout the state.

Texas Welder Requirements

AWS-welding-logoIn order to qualify for welder jobs in Texas, you’ll need to obtain an official Certified Welder (CW) credential. Texas state law requires all aspiring welders to get certified through the American Welding Society (AWS) before applying for welder jobs.

Obtaining a Welder License

Take the following steps to become a licensed welder in TX:

  1. Complete and submit a Certified Welder Exam application form detailing the type of performance test and certification you’re seeking.
  2. Submit the application, a photo ID, and payment of the testing and application fee to your chosen testing facility.
  3. Take and pass a two-part certification exam, which includes both written and practical components.

Getting Certified

It may take anywhere from four to six weeks to receive your certification card from the AWS after you pass the exam. Depending on your chosen specialty, you might need to obtain an additional through the Department of Transportation or other organizations before you can qualify for certain welder jobs in Texas.

Job Description

Welders in TX assemble and repair metal items and structures by using heavy machinery and heat-emitting tools to measure, cut, melt, shape, and join metal pieces together. Duties for these skilled trades workers include:

  • Reading blueprints and schematics for creating each weld
  • Accurately measuring and cutting metal components into the correct shapes
  • Melting metal pieces using gas flames, lasers, and electrical arcs
  • Joining metal components together and smoothing molten metal to remove creases
  • Practice proper safety measures during a weld

Career Outlook

Experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a two-percent increase in the demand for welder jobs in the U.S. between 2021 and 2031. Despite this seemingly slow growth rate, aspiring welders will likely see about 47,600 welding jobs become available within this time frame. Having a diver, pipefitter, or nuclear welding certification could make it easier to obtain one of these welder jobs in Texas.