How to Become a Welder in Texas
Texas is home to several construction, drilling, and engineering companies that need qualified welders. Wondering how to become a welder in Texas?
You’ll need to start the process by choosing an accredited education program that teaches you the skills you need for the job.
Once you finish your training, you must obtain the proper certification to qualify for welder jobs in Texas.
Education & Training
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Like other skilled trades professionals, welders must complete a comprehensive education program and undergo hands-on training. Aspiring welders in TX can enroll in a Texas trade school program to learn the necessary tools of the trade.
Most schools offer classes like:
- 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
Additional Skills to Learn
Instructors may also help students develop efficient communication skills for interacting with clients and coworkers. If you’re hoping to start your own welding company and take on various local, government, and military contracts, consider taking business and marketing classes as well.
Students also 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.
Depending on where you take your classes, you might learn to make these welds using one of the following welding techniques:
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding or stick welding
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG)
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG)
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.
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.
How Long is Welder School in TX?
Welding program lengths vary across different institutions. For example, some accelerated certificate or diploma programs are only about two to six months long. On the other hand, it will take students up to two years to complete courses for an associate’s degree.
Tuition costs for welder schools in Texas differ as well. 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.
Texas Welder Requirements
In 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:
- Complete and submit a Certified Welder Exam application form detailing the type of performance test and certification you’re seeking.
- Submit the application, a photo ID, and payment of the testing and application fee to your chosen testing facility.
- Take and pass a two-part certification exam, which includes both written and practical components.
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.
Welder Salaries in TX
Annual earnings for welders in TX usually fall somewhere around $50,560. However, you might make slightly more or less than that if you find a job in a particular part of the state. For regional information about the average welder salary in Texas, check out the list below:
- Houston $53,322
- Dallas $48,862
- Odessa $58,971
- Midland $59,881
- El Paso $40,387
- Austin $48,431
- Corpus Christie $54,983
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.
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
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.