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What degree do I need to be a welder?

Manufacturing-related jobs such as welding have undergone a bit of transformation in the past few years, as these positions increasingly demand more computer knowledge due to requirements to operate sophisticated machinery or even program robots, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even though General Motors introduced its first welding robot in 1961, demand for human welders continues to be strong.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational requirements for welders vary greatly, ranging from just a few weeks of schooling or on-the-job training to several years of both school and on-the-job training for highly-skilled and specialized positions in some companies. Some welding positions require general welding certification. The American Welding Society offers certification courses at many welding schools throughout the nation. Formal training is also available in high school technical education courses and in post-secondary institutions, such as vocational-technical institutes, community colleges, and private institutions, according to the BLS.

Welders are needed for everything from NASCAR races, where roughly 950 hours are spent on welding and fabrication of each car before it hits the road, to outer space, where welding played an essential part of the construction of the International Space Station. According to the American Welding Society, more than 50 percent of U.S. products, such as computers, medical devices, bridges, cell phones, scooters and farm equipment, require welding. Employees in this field can also pursue niche concentrations such such as inspection or robotic welding, which have separate certifications.


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