How to Become a Welder in California: Effective Guide

Welding may not be a white-collar job like doctors and lawyers but we all know that it is one of the most in-demand and high-paying jobs all over the world.

One of the states in America that are known for the consistent hiring of welders is California. However, you don’t become a welder in just a snap.

As the state is very competitive, they like to produce high-quality welders making high-quality welds.

So, how will you be able to work as a welder in California? In this article, you’ll have the answers to your questions.

How to Become a Welder in California?

Working as a welder in California is neither too hard nor too easy. Even though you were not able to finish a four-year school, you can still be qualified to become a welder if you pass the certification exam of the American Welders Society (AWS). Moreover, California has other welding certification tests you need to pass. 

How to Take the Certification Exam of AWS?

Just like in schools, you need to study first before you take an exam. To be able to take the AWS certification test, you first need to have enough knowledge and skills in welding.

There are schools in California that offer welding courses and programs where you’ll learn the things you need to pass the test and become a certified welder.

How to Enroll in Welding Schools in California?

First and foremost, you need to have at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Going to high school may not give you specific learnings about welding but this is where you will learn the basic skills you’ll be needing to become a welder in the future. In your high school, you will develop your problem-solving skills, basic math skills, physical fitness, communications skills, and many more.

Additionally, you can enroll in a technical high school that focuses on specific courses like welding. In specialized schools, you will be focusing more on math such as geometry and algebra which will be useful in welding. This will make things easier when you graduate since you’ll have a greater chance to be qualified to apply for apprenticeships. 

In taking welding programs and courses, you will be spending $3500 to $20,000 but it varies depending on the length of the program and location. It may seem like you need to spend so much but all will be worth it as this will greatly contribute to acing the AWS certification exam. 

Why Become a Welder in California

What Schools in California Can an Aspiring Welder Enroll?

You must choose the best welding school where you will enroll so the money, time, and effort you will spend won’t go to waste. Here are some welding school recommendations to give you an idea of where you can enroll.

1. Brawley Union High School

2. American River College

3. Chaffey High School

4. Bakersfield College Bookstore

5. Butte Glenn Community College

6. Fullerton College

7. Hanford West High School

8. Madera Community College Center

9. Riverside Community College

10. Las Positas College

In these schools, you will learn the welding techniques and standards through face-to-face classes in practicing your craft. The most common classes you’ll be taking are Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW).

How Long Does it Take to Become a Welder in California?

Before you can work as a welder in California, you must have a certification from AWS. This will serve as your degree to be able to work.

You can take the certification exam once you’re done training and you can finish welding programs and courses in less time. It depends on the school but usually, it will just take you six to eighteen months to finish. After that, you can become a paid apprentice.

Furthermore, after the training process, apprenticeships, and passing the AWS certification test, you will then be qualified to work as a certified welder.

Earning a Welding Certification

how to Become a Welder in California

Once you’re done with the other processes, you can now take the test to earn a welding certification from AWS. The first certificate you can get is the Certified Welder (CW) certification. This costs $35 and can be achieved through performance. Hence, there’s no need to take classes or courses to pass this certification. You just need to show your welding skills.

Additionally, other certifications are more costly and need some kind of level of work experience and education. These are the following:

  1. Certified Welding Inspector

2. Senior Certified Welding Inspector

3. Certified Welding Educator

4. Certified Welding Sales Representative

The certifications you obtain will prove that you are knowledgeable and skilled enough to apply for welding jobs in California. If matched with experience, there’s a greater chance your employers will give you a higher salary.

Why Become a Welder in California?

Why Become a Welder in California

Many people in California have proven that they were able to better provide financially for their families ever since they worked as a welder. Hence, they earn more than you think.

Welders in California earn an average of $43,840 per year, which is considered higher than the national median salary. This salary can even go higher if they gain higher certificates and experience after months or years.

Where Can You Apply as a Certified Welder in California?

Being a certified welder in California paves the way for a lot of welding job opportunities. Some cities that are known to consistently hire the most welders are Los Angeles, San Diego, and Bakersfield. These cities offer welding jobs where you can earn a salary of $44,000 to $52,000 annually.

In addition to that, some of the companies in California that hire welders are BAE Systems, General Dynamics Information Technology, and Union Pacific. 


To become a welder in California, you need to go through the right process.

In the end, having education, training, experience, and certification can greatly help you get a lot of welding job opportunities.

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