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Top 11 MIG Welder Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for professional MIG welders.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a mig welder in the job market for a few reasons. First, certifications demonstrate that a mig welder has the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively perform welding tasks. Employers prefer to hire certified welders as they have proven their abilities and are more likely to be successful in their work. Secondly, certifications can help a mig welder stand out from other applicants who may not have the same level of expertise or experience. Finally, certifications can give welders access to higher paying jobs with better benefits, as employers may be willing to pay more for someone with the necessary credentials.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the most beneficial certifications for MIG Welders and to explain how they can help enhance a welder's career.

What are MIG Welder Certifications?

Mig Welder Certification is a certification program that is designed to help welders demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency in the use of Mig welding equipment. The certification program is offered by various welding organizations, such as the American Welding Society (AWS), and consists of a written test and practical demonstration.

The written test covers all aspects of Mig welding safety, equipment, setup, operation, job preparation, and post-welding inspection. The practical demonstration involves an actual welding project which must be completed to meet AWS standards. All welds must pass visual inspection and destructive testing to ensure they meet AWS guidelines.

By obtaining this certification, welders can demonstrate their knowledge and ability in order to qualify for higher paying jobs or promotions within their current field. It also demonstrates dedication to the craft of welding and shows potential employers that the welder has taken the initiative to further develop his/her skillset. With this certification, a welder will be more attractive when applying for positions with higher responsibility or higher pay rates than those without it. Additionally, welders may find that having this certification makes them eligible for additional training opportunities or special projects which could lead to increased job satisfaction or other career advancements.

Pro Tip: Always be sure to get your mig welder certification from an accredited welding school or program. This will ensure that you have the necessary knowledge and skill set to safely and effectively use a mig welder. Additionally, certified welders are often more attractive to employers, so having a certification can help you stand out in the job market.

Related: What does an MIG Welder do?

Top 11 MIG Welder Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to MIG Welders today.

1. American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welder

American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welder is a certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skill in welding. It is the most widely accepted welding certification in the United States and is recognized by many employers as a sign of proficiency.

To become an AWS Certified Welder, you must pass both a written exam and a practical test. The written exam covers topics such as safety, metallurgy, welding processes, and code requirements. The practical test requires you to demonstrate your welding skills on actual weldments.

The process of becoming an AWS Certified Welder typically takes about three months from start to finish. You must first register for the exams with the American Welding Society and pay the associated fees. Once registered, you will need to study for the exams and schedule a time to take them at an approved testing facility. After passing both exams, you will receive your AWS Certified Welder certificate in the mail within two weeks.

The cost of becoming an AWS Certified Welder varies depending on where you take the tests and whether or not you require additional training before taking them. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $200-$500 USD to become certified. This includes registration fees for both exams as well as any additional training costs that may be required beforehand.

2. National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certified Welder

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certified Welder program is a certification program that verifies the knowledge and skills of welders. The certification is designed to ensure that welders have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform welding tasks safely and effectively.

To become an NCCER Certified Welder, individuals must complete a series of courses in welding safety, theory, and practice. These courses may be taken at a variety of accredited educational institutions or through self-study programs offered by NCCER. Once all course requirements are completed, individuals must pass a written exam as well as a practical performance evaluation in order to receive their certification.

The length of time it takes to become an NCCER Certified Welder depends on the individual's prior experience with welding and the number of courses they choose to take. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to complete the program depending on the individual's schedule and availability.

In order to get certified, individuals must first register with NCCER online or by mail. After registering, individuals will need to select which courses they would like to take in order to obtain their certification. Upon successful completion of all course requirements and passing both exams (written and practical), individuals will receive their official certificate from NCCER verifying their status as an NCCER Certified Welder.

The cost for becoming an NCCER Certified Welder varies depending on the number of courses taken and where they are taken (at an accredited institution or through self-study). Generally speaking, most individuals can expect to pay anywhere between $500-$1,000 for the entire process.

3. American Petroleum Institute (API) Certified Welder

American Petroleum Institute (API) Certified Welder is a certification program that provides welders with the knowledge and skills to safely and effectively weld components made of steel, stainless steel, and other alloys used in the oil and gas industry. The certification is administered by the American Welding Society (AWS).

It typically takes between two to four weeks to complete the training and certification process. To become an API Certified Welder, you must first complete a welding course approved by the AWS. After completing the course, you must then pass a written exam as well as a practical welding test. The written exam tests your knowledge of welding theory and safety procedures while the practical test evaluates your ability to properly weld components according to industry standards.

The cost of becoming an API Certified Welder varies depending on where you take the course and how long it takes you to complete it. Generally speaking, courses range from $500-$1,500 USD for tuition alone; however, additional fees may apply for materials or testing costs.

Once certified, welders are expected to maintain their certification through continuing education courses or re-testing every five years.

4. International Institute of Welding (IIW) Certified Welder

The International Institute of Welding (IIW) Certified Welder is a certification program that provides welders with an internationally recognized qualification. This certification is designed to demonstrate the welder’s ability to perform welding operations in accordance with international standards.

The IIW Certified Welder program consists of three stages: theory, practical and written examinations. The theory examination tests the welder’s knowledge of welding processes, materials and safety regulations. The practical examination assesses the welder’s ability to perform welding operations on various types of metals and alloys. The written examination tests the welder’s understanding of welding codes and standards.

To become an IIW Certified Welder, applicants must complete all three stages of the certification process within two years. Applicants must also pass a background check and provide proof that they have at least two years of experience in welding or related fields.

The cost for obtaining IIW Certified Welder status depends on the country where you are applying from, but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD.

5. Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) Certified Welder

The Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) Certified Welder is a certification program that recognizes welders who have achieved a high level of proficiency in welding. The CWB certification is recognized by employers and organizations across Canada, as well as internationally, for its stringent requirements and standards.

To become a CWB Certified Welder, an applicant must complete an approved welding course or apprenticeship program and pass the CWB’s written and practical exams. The written exam tests knowledge of welding theory, while the practical exam tests the applicant’s ability to perform various types of welding techniques. Depending on the type of welding certification being sought, it can take anywhere from three months to two years to complete all the necessary requirements.

In order to apply for CWB Certification, applicants must first register with the CWB online or by mail. Once registered, applicants will be required to submit proof of their training and experience in welding along with a completed application form. After submitting all required documents, applicants will be scheduled for both written and practical exams at an approved testing facility.

The cost of becoming a CWB Certified Welder varies depending on the type of certification being sought and other factors such as travel expenses for taking exams at distant locations. Generally speaking, however, applicants can expect to pay between $500-$1000 CAD in total fees associated with obtaining their certification.

6. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certified Welder

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certified Welder is a certification that verifies the competency of welders to perform specific welding tasks. This certification is designed to ensure that welders have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete welding jobs safely and accurately. The ASME Certified Welder program is a voluntary program, meaning it is not required by any government or regulatory agency.

To become an ASME Certified Welder, you must first pass an exam administered by the American Welding Society (AWS). The exam consists of multiple-choice questions related to welding safety, equipment, processes, materials, and other topics. You must also demonstrate proficiency in various welding techniques through hands-on testing.

It typically takes about three months to prepare for the exam and complete the hands-on testing. During this time, you will need to study for the exam as well as practice your welding skills with a qualified instructor or mentor. Once you have passed both parts of the exam, you will receive your ASME Certified Welder certificate.

The cost of becoming an ASME Certified Welder varies depending on where you take your exams and how much training you need beforehand. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500 - $2,000 USD for all associated costs including registration fees and training courses.

7. National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI) Certified Welder

The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI) Certified Welder is a certification program that verifies the competency of welders in the field of pressure vessel fabrication and repair. This certification is recognized by industry organizations, government agencies, and other entities as an indication of a welder’s proficiency in welding safety, quality control, and technical knowledge.

It typically takes about six months to complete the training and testing process for NBBI Certified Welder certification. The process includes both classroom instruction and practical hands-on training. During this time, welders must demonstrate their knowledge of welding processes, safety procedures, quality control methods, and applicable codes. Upon successful completion of the training program, welders must pass a written examination administered by the NBBI in order to receive their certification.

To become an NBBI Certified Welder, applicants must meet certain prerequisites such as having at least two years of experience in welding or related fields as well as passing a background check. Additionally, applicants must complete an approved welding program from an accredited educational institution or trade school before they can apply for certification.

The cost of obtaining NBBI Certified Welder certification varies depending on the length of the training course taken and any additional fees associated with it. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500-$1000 USD depending on how comprehensive they are.

8. Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) Certified Welder

The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) Certified Welder program is a certification program for welders that demonstrates their knowledge and skills in welding processes. It is designed to provide employers with assurance that certified welders have the necessary qualifications to produce quality welds.

The FMA Certified Welder program consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical welding test. The written exam tests the welder’s knowledge of welding theory, safety, codes, and specifications. The practical welding test requires the welder to demonstrate their proficiency in various welding processes.

It typically takes several weeks to complete the FMA Certified Welder program. First, the welder must register for the exam and pay an application fee of $150 USD. Then they must attend an approved training course or study on their own to prepare for the written exam. After passing the written exam, they must then take the practical welding test at an approved testing facility.

Once all requirements are met, the welder will receive a certificate from FMA indicating that they are now a Certified Welder. This certificate is valid for three years from date of issue and can be renewed by taking another written and practical welding test every three years thereafter.

The cost of becoming an FMA Certified Welder depends on several factors such as location, type of training course taken, etc., but generally ranges between $500-$1000 USD total including registration fees, training courses/materials, and testing fees.

9. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Certified Welder

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Certified Welder is a certification program designed to ensure that welders have the necessary knowledge and skills to safely perform welding operations. The program requires welders to pass an OSHA-approved exam and demonstrate their knowledge of welding safety and health standards.

It typically takes about 8-10 hours of study time to prepare for the OSHA Certified Welder exam, which consists of 100 multiple choice questions. To become certified, one must obtain a passing score on the exam.

To get started, you must first find an approved testing center that offers the OSHA Certified Welder exam. You will then need to register for the test and pay the associated fees, which vary depending on your location but are usually around $150-$200 USD. Once registered, you can begin studying for the exam using online resources or textbooks.

Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your OSHA Certified Welder card in the mail within 4-6 weeks. This card is valid for five years before needing to be renewed by taking another OSHA-approved test.

10. Underwater Welding Certification by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)

Underwater Welding Certification by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is a certification program that provides recognition for individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in underwater welding. This certification program is designed to demonstrate an individual’s ability to safely and effectively weld underwater.

The certification process involves completing a series of courses, tests, and practical assessments. To obtain this certification, applicants must complete the following:

1. Complete the ABS Underwater Welding Certification Course (UWC). This course covers topics such as safety, welding techniques, equipment selection and maintenance, and quality control. The course typically lasts between three and five days depending on the complexity of the material being covered.

2. Pass the ABS Underwater Welding Certification Exam. This exam tests an individual’s knowledge of welding theory and practice as it relates to underwater welding operations.

3. Demonstrate practical proficiency in underwater welding through completion of a series of hands-on assessments conducted by an ABS certified instructor or examiner. These assessments are designed to evaluate an individual’s skill in performing various types of underwater welding tasks in a safe and effective manner.

The cost for obtaining this certification varies depending on the location where you take the course and exam, but typically ranges from $500-$2000 USD for all required components (course tuition, exam fees, etc.). The time it takes to obtain this certification also varies depending on how quickly you can complete all required components; however, most people are able to obtain their certification within one month or less if they are diligent about studying and completing their assessments in a timely manner.

11. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Certified Welder

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Certified Welder program is a certification program that verifies the welding skills of individuals who have successfully completed an approved welding training program. The NFPA Certified Welder program is designed to ensure that welders have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform safe and quality welding work in accordance with established industry standards.

In order to become an NFPA Certified Welder, an individual must complete an approved welding training program that meets the requirements of the NFPA. Generally, these programs include classroom instruction as well as hands-on practice in welding techniques and safety procedures. The length of time required to complete a certified welding training program varies depending on the type of welding being performed and the level of experience of the student. Typically, it takes between six months and one year to complete a certified welding training program.

After completing a certified welding training program, individuals can apply for their NFPA Certified Welder certification by submitting an application form along with proof of completion from their approved training provider. The cost for applying for NFPA Certified Welder certification varies depending on the type of certification being applied for; however, typically it costs around $100 USD per certification application.

Once all required documents are submitted, applicants will be evaluated by an independent third-party organization that will verify their qualifications and determine if they meet all requirements for becoming a certified welder. If accepted, applicants will receive their official NFPA Certified Welder certificate in the mail within two weeks after approval.

Do You Really Need a MIG Welder Certificate?

The answer to whether or not you need an MIG Welder Certificate depends on your career goals. If you want to be a professional welder, then having a certificate is essential. In most cases, employers require welders to have a valid welding certificate before they will consider hiring them. A certificate is proof that you have been trained in the safety and proper techniques of welding, which can help put you ahead of other applicants.

Having an MIG Welder Certificate can also open up opportunities for more advanced positions within the welding industry. For example, many companies are looking for welders with specific certifications in order to work on certain projects or in specialized areas such as nuclear power plants or aircraft construction. Having a certification shows that you are capable of working in these environments and can provide employers with assurance that you have the necessary skills and qualifications for the job.

Finally, having an MIG Welder Certificate may also help you stand out from other potential candidates when applying for jobs. Employers may view it as evidence that you are serious about your career and dedicated to becoming a skilled welder, which could give you an edge over other applicants who do not possess the same credentials.

Overall, getting an MIG Welder Certificate is beneficial if your goal is to become a professional welder and increase your chances of being hired by employers who require certification before they hire workers.

Related: MIG Welder Resume Examples

FAQs About MIG Welder Certifications

1. What is a MIG Welder Certification?

A MIG Welder Certification is a document that certifies a welder has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to weld using metal inert gas (MIG) welding equipment. It ensures that welders are qualified to work safely and effectively in the industry.

2. How do I get a MIG Welder Certification?

You can obtain a MIG Welder Certification by taking an accredited welding course or exam from an organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). The course or exam must cover topics such as safety, welding techniques, metallurgy and more.

3. What is the cost of getting a MIG Welder Certification?

The cost of getting a MIG Welder Certification varies depending on the institution offering it and whether you are taking an exam or completing a course. On average, courses can range anywhere between $200-$500 while exams typically cost around $50-$100.

4. Are there any prerequisites for getting a MIG Welder Certification?

Yes, most institutions require applicants to have prior welding experience before they can take an exam or course for certification. Additionally, some organizations may also require applicants to pass certain tests such as vision or drug tests before they can be certified.

5. How long does it take to get a MIG Welder Certification?

The amount of time it takes to get certified depends on the institution offering it as well as how much prior welding experience you have. Generally speaking, most courses take about 4-6 weeks to complete while exams usually only take a few hours to complete.