Knowing how to weld safely and precisely is a great skill to have. But to make a living and have a career in welding, you need to have more than just welding skills. You will need rigorous training and, most likely, a welding certificate.
Whether you want to be a hobbyist or a professional welder, you can learn the skills, techniques, safety best practices, and knowledge that you need to weld properly all online.
Not sure if welding is right for you? This article will break down what online welding is and help you decide whether or not you should take an online welding course.
What Does Online Welding Consist of?
Virtual welding training is a dashboard of welding videos that is held behind a paywall. Once enrolled, students gain access to a myriad of photos, courses, instructionals, and documents that provide education on welding.
Online welding courses can vary, but for the most part, there will be pictures, educational walk-throughs, videos, assignments, and workshop tasks. These courses will also be set up so that you can progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced and finally professional.
With an instructor there with you along the way, virtual welding training is easy and beginner-friendly.
What You’ll Learn During An Online Welding Program
Generally speaking, most welding courses last anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. However, it depends on the type of training you are receiving.
The training is often broken down into different sections with detailed syllabuses. An accredited welding training program will cover everything from reading schematics and welding blueprints, to basic math, to working safely with oxy acetylene and everything in between.
Depending on the program you’re taking, there may be opportunities to take courses for more advanced welding skills like metal arcing or pipe welding. Some institutions even offer programs to become a Certified Welding Inspector.
Regardless of which type of welding training you’re completing online, the course should give students reading materials, training videos, coursework, and access to connect with the program’s instructor during ‘office hours.’
Should I Take an Online Welding Course?
As professional welders ourselves, we advocate for learning in multiple ways or the ways that suit you best. If you have the desire to learn to weld, then taking an online course will get you in the door immediately. This puts you in front of welding techniques, jargon, and gear so that you can start learning to weld right away.
As we will get into later, there are many benefits with online welding courses. For the most part, they are the most affordable way to go. While you might be able to get away with a free apprenticeship, you do end up working for the shop for free, which is not always the best route to go.
With any route, you’ll need to get hands-on experience. Online welding courses, like those through Welder 101, can guide you throughout this process, educating you on which gloves, helmets, and welders to buy. You can therefore get your own high-quality gear right away, rather than working with hand-me-down items in someone else’s shop.
Online welding is convenient and you can watch the videos over and over again so that you can learn the ins and outs of the trade. This can be far better than learning in person where your instructor may not show you multiple times how to weld, or it can be hard to get a good view of how that welding technique actually works.
With an online welding course, you can easily fast forward and replay the videos again and again, getting a clearer idea of how the welding technique works.
We think it’s a great idea to commit to online welding courses like those offered by Steve Darnell at Welder 101, which gives lifetime access to each student. You’ll always have access to these videos and the courses and can go back for refreshers at any time. You simply can’t get this much knowledge, and on-demand access, in person or with an apprenticeship.
Advantages of Online Welding Courses
As with any educational course, there are factors that can make online learning more desirable than in person. There are four major benefits of an online welding course:
- Schedule flexibility
- Convenience to learn at home
- Lower cost
- No daily commute to school
With these benefits, you realize that you have a lot of flexibility in how you want to learn. No matter if you’re training to be a professional or hobbyist, you’ll need to purchase your own equipment and get your own setup. If you don’t have a garage or the space to do this, then you can rent out workshop space.
However, know that you can go at your own pace. Online learning and our Welder 101 blogs walk you through the type of equipment that you need to get started. With expert guidance, you don’t have to borrow the equipment from the technical college or be stuck with some basic gear that you won’t be using for long. You can learn slowly over time and start to accumulate the gear that you want and the gear that’s right for your professional niche and space needs.
Welder training requires hands-on learning, so you will want to practice alongside the online course. Luckily, you won’t have someone looking over your shoulder while you work. You can easily watch the online videos and give the technique a try without the pressure of being watched.
If you need to try out different types of welding and you don’t have the gear, you can block out time to visit a welding shop or school with gear you can rent. Eventually, you will need to gain access to these tools, so buy or rent based on what makes the most sense to you at the moment.
As mentioned, online learning is super flexible. So you can go in on weekends, learn on weeknights, or meet up with friends and learn together.
Best Ways to Obtain Professional Welder Training
Of course, online welding is not the only way to learn. There are three main ways to become a professional welder:
- Technical college
- Online welding course
You can work as an apprentice and gather all your knowledge and skills from experienced journeymen. You can also attend a technical college and spend time in classrooms and shop settings learning the ins and outs of the trade. Another great option is to enroll in an online welding course and complete welding training that way.
But which is the best way?
What you choose will ultimately be best for your needs and determined by your budget, availability, and location. However, there are pros and cons to each. For example, with technical college, you will have to go onto campus and you might not have a good technical welding college in your area. If you enroll in a technical college, you’ll have a set schedule to follow and gradually work towards the completion of your training. It might also be more expensive.
The same thing goes for apprenticeship; you may not be able to find a reputable welder in your area willing to train and you may not be able to afford so many unpaid hours.
With a hectic working schedule and the busyness of everyday life, online welding courses make learning welding techniques and knowledge very easy and convenient. By enrolling in an online welding course, you can go at your own speed and create your own schedule.
No matter which route you take, you will only become a professional welder once you can demonstrate your welding skills and knowledge. By demonstrating these things, you confirm that you have the skills and means to produce high-quality work that meets or exceeds the local, state, and national welding standards.
Luckily, it doesn’t matter how you learned your welding skills and knowledge, you just need to be able to show you have them. You can even go as far as proving your skills and knowledge by getting AWS certified. And really, the path you take to become a certified welder is up to you and how quickly you’re hoping to obtain a professional skill set.
Prepare Before Enrolling in an Online Welding Course
Choosing to enroll in an online course, whether it’s to find a career in welding or as a part of another career, is a great decision. It will give you the time, convenience, and ease to learn welding in your own home.
Before you enroll in an online welding course, make sure to ask yourself these questions:
- How much time can I commit to learning welding?
- Do I want to do welding as a career or hobbyist?
- Can I commit to independent learning, building a schedule, and following that schedule consistently?
- Do I have a plan to put the knowledge I’ve learned into practice and develop the hands-on skills I need?
- Am I prepared to source a space for workshop learning?
Having thought through these questions will help you prepare for your online welding course. No matter what your reasoning is, if you want to be a professional or hobbyist, you’re in luck—online welding courses through Welder 101 can provide all this training and more.
Make sure that you do your research to choose the best online school. Consider learning from one of the best, Steve Darnell, through Welder 101 online courses.
Steve Darnell is famed for his success on the Discovery Channel hit series, Vegas Rat Rods, and is the creative genius behind Welder Up, the Las Vegas rat rod and fabrication shop. Now you can learn from the legend himself in his Welder 101 course.
Can You Become A Certified Welder Through An Online Course?
The AWS Certified Welder certificate is the gold standard in professional welding. Welding certification is necessary for commercial and industrial work because the stakes are usually much bigger. Your welding certification demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills to complete your work safely on a job site and won’t put the project or others at risk of getting hurt.
Now, if welding is more of a hobby for you or a side hustle where you do odd jobs and projects from time to time, you can probably get by without one.
But if you want to be a professional welder, then you’ll want to become an AWS Certified Welder. Obtaining this certification can help open up a lot of doors for you and lead to more work. An AWS certification demonstrates that you have completed the proper training and have successfully passed all of the tests.
For good reason, you can’t obtain this certificate solely online. This is because you need to pass a hands-on exam where you can demonstrate the skills and competency needed to be a welder.
It’s a good idea to use virtual welding training online to learn the skills you’ll need for welder certification. You’ll be able to complete all of the knowledge-based learning you need to become a welder and can even get hands-on experience by working in a workshop on your own time.
Learn Welding Online With Steve Darnell and Welder101
If you’re looking to sharpen your welding skills or want to learn some new techniques, consider enrolling in Welder101.
This online learning program includes access to a growing library of articles and training videos. You also get access to a private Facebook group where you can interact with other members, ask questions, and find out about different welding opportunities and projects. And if you need to acquire equipment or build out your shop or welding truck, enrolled members of Welder101 have access to exclusive discounts on some of the best gear in the country!
Welder101 is a great resource for those who are looking to get started with welding as a hobby or for certified welders who want to stay sharp.
If you’re looking to become certified, start by learning through the Welder101 modules and then sourcing a certification program after that. Welder101 is a great resource to learn from and connect with some of the most experienced welders in the industry today.
Don’t wait any longer, enroll today!