Does Welder Certification Expire?

Welder certification is a vital document that shows you as a professional and helps welders build trust with their clients, especially the new ones. Since it is such a crucial document, you might wonder, does welder certification expire?

Welding certificates last from 6 months to 3 years, and their length is determined by the type of industry. After the specified period is over, these documents must be renewed. Otherwise, holders must take tests and submit registration forms for the certification afresh.

Welders should  renew their certifications on time, which helps them avoid penalties associated with late renewals. Unlike before, the renewal process has been automated, allowing holders to complete the process at their convenience. Welders get notified of the upcoming renewals and can book online to avoid the shortcomings of going to physical offices.

Bodies that Issue Welder Certifications

I will talk about several bodies that issue welder certifications so you can understand the type of industries they deal with and how long their certifications last. Then, when a welder presents you with a certification from any of these bodies, you can tell whether they are real or not. So, what are some of the bodies that issue welder certifications?

  1. The American Welding Society (AWS)

The certification body offers eleven types of certifications to its members. These are valid for six months, after which they should be renewed. Certifications offered by the AWS include:

  • Certified Welder
  • Certified Associate Welding Inspector
  • Certified Welding Inspector
  • Certified Welding Educator Program
  • Senior Certified Welding Inspector
  • Certified Resistant Welding Technician
  • Certified Radiographic Interpreter
  • Certified Welding Supervisor
  • Certified Welding Sales Representative
  • Certified Welding Engineer
  • Certified Robotic ARC Welding

The non-profit organization carries rigorous tests to its members before issuing these certifications. Due to their strict test procedures, welders having certifications from this body are highly regarded. 

  1. American Petroleum Institute (API)

The body focuses on the natural gas and oil industry in the US. Its certifications expire after 3 years, and when the holder misses renewal dates, some fees are charged, and a test exam is taken. Some of the certifications provided by API include:

  • Pressure Vessel Inspector
  • Piping Inspector
  • Welding Inspection and Metallurgy
  • Risk Base Inspection, and many others
  1. Employer Certifications

Individual companies issue these after subjecting welders to job-specific tests. Often, these certifications last for 6 months and bear the company logo and seal for authenticity. When an employee passes the test, they are issued the employer certificate, which they use during their contract with the employer.

If this is the only certification they have, they can use it for hunting for jobs if it has been documented and the contract with the previous employer has expired. As long as the certification is valid, it can work in the employee’s favor as they think about getting one from a recognized body.

If the Welder Certification Expires, is it Worth Registering?

Having a welder certification is one of the best investments a welder can make. Unlike in the early days, consumers are more informed. Still, unskilled contractors take advantage of the demand and pose as professionals, only to create damages since they are unqualified. 

Considering the renewal fees, they are reasonable, and most welders can afford them. The tests involved during the renewal are sure to ensure you are the certificate’s owner and keep you on toes about the industry updates.

A welder certification helps you outshine other candidates when hunting for a job. Job applications are always competitive, and employers always look for unique qualities to determine the candidates they want to interview. Welder certification is a sign that you are a qualified and serious professional.

A welder certification also helps you create networks that can be valuable to your career development. It is easy to connect with people bearing certification from the same body as you. When you meet with such people, you can easily exchange contacts, build rapport and keep each other updated about career progress and available opportunities.

After landing a job, a welder certificate can help you negotiate better pay. Since you have proof of your professional skills, you can reach your employer requesting them to give you a salary raise after spending some time in the company. Most employers do not deny such requests, and some raise the pay without waiting for requests from the employees because they feel they are worth it.

Are there Limitations for Becoming a Certified Welder?

Welding is often hands-on, and most employers want to be sure you can produce welds that meet the certifying body’s standards. Not everyone can do welding, which is why it is referred to as a talent-based career. To get a certification from the licensing bodies, your performance is tested, and it determines whether you qualify for a certification or not.

It is easy to feel intimated when you do not have the highest educational qualifications. Employers focus on what skills you bring as a welder in the building and construction industry since it is a practical sector. Usually, the minimum qualification is the high school diploma, but provided you have passed and received a welder certification, there is no limit for where you can work.

Often, welders must have at least 1 year of experience to enroll in a certification program. The programs are open to all talented welders, and once certified, you can decide to work as an independent contractor or as a company employee. 

If you have no hands-on experience, it can be challenging to be allowed into industry-specific certifications. Consider starting as an apprentice in a company, and do not be shy to take junior positions when starting. This helps get a step closer to becoming a certified welder.

Certifications are offered from standard to advanced and complex ones. While applying, welders should be sure about the type of certification they want to avoid failing the tests. If you are an experienced welder with many years and considerable skills, registering for an advanced certification is a brilliant move.

Some welders fail their tests because they apply for the wrong certifications. I recommend asking other experienced welders that have undertaken the tests to help you choose the most relevant for your skillset and experience.

Are you considering registering for a welder certification? Firstly, identify the most relevant certification to help you become more marketable. I hope this article will help you understand different licensing bodies, certifications offered and their validity.

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