How To Become A Pipeline Welder – Step By Step Guide

how to become a pipeline welder

Pipeline welders arrange pipes according to a layout on a blueprint and then they weld those pipes together. These professionals make between $20 and $60 per hour. Experience, time on the job, and length of time with the company dictate the amount of pay a pipeline welder receives.

There are ample opportunities for someone to work in this field. There is a high demand for skilled pipeline welders and there are not currently enough of these skilled professionals to fill all of the available positions.

Pipeline welders are some of the highest-paid welding professionals. They perform jobs that are vital to many industries.

Read more: How to choose a perfect welder for pipeline welding.

What You Need and How to Become A Pipeline Welder

Educational Requirements

Before you can become a pipeline welder you will need to complete your high school education or receive a GED or high school equivalency certificate. You do not have to formally attend college to pursue this career. You do have to have some hands-on training and pass a certification test to work in this field.

You can attend a technical trade school that will teach you the basics about welding and prepares you to pass the certification test. The typical welding training course takes about 7 to 10 months to complete.

The national average cost for a competent welding certification course is around $6,850 dollars. Some training courses cost as much as $20,000 dollars. There is generally an application fee of about $125 dollars.

You will be required to supply a certain amount of books and equipment when you are in school. The books may cost you close to $229 and the equipment may cost between $500 and $1,500 depending on what equipment you are required to have.

What You Need to become a pipeline welder

Common welding tools required for trade school attendance

  • Safety glasses
  • A certified welding helmet with appropriate lenses
  • A wire brush
  • Soapstone
  • MIG pliers

Once you attend a welding training school you have a better chance of being hired as a welder or hired into an apprenticeship program. 

To excel in the course you will have to have good math skills. Learn to read blueprints and mechanical drawings, and you will have to be able to operate a computer because there may come a time when you have to use a computer program-driven piece of machinery to perform your job. Computer skills are vitally important in just about every field of work.


There are scholarships available to help you pay for welding school The scholarship awards vary in monetary amounts from $1,000 to $10,000 dollars. Some students get their entire tuition and supply fees covered by these scholarship amounts.

Check with the school you want to attend to find out what scholarship programs may be available in your area.

The American Welding Society Certification

The American Welding Society (AWS) offers a process of training and certification that does not require you to have taken formal welding courses, or to meet any academic requirements other than the high school diploma or equivalent to a high school diploma.

This process requires that you schedule to take the test, and during the test, you will perform welding tasks that are assigned. An inspector will then check your work and you will be graded on your performance, ability to follow instructions and the quality of the weld you created.

Pipeline welders have a specialized welding test that is harder to pass than the tests given to other welding professionals. The test is very strict and you will have to pass the visual inspection for the appearance of the weld. Then the weld you made will be checked by x-ray to determine its strength and reliability.

If you fail the test you may schedule another test in as little as two weeks. Each test costs between $800 and $1100 dollars. The test money is not refunded if you fail to pass the test.

When you have passed the test and received your certificate you will be required to renew the certificate every two years. The renewal cost is $75 and this renewal must be done before the certificate actually expires. If you allow your certificate to expire you will need to retest and obtain a new certificate.

Physical Requirements

1) Pipeline welding is a physically demanding job. You will work for long hours and most of that time you will be standing on your feet and repeating movements and positions that can strain your muscles.

2) You need excellent and eye coordination skills. 

3) You will also need to have steady hands that do not shake when you hold your arm extended for a prolonged period of time.

You can start to prepare yourself for the physical demands of this job by doing strength training exercises, and by lifting weights. You do not need to be muscle-bound but you do need to have a certain amount of upper body strength, and you need to strengthen your core so you have fewer back pains.


When you have graduated from welding school and have your welding certificate you will probably not immediately be hired by a company as a welder. The majority of companies will hire newly certified applicants as welder-helpers. You will work under the guidance of a seasoned welding professional for a period of time.

The reason for this is that you can learn the welding basics in training courses but you become a true welder after you have been working so you see how different things are applied in real-life episodes. You are going to make mistakes when you first start to weld professionally and you should learn from those mistakes.

Final Step

By having an experienced welder working with you they can keep you from making any mistake that could cause you or someone else to be injured. After you work under an experienced welder for six months or more then companies will evaluate your progress and you can move up to being a full-fledged welder and that promotion will come with an increase in pay.

Last Updated on 2 years by Richard Boyer

  • June 8, 2022
Richard Boyer

Richard Boyer has been a professional welder for over 27 years of his life, and now he is a trainer and blogger providing critical information to anyone interested in welding. He is helping out both hobbyists, novice and professional welders to learn newer and better techniques. Read more about me

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Sahil Khan

Thank you for sharing informative and helpful tips with us.

Gbenga olanipekun

I love this site….love to become be one of a professional welder

    Richard Boyer

    Thank you


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