Welding Technology (WELD)

Welding Class

The Welding Technology program at Green River College offers you training in multiple welding styles, in preparation for immediate employment in this diverse field. Job placement of graduates from this program is excellent.

Welders join pieces of metal by placing them close together, heating them until the metal flows, and fuses to form a cohesive bond. They control this joining process by concentrating the heat from a gas torch or electric arc and by using metal rods to supply extra metal. Welders must wear protective clothing, shoes, hoods, and goggles to prevent burns.

The AAS degree is designed to train the student for employment in the welding field as a structural steel detailer, trade welder, engineering aide and sales engineer, as well as for rapid advancement to inspection, shop planning, supervision or one of the many related fields.

The Trade Welder program is designed to train a student in the shortest time possible to reach the level of proficiency required to pass the American Welding Society or the Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) tests. An individual working in the metal fabrication field may also enter this program to acquire skills and gain experience with various specialized welding processes available to Green River College.

Areas of employment

  • Construction companies
  • Machine shops
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Marine welding companies
  • Metal art sculpturing
  • Metal products firms
  • Railroads
  • Repair shops
  • Schools
  • Self-employment
  • Shipyards
  • Steel companies
  • Trucking companies
  • Welding firms
  • Transportation equipment companies

You may find work as a/an:

  • Apprentice welder
  • Arc welder
  • Assembler welder
  • Combination welder
  • Experimental welder
  • Gas welder
  • Gas welder
  • Inspector
  • Instructor
  • Ironworker
  • Pipe fitter
  • Repair welder
  • Ship repairer
  • Welder
  • Welder fitter

When can new students enroll?

Students may enter the Welding Technology program at the beginning of any quarter or after they have met with the instructor regarding entry-level skills.


A consultation with the welding department faculty is required before admission to the program.

A high school diploma or GED® is highly recommended.

A recent general math class is recommended.


If English is not your native language, you must meet with an instructor or an advisor.

How long does the program take?

It depends on you. If you attend Green River full time, you can complete the Associate in Applied Science degree in two years. If you attend part time, it will depend on how many credits per quarter you complete.

The program can be completed by taking evening classes. However, it will take longer than two years to earn the AAS degree.

Special fees

Additional expenses include tools and safety gear (leathers, hood, etc.). Approximate total cost over the two-year period is $200. This amount is split into individual quarters.

What will contribute to success in the program?

You should have average manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination, be in relatively good physical condition and have good eyesight.

Special Program Notes

To become certified in one or many areas of welding, you will need to pass a test through the Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO). This test can be taken through the college. It consists of a written exam and hands-on welding procedures. A $40 fee is paid to the state.

Does the program transfer to four-year schools?

With the proper selection of classes, you may continue your education to become a welding engineer. However, the program is designed to train welders for immediate employment.

Employment outlook/Salary Range

Job placement of graduates from Green River’s Welding Technology program is excellent. At this time, more positions are available than we have students to refer. The Student Employment Office maintains contact with construction firms, wood products industries, and metal fabrications firms needing to hire trained welders. The staff also helps students write resumes and develop interviewing skills.

There is a definite demand for women in the welding industry.

Salary range

The starting salary range for welders varies according to demand in the economy. Currently, Median Welder 1 wages average about $36,422/year or around $17.50/hour.