Should You Take an Online Course on How to Weld or Get Practical Experience?

welding weld

Welding is a great skill to learn, whether you are want to use it for creative, practical or future employment purposes. There are plenty of people looking to incorporate welding techniques into their art work, or wanting to save cash and do minor car bodywork fixes themselves.

Plus of course there are many more keen to explore the possibility of welding as a career.

Options for learning more

There are two main routes into the welding industry. The first is via a formal apprenticeship which involves a combination of classroom learning and practical training, both either delivered or supervised by experienced trainers or welders, while the second is based around book learning, with the longer term goal of becoming a trainee in an established business.  

Less common is a scenario where someone manages their own learning, perhaps though hobby welding classes and informal tinkering at home, or perhaps by seeking casual training from a contact with experience in welding who is willing to tutor them.

It’s impossible to say that any particular route is better than another, as was already mentioned, it really depends what the ultimate goal of learning is. However, it seems unrealistic that anyone could make much genuine or worthwhile progress in welding if their learning is confined to paper knowledge alone.

The benefits of online welding courses

Welding is, by its very nature, a hands-on activity; so on a surface level it seems unlikely that anything of any practical future use could be achieved by learning how to do it through an online course.

On the other hand digital study is a great way to understand the basic principles of welding, health and safety, how welding equipment works and so on. This is a great grounding, and means you are better prepared when the opportunity to gain practical experience comes up.

Is gaining practical experience more useful?

In some circumstances it would prove a definite advantage, for example when applying for traineeships, but rather like the chicken and egg puzzle it is difficult, and often unwise, to get hands-on welding experience without at least a basic understanding of how things work.

Of course this could be gained from self study through books or free online videos, but an organized and professional online course is still a safer option as the information shared will definitely be both accurate and up to date.

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The compromise

The most sensible solution would be to combine the two, either by enrolling in an online course and arranging your own opportunities to practice, or by joining a vocational City & Guilds program, such as the Level 2 Certificate in Fabrication and Welding Practice (QCF).

This offers comprehensive courses which are studied online, along with organized practical training designed to put the learning into practice. These are generally very reasonably priced, and open to all ages.

But if you’re new to welding and want to learn more then an introductory article may be best for you right now – for example, the ultimate welding guide on CromWeld.com.

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