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A pipe welder is a specific type of professional who welds various types of piping, often in settings such as sewers, gas lines, plumbing pipes, and other applications. The steps you will need to take to become a pipe welder will be similar to the steps you will take to become any other type of welder, though you will need specific training in pipe-welding, which is usually acquired through an apprenticeship. Before you can become a pipe welder, you will usually need to graduate from high school and develop basic math and communication skills.
Once you graduate from high school, the next step that will allow you to be a pipe welder is to take a community or technical college certification course that will teach you the basic theories behind welding. Such coursework will take place in a classroom, and you will need to pass these courses in order to become a pipe welder. You may also be able to enroll in courses that will teach you the basic skills necessary to be a pipe welder by allowing you to practice your welding skills in a supervised and controlled environment. If you have the means to do so, it is a good idea to buy your own welder so you can practice your welding skills at home.
After you receive some basic welder training, you will need to enroll in an apprenticeship program that will allow you to become a pipe welder. Apprenticeships are offered by local welder's unions if they exist in your area, as well as from private companies. The duration of a welding apprenticeship can last anywhere from one to five years, during which time you will work under the direct guidance and supervision of an experienced pipe welder. Your duties will be fairly basic at first, and you will be able to do more and more welding as your apprenticeship progresses. You will earn money as you work as an apprentice, though not as much money as a full-time pipe welder.
During your apprenticeship, you will probably need to earn certain licenses and certifications that will qualify you to become a pipe welder. These certifications may require that you study for and pass an exam that will include both a written section and a practical section in which you will need to demonstrate your welding abilities. Sometimes these certifications will need to be renewed throughout the course of your welding career as well.
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