How Much Does Welding School Cost?

One of the biggest barriers to education can be cost. And even though a program like welding school will often provide a career-building education at a comparatively low price, the need to make that initial investment can still be daunting.

So, how much does welding school cost, and what are some options for how to pay for it? Below, we have a breakdown of paying for your welding program.

Welding school cost

At most welding trade school programs in California, tuition, fees, study materials, and equipment costs are usually about $3,500. Meanwhile, students who choose to take community college courses might pay anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000. Tuition for an associate’s degree welding program may be as much as $55,000.

There are a few other things you’ll want to consider besides just the cost of the program, though. In addition to tuition, you may find that you also need to pay for additional tools and books, as well as certification tests following the completion of your program:

  • Welding tools and safety equipment can cost between $500–$1,500.
  • Certification tests may or may not be included in your tuition and can cost between $300–$550 per test.

Finally, there’s a third cost you’ll want to consider, even though it won’t be used in your welding school — living expenses.

Though welding programs on average take less than two years to complete (with some schools even offering seven-month programs), you still may be faced with reduced income while undergoing training.

If that’s the case, you’ll want to be sure you have enough money saved up to cover expenses such rent, utilities, groceries, or transportation.

Financial Aid Options

The two major types of financial aid available include government-funded grants (such as the Pell Grant), or student loans. Keep in mind, that grants do not need to be repaid, but student loans do.

Some local welding trade schools have their own funds that can be applied for, whether it’s a scholarship, grant, or loan. There are also state government and federal government grants and scholarships to help out those who meet the requirements.


For many, grants are the most desirable option, because they don’t require repayment. Some options are the Pell Grant, the Welding Workforce Grant, along with sectional scholarships provided by the American Welding Society. For more information, you can visit the American Welding Society’s grant information page.


While student loans help cover the costs of school, they must be repaid over a designated period of time, usually with interest. Student loans are typically offered at a lower rate than the market, so the payback isn’t as intimidating.

They do not reduce the costs of schooling overall; they just help with the immediate payments due. The federal government offers student loans, as well as many private loan providers.

Merit Scholarships

Merit scholarships are awarded based on exceptional work or achievements. Merit scholarships are usually given to people who have had high academic or extracurricular success, but it is not the case in every scholarship. These scholarships can be competitive, so check the requirements to see if you are qualified to enter.

Scholarships Specific to Welding School

There are welding-specific scholarships available to you from companies and organizations like John Deere and the American Welding Society (AWS). If you want a list of scholarships you can apply for, check out this article for a list of welding-specific scholarships.

Finding Help

Not all trade schools qualify for government financial aid, so make certain to discuss viable options with the financial aid officer at your school of choice. Your school’s financial aid officer should be able to point you in the right direction.

While the cost of schooling can seem daunting, students should remember that financial aid, whether in the form of a grant, scholarship, or loan, can be greatly beneficial. Schooling is an important step in beginning your journey as a welder, and students should feel encouraged to know that financial assistance is available.