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DOT Welding Certification

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The federal Department of Transportation sets the rules, standards and guidelines for welding, which each state DOT interprets and enforces for welders working in the transportation sector. In the interest of public safety, welders must pass a DOT welding test to be certified on the specific type of weld that will be used on transportation projects, such as building or repairing steel bridges around the state. Testing and certification help ensure that welding jobs are done correctly to avoid a calamity, such as a bridge collapse that could occur if welds are not completed to engineering and DOT specifications. Contact your state DOT office for information on the type of certification currently required for work in your region.

Meet Education Requirements

A high school diploma or GED/TASC is the minimum educational requirement to be hired by companies that perform work on projects for the Department of Transportation. Many employers will provide on-the-job training, but high school or vocational welding training is advantageous because welding is a difficult and demanding job. Classes in basic welding, shop mathematics, blueprint reading and metallurgy can be very helpful. You may also wish to consider attending a welding school that will introduce you to the trade and prepare you for DOT certification.

The Modern Welding School offers basic to advanced welding certification programs and prepares students to take DOT welding tests. The New York State DOT lists MWS as an approved site for DOT welder certification testing, so MWS students can take their test right there after completing their training. The cost to take the New York state DOT welding test is $150. Certification tests for stainless steel and aluminum welding may cost more.

Practice for DOT Welding Test

Practicing for the specific type of DOT welding test you plan to take is very important. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 100 different types of welding processes that welders may use that depend on the metals involved, thickness, position and weather conditions. To prepare for your test, observe experts, practice welds, and ask for feedback on your work to gain the skills and confidence to successfully pass the DOT welding test.

Pass a DOT Welding Test

Your state DOT website will likely have a checklist to follow for testing if you feel you’re ready to take a DOT welding test. Generally, you must sign up at a DOT-approved testing site and pay a fee. If you failed a previous DOT welding test, you will need a signed letter from a state-certified welding inspector documenting that you completed 50 hours of additional training before attempting the DOT welding test again. Without a letter, you will be required to pass two tests, not just one.

You will likely need to bring your own equipment with you to perform a DOT welding test on a small piece of metal called a test coupon. You should bring your protective eyewear, leather gloves, wire brush, wire wheel, weld shield and a chipping hammer. Your work will be subject to inspection by X-ray and approval by the state DOT representative at the test site.

Land DOT Welding Jobs

After you pass the test, you will be certified for a particular region, type of weld and thickness. You name and certification number will be placed on the official list of state DOT welders eligible to work on transportation projects. Job d_emand_ for welders qualified to work on street, bridge and highway construction projects in the transportation industry will increase almost 16 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experienced welders with multiple certifications also can find exciting jobs in auto manufacturing, industry, aerospace, refineries, communications and power line construction.-


Dr. Mary Dowd brings decades of hands-on experience to her writing endeavors. Along with general knowledge of human resources, she has specialized training in affirmative action, investigations and equal opportunity. While working as a dean of students, she advised college students on emerging career trends and job seeking strategies. As director of equal opportunity, she led efforts to diversify the workforce and the student body.