AWS Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum


By Ramesh Shankaran, Regional Director, International Certification & Accreditation Services -Asia, Africa & Oceania for the American Welding Society

“A well-defined curriculum is the most important ingredient of a learning ecosystem.” 

What is a Learning Ecosystem? 

A learning ecosystem can be defined as an end-to-end approach to education which involves physical and virtual learning which motivates the learner to acquire the desired knowledge and fuel intellectual progress within and outside an organization. 

The key elements of a learning ecosystem include people, process, content, technology, strategy, and execution. It’s important for a learner to be a part of a robust learning ecosystem to learn well, network, and build on the skill sets required. A well-defined curriculum is key to the success of an individual’s or learners or organizations success as they are interlinked and depend on each other. 

American Welding Society’s Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum was conceived and developed with several factors which includes feedback from instructors, cost, existing materials available, a curriculum which will offer more uniform Instructions and more importantly which will contribute to the AWS Mission “to advance the science, technology, and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes worldwide, including brazing, soldering, and thermal spraying”.

The components of the Curriculum falls into three categories: Print Materials, Digital Content, and Instructors Resources. 

Print Resources: 

  • Fundamentals of Welding Textbook: 12 Chapters 
  • Fundamentals of Welding Lab Manual: 100+ Welding and Cutting Lab Activities 
  • 12 Classroom poster sets: 8 Informational & 4 Decorative 

 Fundamentals of Welding textbook: 12 Chapters

  1. Introduction to Welding 
  2. Welding Safety 
  3. Joint Design and Welding Symbols 
  4. Shield Metal Arc Welding 
  5. Gas Metal Arc Welding 
  6. Flux-cored Arc Welding 
  7. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding 
  8. Oxyfuel Gas Cutting 
  9. Plasma Arc Cutting 
  10. Air carbon Arc Cutting 
  11. Discontinuities 
  12. Visual Inspection 

Fundamentals of Welding Lab Manual


Softcover, spiral-bound, perforated pages

Approx. 100 welding and cutting lab activities.

Aligned with KIs from EG2.0. Activities cover everything from basic safety inspections and equipment setup to the creation of full weldments and workmanship qualification testing.

12 Classroom poster sets: 8 Informational & 4 Decorative 

Digital Content: 

74 E-learning Modules 

18 Instructional Video’s 

Digital Material: 74 online modules and 18 instructional videos
Subject Specifications  No of Modules  Specifications  No of Video’s 
Curriculum Orientation  1 SMAW 3
Introduction to Welding 1 GMAW 3
Welding Safety  9 FCAW 3
Welding Symbols & Joint Design  32 GTAW 3
Welding Processes 16 OFC 2
Thermal Cutting Processes 12 PAC 2
Discontinuities 2 CAC-A 2
Visual Inspection  1 Total  18
Total  74    

74 E-learning Modules covering the following Subject areas: 

  • Orientation
  • Safety
  • Joint Design/Welding Symbols
  • Shield Metal Arc Welding
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding
  • Flux-cored Arc Welding
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
  • Oxyfuel Gas Cutting 
  • Plasma Arc Cutting
  • Air carbon Arc Cutting 
  • Visual Inspection

Each module includes a pre and post quiz, as well as interactive elements. For example, the modules that cover Joint Design & Welding Symbols include portions that require students to construct welding symbols according to a written description. 

Other examples include: A SMAW module that requires students to switch polarity settings for different electrodes, and an OFC module that gives students an assortment of values and terms that they must use to create an accurate table of flame types and characteristics. 

Instructional Videos

18 videos covering 4 welding and 3 cutting processes.

Instructor Resources

  • 100+ detailed lesson plans 
  • 12 extensive PowerPoint slide decks 
  • A compendium of Health and Safety Fact Sheets for Welding Education
  • Standards and supplemental documents (SWPSs, ANSI Z49.1, student assessment checklists)

Total Contact Hours: 580 (approx.)

Key Benefits: 

Affordable: Covering minimum of 25 Participants, the Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum’s over all pricing works out to be much affordable and can be made available in Regional Price options (for eg: Available in INR Pricing) 

Applicable: The curriculum includes the full spectrum of foundational welding skills designed to educate in both corporate and academic settings. Technical Universities or Autonomous Institutions can include this curriculum as a part of the regular course offerings and corporate sector can use this curriculum as a refresher course or bridge course for newly recruited candidates before placing them on a particular project. 

Flexible: Course materials are engineered to suit both in-person and virtual environments.

Multimedia Content: Textbooks, manuals, e-learning modules, instructional videos — an array of content ensures you can customize teaching methods to the learning style of your class. 

Pathway to Success: Our comprehensive approach to learning doesn’t just clear the path to welder certification — it provides a map of career choices after qualifying.

Trusted Sources: Relied on by thousands and assembled by top professionals and educational specialists, AWS course content is value tested and expert designed.

Curriculum Integration into regular teaching and grading: 

Hosted on a Moodle learning management system (LMS), the AWS Learning platform gives students individual accounts that provide access to online modules, assignments, and multimedia content. Instructors can review student progress and make adjustments for each depending on how they’re handling the content. The AWS Learning platform has built-in grade books that track grades as well as attempt details like time of access, duration, and answer choices.


Put together by industry experts and education professionals, the Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum meets AWS SENSE and is designed to meet the needs of students and instructors. See the video for further details.


Curriculum for Quality Welding Education

SENSE is a comprehensive set of minimum standards and guidelines established by AWS for welding educators to follow when developing their welding training curriculum. While comprehensive, these standards are also flexible enough that almost any welding program will be readily able to implement them.

How SENSE Works

SENSE programming is modular, with instructors and administrators determining the best methods to review the content with their students. After Key Indicators for a module have been reviewed, instructors administer the AWS-developed multiple-choice test* and (as applicable) a performance evaluation in the process(es) (SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, or FCAW) they are covering.

SENSE Level Level I Level II
Programming Direction Entry Level Welders Advanced Level Welders
Students can earn up to four certificates, one for each completed process. Students can earn up to 10 certificates, one for each completed process.
Topics covered include: Topics covered include:
Safety & Health of Welders Trade Math
Drawing & Welding Symbol Interpretation Welding Metallurgy
Thermal Cutting Processes: OFC, PAC, CAC-A, & Mechanized OFC Welding Inspection & Testing Methods
Welding Processes: SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, & GTAW Documents Governing Welding & Welding Inspection
  Thermal Cutting Processes
  Plate Welding Processes: SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, & GTAW
  Pipe Welding Processes: SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, & GTAW
  Welding Fabrication
Standard for SENSE Educational Programming QC10: Specification for Qualification and Certification of SENSE Level I – Entry Welders QC11: Specification for Qualification and Certification of SENSE Level II – Advanced Welders
Standard for SENSE Instructors EG2.0: Guide for the Training of Welding Personnel: SENSE Level I – Entry Welders EG3.0: Guide for Training of Welding Personnel: SENSE Level II – Advanced Welders
Standard for SENSE Testing Procedures EG2.0 Supplement: Supplement SENSE Level I – Entry Welder Training Performance Testing Procedures EG3.0 Supplement: Supplement SENSE Level II – Advanced Welder Training Performance Testing Procedures

*Practical knowledge exams for Level I may be administered via SENSE Online or in paper format. 

Level II practical knowledge exams are currently available only in paper format.

After successfully completing SENSE-designed coursework, students will be listed in the SENSE Training Database and receive an AWS SENSE Certificate of Completion. Each then earns a wallet card containing both their information and the process module(s) (SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, or FCAW) they completed. In addition, students can download their credentials via SENSE Online (Level I only).


  • Introduction and Implementation of this curriculum will not only make learning effective and engaging for aspirants but also bridge the shortage of skilled manpower, which is the requirement of the day.  
  • These solutions enable faculties to teach and individuals to learn from anywhere, reaching even the remotest corners of the country. 
  • The solution comes with variety of features like Learning Management Systems, hybrid or blended offering possibilities, video content, e-learning modules, Instructor Resources, Lab activities etc. and offers an unparalleled user experience and fosters co-learning and collaboration.
  • Institutions of different types (Higher Education, Technical Education or Vocational Education) can offer this course as open elective under the NEP 2020 requirements or integrate this as a core paper in Mechanical Sciences which will enable students for opting Welding as a new focused domain and contribute to the Human Resource requirement of opportunities arising from the Make in India initiative, Government of India. 
  • The corporate sector can use this curriculum as a refresher course or bridge course for newly recruited candidates before placing them on a particular project. 

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