PLEASE, just tell me! What's the best certification you can have? I get that question all the time. Really that just shows ignorance... I hate to say. Here is the problem when you try to say which certification is best. If you are welding structural steel... plate, beams, rectangular tube etc., then you are not welding pipe... The 6g pipe cert might be accepted, but it's becoming more and more by the letter of the law out there. So don't count on it. Okay, now what? Well, you need an AWS D1.1 (all position, unlimited thickness, vertical up and overhead, butt joint with a backing strip) THE PROBLEM ONLY GROWS. We have to assume (if he passes the test) that the AVERAGE GUY doesn't have $250 to pay for the cert in the first place, and he certainly doesn't have $250 x 10 different certifications all at once. For sure, passing 10 different certifications would be a major undertaking.... Imagine the possibilities: Stick, TIG, MIG, Flux Core, etc. TIMES the number of metal alloys TIMES the number of joint types TIMES the number of positions (just 4 ea would be 4x4x4x4=256 different certs at a cost of $64,000) So let's just get to the bottom line here.
1. Get the D1.1 plate cert qualifying you for all positions, any thickness, most joint types.
2. Next get the 6g pipe cert, all position, unlimited thickness.
3. Flux Core
4. Aluminum TIG or Stainless TIG
5. any cert that gets you on the job, like a rebar cert, sheet metal, deck puddle weld cert, stud gun cert. etc.
Certifications can also be based on different welding standards (AWS, ASME, API)
see List of welding codes