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4 Best Welding Curriculum Options for High School

January 26th, 2022 | 9 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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Welding is a versatile and in-demand career with applications in many career clusters and pathways. As a high school welding teacher, it's important to find the right curriculum to ensure your students have the skills they need to succeed. After all, the wrong curriculum could leave them without the fundamental knowledge essential to work in the field.

In this post, you'll find four of the best welding curriculum options for high school:

  1. Welding Training System Curriculum from Lincoln Electric
  2. Welding Curriculum from the American Welding Society
  3. Welding Principles and Applications from Cengage
  4. Modern Welding from G-W Publishers

After reading, you'll have a better idea of the welding textbooks and resources available so you can decide what's most appropriate for your learners.

1. Welding Training System Curriculum from Lincoln Electric lincoln-electric-welding-curriculum

Lincoln Electric is a nationally-known company that sells welding equipment, automation tools, and personal protective equipment. With over 125 years of experience, they're one of the oldest and most respected companies in the industry.

To help prepare the next generation of welders, Lincoln Electric offers education and training programs to students at all levels. For CTE, their Welding Training Systems Curriculum helps ensure students learn the fundamentals of welding so they can pursue careers in the field.

One of the unique features of the Lincoln Electric curriculum is the use of the company's VRTEX virtual reality welding trainers, which allow students to learn basic welding techniques before ever picking up a welding torch. The curriculum also trains students on REALWELD training systems for more specialized CNC plasma cutting and robotic welding.

In addition to these welding trainers, Lincoln Electric offers a comprehensive curriculum appropriate for high school CTE students. Through their U/LINC digital subscription, instructors and students gain access to:

  • 1500 curriculum resources and support materials
  • Alignment with ACS, national, and state standards for welding
  • A full curriculum and learning management system
  • Instructional support for teachers at every grade level

Along with these digital resources, Lincoln Electric offers printed instructional manuals and workbooks for SMAW, GMAW, VRTEX, REALWELD, and robotic welding.

How Much Does This Welding Curriculum Cost, and Who Is it For?

Lincoln Electric offers comprehensive resources to support various welding techniques and standards. Because they provide both printed and digital resources, teachers have options when using the curriculum with their students. However, the most significant difference between Lincoln Electric and other curriculum providers is their VRTEX and REALWELD trainers.

To get the most out of the curriculum system, you'll have to invest in at least one of these products. Welding trainers are extremely expensive, ranging from $32,000 to $75,000 for a VRTEX trainer. REALWELD trainers can be customized with additional parts but start around $62,000. The cost of Lincoln Electric's curriculum library and workbooks are in addition to the equipment.

Ultimately, the Lincoln Electric curriculum system represents a very large financial investment for any CTE program. Schools that are able to afford the equipment can create a state-of-the-art welding program, but this curriculum isn't the best choice for programs without substantial financial resources or that have already invested in other welding trainers and equipment.

2. Welding Curriculum from the American Welding Society


The American Welding Society (AWS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1919 to improve and advance welding as a career worldwide. In addition to facilitating support for professional welders, the organization sets nationally-accepted standards for welding education and provides certifications in welding techniques.

AWS also provides curriculum resources for high schools and technical programs to train future welders. The Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum is an extensive package of teaching materials designed with the aid of industry professionals and educators. 

This curriculum aligns with the AWS SENSE (Schools Excelling through National Skills Standards Education) program. SENSE is a set of standards created in 1993 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

With the AWS curriculum, teachers receive access to:

  • The 12-chapter Fundamentals of Welding textbook
  • Fundamentals of Welding lab manual
  • Classroom posters
  • 74 eLearning modules
  • 18 instructional posters

Instructors can adapt the Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum—which includes both text and multimedia content—for in-person and remote learning.

How Much Does This Welding Curriculum Cost, and Who Is it For?

Overall, the American Welding Society offers high-quality instructional resources that will prepare students for certification and successful careers in welding. Because the resources include both text and multimedia materials, students can interact with content in various ways as they develop career knowledge and skills.

AWS presents itself as a more affordable curriculum provider and costs $3250 for 25 students, with an extra charge for each additional student. 

However, an important point to consider is that the Fundamentals of Welding Curriculum doesn't include welding equipment or training systems. If you adopt the AWS resources, you'll need to rely on your existing trainers and equipment or purchase them separately.

Ultimately, AWS is a great choice if you'd like to adopt a multimedia-based curriculum that you can use with your existing welding education and training equipment. New programs could benefit from a package that already includes trainers.

3. Welding: Principles and Applications from Cengagewelding-principles-applications-jeffus

A solid textbook can often provide the knowledge students need to succeed in technical careers. Welding: Principles and Applications by Larry Jeffus is a reputable text designed to prepare students for work as professional welders. Published by Cengage, the book is now in its ninth edition and was most recently updated in 2021.

Welding: Principles and Applications is intended to prepare students for the AWS SENSE Level I and Level II programs and professional certification.

The 960-page book is divided into 32 chapters within these six sections:

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • 3. Cutting and Gouging
  • 4. Gas Shielded Welding
  • 5. Related Technologies
  • 6. Oxyfuel Processes

The book also includes ten appendices with additional information. Students can use the companion study guide when learning welding techniques.

How Much Does This Welding Textbook Cost, and Who Is it For?

On the whole, Welding Principles and Applications is a solid textbook from an experienced publisher. Its coverage of welding best practices and techniques is comprehensive and aligns with American Welding Society standards. When used in conjunction with the study guide, it's adaptable for most CTE welding programs.

This book costs $209 for a hardcover copy, while the study guide is priced at $123. This could be costly depending on how many copies you need for your classroom. Additionally, you should consider whether each student will need a new study guide and factor that into the cost. 

Welding instructors who prefer a traditional, text-based resource will do well with Welding Principles and Applications. However, it's important to remember that all textbooks eventually become outdated. In addition, these resources don't include welding training equipment your students will need to prepare for certification.

4. Modern Welding from G-W Publishersmodern-welding-bowditch

Since welding is an evolving profession, your students must learn the latest techniques to be successful on certifications and in their careers. Introducing students to these skills is the focus of Modern Welding, a textbook from Goodhart-Willcox Publishers. Written by William A. Bowditch, Kevin E. Bowditch, and Mark A. Bowditch, the 12th edition of Modern Welding was published in 2020.

Unlike other textbooks, Modern Welding covers techniques appropriate for an advanced welding class and is designed for students in grade 12 and beyond. This narrower focus means the text goes into more depth with higher-level techniques students will use when working as professional welders. It's also aligned with the AWS SENSE Level I and II certifications.

This 906-page textbook includes 34 chapters across ten sections:

  • 1. Welding Fundamentals
  • 2. Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • 3. Gas Metal and Flux Cored Arc Welding
  • 4. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
  • 5. Plasma Arc Welding
  • 6. Oxyfuel Gas Processes
  • 7. Resistance Welding
  • 8. Special Processes
  • 9. Metal Technology
  • 10. Professional Welding

Instructors who want to take a closer look at the textbook can read sample chapters on the Goodhart-Willcox Publishers website.

How Much Does This Welding Textbook Cost, and Who Is it For?

Educators who want to use a textbook to teach welding techniques will do well to use the G-W Publishers text, which is comprehensive, standards-aligned, and has a companion workbook.

The textbook is listed for $160 and the workbook for $40, but you can save $10 by purchasing both together. This makes Modern Welding less expensive than other CTE curriculum options for welding.

Teachers should keep in mind that you can use this particular book for multiple welding classes, which can decrease the overall expense of adopting the text. However, it was last updated in 2020 and, like all printed materials, will continue to become less current over time.

Adopt a Standards-Aligned Welding Curriculum for Your CTE Program 

As a high school welding instructor, you know that the right teaching materials can make all the difference between students learning the skills they need and falling behind.

Depending on whether you prefer a traditional textbook or a digital curriculum, any of the options in this article could be what your students need to learn fundamental welding practices and techniques and successfully seek employment as a professional welder.

But if you're looking for a standards-aligned curriculum that includes both basic and advanced welding classes, consider the comprehensive CTE curriculum from iCEV.

With iCEV, you'll receive access to prebuilt, fully customizable courses, including Introduction to Welding, Welding I, and Welding II. Visit the curriculum page to discover if iCEV is right for you.

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