50-State Construction Licensing Compliance Guide
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Guide Contents

Welding License

As a licensed welder, you create, design, repair and build anything made of metal. Learn how to obtain and maintain a welding license.

How to Operate a Welding Business

Welders are trained and skilled artisans specializing in joining pieces or sheets of metal together. They work with different types of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and steel. To operate a business, welders must obtain state-required licenses.

However, before obtaining state licensure to become a licensed welder, you will need to complete a number of courses and examinations and receive a welder certification. You will likely start by taking a written test to obtain an American Welding Society (AWS) certification. The written exam is followed by a practical AWS welder performance qualification exam. Once you have successfully passed both tests, you can submit a completed Certified Welder Application for certification. This certification gives you the ability to apply for a welding license.

Licensure and Business Registration

The process of registering your business will depend on your state's requirements. In general, you will go through the following steps:

  • Research your state's business registration and licensing requirements.
  • Choose your business name and entity structure.
  • Obtain a federal tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service and register with the Secretary of State.
  • Obtain necessary types of insurance, including general liability, commercial auto, and workers' compensation.
  • Research license and registration renewal requirements to keep your business compliant.

Licensing requirements for welding companies vary by state. It is essential to verify the process in your state to ensure you are prepared every step of the way. You will likely need to gather all relevant documentation, including financial statements, proof of a commercial activity license, a business plan, etc. You will also need to appoint a registered agent to receive notices of lawsuits and other legal or government notices.

After your license has been issued, you will receive a notice to pay any related balances. If the application is not approved, you will receive notification regarding what is missing or required.

Meeting the welding license requirements is not always an easy process. Fortunately, the Harbor Compliance License Manager helps firms maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks such as tracking renewals. Through License Manager, you can also access LicenseIQ™ - our extensive licensing database - to research the requirements in the states where you operate.


As with any other construction-related field, welding is inherently dangerous. To protect your business, it is essential to have a risk management plan in the form of insurance. Proof of insurance is also often required when applying for licensing. The most common insurance policies welding companies adopt include the following:

  • General liability insurance covers bodily injury, care, custody, control coverage, and errors and omissions endorsement.
  • Automobile liability insurance insures property damage and bodily injury.
  • Workers' compensation covers bodily injury within the scope and course of employment.
  • Umbrella liability is an in-house binding authority that combines the above policies for up to $10,000,000.
  • A crime policy protects business assets in the event of criminal activity.

What is best for your business depends on your location and your services. Contact an insurance specialist to learn about your options.

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Maintaining and Renewing Licensure as a Welder

No matter what stage you are in with your business, you need to maintain your individual welding licenses as well. State requirements vary, but individual renewals are often required annually or biennially. You may need to submit a renewal application, pay a renewal fee, or pursue continuing education. Complying with renewal requirements will ensure you can continue to operate your business without disruption.

Keeping on track with your business' license renewals can be complicated, especially as a growing company. At Harbor Compliance, our managed annual reporting and registered agent services ensure accurate due date tracking and on-time filing. This way, your business will continue to be compliant with state and local requirements, and you will have the time you need to continue working and expanding your clientele.

If you are currently operating a welding business and are looking to outsource your maintenance and renewal duties, Harbor Compliance can help. We are available to review your business status, ensure you are in good standing in the state where you operate, and explain what steps you need to take to ensure you remain compliant with state and federal regulations. Contact our licensing experts today to learn more.

Explore Licensing by State

Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.

Associated General Contractors of America
Professional association providing advocacy and organization for construction firms and workers.

National Association of Home Builders
National association for the promotion of the housing industry.

National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies
National organization that represents and promotes the interests of state level contractor licensing agencies.