There are varying degrees and varying fields of welding. You can take a basic welding course for a year and you can find a job in welding. Now, you're going to have limited skills with that one year of training. If you take two years, your options will broaden. I always encourage students to take a three-year welding engineering technology program because that will really give them the opportunity to do many things such as automation, robotics, and other fields of welding.
Also, there's the apprenticeship route that many students take, and that time frame is typically three years plus. When I say “plus”, it could take as many as five years. It depends on how well the work term is aligned with the programs offered at the college. Students can only go to a college for their theoretical training during the times that it is available.