WILLIAMSON – A new welding program is now being offered at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) Williamson campus.
According to SWVCTC’s website, the need for certified welders is increasing in areas such as construction, manufacturing and utilities. The website also states that 80 percent of welding jobs are in manufacturing.
Sheridan Taylor, welding instructor on SWVCTC’s Williamson campus said, “There is welding in about all industries. If you have equipment, you need a welder.”
Locally, welders can expect to find employment in areas such as the railroad, oil and gas industries, coal, and the wood plant. “We can train people to work in this area or anywhere in the nation,” Taylor explained.
Overall, welding skills are similar across industries. This allows welders to shift from one industry to another based on need. “This offers a skill set for people laid off to train for a particular job,” Taylor said.
Taylor explains that the program has numerous advantages. “We only meet two days a week and have a small class size of 15 students per class,” Taylor said.
The comprehensive program provides students with the opportunity to learn various welding skills. Taylor said,” We teach all four welding processes.
According to the SWVCTC website, students can obtain American Welding Society Certifications in areas such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (S.M.A.W), Gas Metal Arc Welding (G.M.A.W), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (G.T.A.W.), and Flux-Core Arc Welding (F.C.A.W).
In addition to the 2 year program, people can also visit the campus to take certification tests. “We also do welding certification tests. I can give 28 different welding certification tests, including the Department of Education state welding certification test,” Taylor said.
According to the website www.usawage.com, the average annual salary of welders in West Virginia ranges from about $30,000 to $47,000 annually.
Those interested in enrolling in the welding program for the fall 2015 semester need to act quickly. “We only have a few openings left,” Taylor said.
The program is expanding. SWVCTC is in the process of hiring additional faculty to instruct the welding classes. “We are getting ready to hire another instructor to offer more classes going on at the same time,” Taylor said.
For more information on the program, visit www.southernwv.edu.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)