Jack Lowe, Advanced Welding Program Coordinator
The AAS Advanced Welding Degree is designed to prepare students to enter employment or upgrade skills for advancement in various areas of the welding field. The curriculum focuses on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for a successful career as a welder. Welders work for a number of industries, including construction companies, mining companies, shipbuilding companies, aerospace companies, and oil and gas companies. The program covers a broad spectrum of welding technology including Basic and Intermediate Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Basic Gas Metal Arc Welding/Flux Core Arc (GMAW/FCAW), Basic Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), Weld Theory, Fabrication and Weld Inspection. These courses will also serve as a complement to existing Associate degree programs at Pierpont; students in other degree programs may enroll in these courses as appropriate and as an enhancement to their primary program of study.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the AAS Advanced Welding Professional degree, graduates will be able to do the following within the welding industry:
- Demonstrate professional welding skills that qualify for immediate acceptance into the Iron Workers union, including SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, and GTAW processes
- Demonstrate proficiency in written and oral communication and in math/quantitative literacy skills appropriate for the Associate degree and for worksite expectations.
The AAS Advanced Welding Degree is geared towards those who are seeking a career in high demand and highly technical career field offering annual entry-level salaries of $35,000 and up. According to EMSI Burning Glass, in 2020 West Virginia was one of the top 6 states for welding. The national median annual wage in 2021 for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $47,010 or approximately $22.60 per hour. (US Department of Labor Data). Employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 49,200 openings for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. The largest employers of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were Manufacturing, and Specialty Trade contractors.
Notice to All Students
Students interested in careers in this industry should be aware that the following working conditions are typical: Welders and cutters may work outdoors in all types of weather, or indoors, sometimes in a confined area designed to contain sparks and glare. They may work on a scaffold or platform high off the ground. In addition, they may have to lift heavy objects and work in awkward positions, such as overhead, while bending, stooping, or standing. Jobs in this field require mental and physical fitness. Employment will always depend on passing a skills test, drug test, and background check. Frequently, there are strict limitations on tobacco and cell phone use. Travel is often required as a condition of employment.