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CCCC launches welding diploma to help meet need for welders

Click to enlarge CCCC launches welding diploma to help meet need for welders

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Central Carolina Community College welding students Chris Godfrey (left) and Neil Johnson practice ... (more)

08.05.2013College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

SANFORD - The arc from a welding torch burns white-hot as it fuses metal to metal, creating the physical infrastructure of 21st century life: bridges, high-rise buildings, automobiles, and a thousand other things.

Welding skills open the door to interesting, varied and secure careers for those who master them. More welders - skilled workers who can both create and repair objects and structures fabricated of metal - are needed.

To help meet this need, Central Carolina Community College has launched a new, four-semester Diploma in Welding Technology program to train students for careers in the welding and metalworking industries.

The program begins with the fall semester, which starts Aug. 19.

The Diploma in Welding Technology program comprises 128 hours of instructional time in metal inert gas arc welding (MIG)/flux core arc welding as well as 128 hours in tungsten inert gas welding (TIG). New courses include cutting, welding fabrication, advanced stick welding plate/pipe, automated welding and cutting, welding symbols, and welds inspection. Students are trained to industry standards.

"Employers are looking for workers who can weld using multiple welding processes and who can multitask a project from interpreting the blueprints to fitting and welding the materials together," said CCCC instructor Charles Bell, who is an American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Inspector and National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certified Welding Instructor. "CCCC's welding programs train them to do these things and to prepare for welding certification tests."

CCCC will continue to offer its two-semester Certificate in Welding. If students want to continue their education beyond the certificate or diploma, they can earn an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems Technology.

CCCC has offered welding since 1962. The expansion of the program is the result of the loss of welders due to retirement, the increase in high technology in welding, and the expansion of industries that hire welders.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 337,300 welders in the U.S. in 2010. That number is expected to grow by 50,700 by 2020. Locally, CCCC's service area of Lee, Harnett and Chatham Counties has a strong industrial base. The college has identified no fewer than 59 area industries that need well-trained entry-level welding technicians.

Skilled welders have a wide variety of career opportunities, not just in direct welding work, but also in inspection, engineering, robotics, education, sales, and management, as well as being self-employed.

According to, welding is one of the few career choices that is in high demand at all times. Welders are needed in almost every industry, which gives workers the flexibility to switch industries without changing careers.

Welding is one of the very few skills that can pay well without a college degree. Starting pay can range from $12 to $20 per hour, depending on the work and location. The pay increases with experience, additional welding certifications, and willingness to travel. In specialty fields, such as underwater or military support, welders can earn more than $100,000 a year. states, "It does not matter if it is building bridges, nuclear power plants, windmills or drilling for oil. Welders are going to be needed as long as the world needs energy, infrastructure and defense products... the world's economies cannot survive without the technology of welding. The future outlook for welders just keeps looking better while other career choices seem to be fading away."

For more information about the welding programs at CCCC, visit or contact Charles Bell at or 919-718-7306.

Registration for the fall semester, which starts Aug. 19, is now taking place at the CCCC Welcome Center at the Lee County Campus and at the campuses in Chatham and Harnett counties. Visit and click on "Apply Now" for information on how to get started with the registration process, or call 919-545-8025 in Chatham County, 910-814-8827 in Harnett County, or 919-718-7300 in Lee County.