Careers in welding can be lucrative, with jobs available in nearly every corner of the world. Fred Eberle Technical Center welding technology instructor Billy Poling said students who want to earn their certifications and learn hands-on knowledge about the trade have come to the right place.
“We teach the theory of welding, and students will be in lab situations where they do hand-on training,” Poling said. “Once students get to the point they are able, they can take the test to be a certified welder.”
To give students real-life experience, the center brings in outside projects.
“We build and do repairs, just like professionals do on the job,” he said. “The goal is, by the time they graduate they will have earned an OSHA 10 Certification, at least one welding certification and some experience so they can go out and lead a productive life.”
Like many programs at Fred Eberle Technical Center, welding operates as if students are in an active workplace.
“Our shop is run as a simulated workplace, so students learn to work with others,” Poling said. “I hire a general manager in the classroom, a safety manager and a transitional manager, and they lead the shop. They make sure everything is completed properly and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing.”
Poling said welding remains a key career and plenty of jobs are availalbe.
“Two years ago, we looked it up and the country was short about 400,000 welders,” he said. “If the student has the ambition and drive, there is plenty of work for them. Of my recent students who are working in the field, most started out approximately $12 per hour. Others have probably made about $250,000 so far.”