Welding Technology

Discover welding. Ignite new personal and career possibilities! From skyscrapers to Nascar to nuclear containment vessels, welding shapes lives and communities every day.  In fact, half of our nation’s total gross national product includes welding work, products, and services of some kind. There is currently a skilled welder shortage equating to great job security. Amazing, right?

You might also be surprised to discover that a career in welding is very different than you think.  These roles are dynamic and challenging. They offer you rewarding opportunities to harness new knowledge; develop craftsmanship; learn scientific principles; and be exposed to today’s most advanced technologies.

Welding technology has changed dramatically. It is high-tech and high skilled. Many younger, technology-geared students are drawn to welding worksites where teams frequently work with lasers, robotics, computer programming, and other complex technologies. In addition to welders, many other professional-level experts are needed from certified inspectors and engineers to specialized sales teams.

Credentialing Options

Welding Technology at GTCC

Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to follow the general enrollment process for GTCC.  During the advising process you will have the opportunity to indicate your desire to study within this curriculum. Your advisor will help you sign up for the specific courses you need. Before you register, it is highly recommended that you get program advisement from a welding faculty member listed below.

Donald Ellington
Department Chair, Manufacturing and Associate Professor of Welding Technology
336) 334-4822, ext. 50411
Center for Advanced Manufacturing 1301

Ellington has 12-plus years professional experience as a certified welder, welding instructor and welding inspector. He is certified as as an American Welding Society, Certified Welding Inspector (AWS), and Certified Welding Educator CWI /CWE. He is also a metal fabricator specializing in creative functional metal work.

Robert Crawford, Instructor
(336) 334-4822, ext. 50434
Center for Advanced Manufacturing 1523

Zebediah Downey, Instructor
336) 334-4822, ext. 50168
Center for Advanced Manufacturing 1517

Nate Gray, AWS Certified Welding Instructor
(336) 334-4822, ext. 50757
Center for Advanced Manufacturing 1520

Steve Hatch, Instructor
(336) 334-4822, ext. 50832
Center for Advanced Manufacturing 1521

Financial aid is available if you qualify. Please visit the Financial Aid web page or contact the Financial Aid office at (336) 334-4822 Option 3.

GTCC is an open enrollment institution. If you have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can apply. There are some technical requirements to be a welder. Contact a welding faculty member to discuss technical requirements for the program.

Beyond the textbook and 3 ring binder, there are mandatory tools and attire which can be obtained in a kit from the GTCC bookstore and/or on your own.  It is your responsibility to acquire all of the tools and attire on the list within two weeks from the start of class. 

The tools and safety equipment listed below are required for all shop/lab exercises. If you are not prepared for lab exercises by having all required tools and attire, you will be absent for the day. Some individual welding classes may have other requirements specified on the syllabus.

Proper attire

  • Leather work boots
  • 100% cotton shirt
  • Denim pants in good condition with belt
  • Welding jacket
  • Welding Hood
  • Welders cap
  • Heavy Welding Gloves
  • Safety glasses


  • Two 11" Lock Grip Clamps, paddle type ends
  • Grinding Shield
  • 4.5" grinder with 5/8" arbor
  • Hand wire brush
  • Slag Hammer


  • Tool box/bucket. Bags are not allowed in the shop due to fire hazards

There are some technical requirements and challenges.

  • Welders need to see very clearly in the near site range, and 20/20 vision is required in at least one eye. This can be with or without corrective lenses. It is recommended welders get their eyes checked every year.
  • You need the ability to stand for long periods of time.
  • You must be fit enough to work in the heat all day in various physically demanding positions and be able to lift 50 lbs.
  • You must demonstrate professional work ethic by being ready for classes/work at the start time with consistency.
  • Finally, you need to have some personal grit, and the ability to scramble is required.

No. Welding is not so much an occupation as a variety of occupations that employ different joining processes to fuse metals in industries from aerospace to precision medical products. These industries are taking advantage of technological advances to increase quality, efficiency, and reduce waste and costs.

What many people don’t realize is that this progress demands a more educated workforce, even, and perhaps especially, in fields such as construction, the manufacture of automobiles, and power generation. In short, today’s welder needs to know a bit of math, science, physics, metallurgy, and theory, to wield an arc or a torch.

While many highlight the brighter side of welding by focusing on good salaries, be aware that as a career, welding is challenging and demanding both physically and mentally. In the welding industry, it’s not about trying, it’s about getting it right.

The best time to start the program and complete the course sequence in one year is in August when the fall semester starts. The application process should be started at least two or three months in advance when possible.

The program is designed to start in August during the fall semester. Please get advisement through the welding department about starting in the spring. Call 336-334-4822 Ext 50411. Lessening the load in the future by taking courses out of sequence may not be a good solution for everyone.

A spring semester start is out of sequence and has added challenges. If you are new to welding and want to get started, a perfect course is WLD 112, Basic Welding. This introduction course provides an opportunity to get an easier-paced foundation to welding than other options.

Other Spring courses that have no prerequisites, like WLD 131 and DFT 110, it is possible but not recommended because the courses were designed to be taken in sequence and may be integrated. Most spring and summer courses have pre-requisites which allow only students who have passed previous courses to be registered. The recommended option for new students in the spring is WLD 112 (program must be D50420 C2 Certificate #2 if receiving financial aid) and move forward on the math and English requirements for the eventual diploma. If you are advised outside the welding department and you want to take WLD 131, you must see the department to get registered. Be aware that WLD 131 is a very difficult class for students with no prior industrial work experience. Also, taking DFT 110 out of sequence is not recommended.

During the summer, there is one basic welding class, WLD 112, open to new students. There are limited seats available for a 4 week mini-mester class running mid-summer. The early bird gets the worm.

Welding may look awesome, yet before you dedicate your life to welding, you may want to see if the true nature of it and the work ethic required to succeed as a welder suits you. Basic welding, WLD 112, is a great course to begin with to explore the awesomeness of welding, and it starts you on the welding in manufacturing certificate pathway. The basic welding class runs in the fall, spring, and summer.

Another option for beginning welding training that runs year-round are the continuing education welding classes. They run three times a year for 12 weeks and are designed to provide entry level welding skills for job placement.

These continuing education welding classes lead to an American Welding Society certificate in GMAW (Mig welding). This should not be confused with welding certification. The curriculum programs are better suited for certification training. Often students will explore welding through this program and love it so much that they sign up for curriculum classes. Call Amy Bray at (336) 334-4822, ext. 53115 for information.

No. Welding certification is highly misunderstood. You will be highly qualified and ready to take a Welder Performance Qualification (welder certification) at your place of employment. Through many hours of practice and multiple quality assessments of your plate and pipe weldments with visual and guided bend tests, you will be very prepared to become certified. All the plate and pipe performance outcomes at GTCC are derived from American Welding Society D1.1 Structural welding codes. Plate class outcomes are on 3/8” mild steel up through 4G and pipe class outcomes are on 6” schedule 80 up through 6G. Our program focus is on welding performance according to industry standards. You will earn every successfully completed outcome you come away with.

To succeed in the welding field, a mature and dedicated work ethic is needed. Focus, hard work, and everyday dedication is essential. Your work ethic, which leads to craftsmanship, is your reputation. If you get distracted easily, have trouble focusing, give up often, don’t like to clean, or like to talk while working, honestly, welding may not be for you. There is no magic wand. A serious work ethic is the best indicator of success.

  • Diploma (39 credits): approximately $4,000 in state
  • Certificate One: approximately $2,100 in state.
  • Certificate Two: approximately $2,200 in state.

Out of state residents are charged more per credit hour. Please see our tuition rates. A bargain at any cost.

If you pass a 6G weld test SMAW or GTAW on 6” schedule 80 mild steel, your average pay is $18.00 to $35.00 per hr. depending on location, travel required for the job, and benefit packages. Locally, $15.00 to $18.00 is an average starting welder wage.

Perhaps all three levels. That depends on the level of welding qualification tests the student has passed. The student learning outcomes in the WLD classes are derived from industry standard welding qualification tests.

Each plate and pipe class has three major physical performance graded items which must pass visual and/or guided bend tests. These get progressively more difficult. Student will continue to test at each level until they have passed in order to move to the next level. A and B grade students will have passed multiple intermediate and advanced industry level welding qualifications during coursework as learning outcomes. GTCC graduates typically shine during weld tests.


  • Union and non-union Pipe welding and steel erection ex) Boiler Makers, National Boiler Service, Iron Workers
  • Mechanical contracting, ex. Tri-city, Environmental Air
  • Fabrication, ex. Matcor, CHT Nuclear
  • Self-employed/artistic, ex. Galluci studios, The Forge
  • Metals manufacturing, ex. Thomas Bus, Precor, Hirschfield, Siemans, Caterpillar, Deere-Hitachi, Ziehl-Abieg