Why Welding at SMC?
Graduates of Southwestern Michigan College’s Welding Technology program are fully prepared for the workforce. Students learn hands-on on real equipment from day one. Our students are in high demand, and most students are employed before they even graduate. All welding courses are taught by Certified Welding Inspectors—a high-level, difficult-to-attain designation given to only the best welders.
Welding is the process of combining materials (usually metal) using high heat. It may also involve patching metal, plastic, glass, or other materials. Welding is used in nearly every manufacturing industry from shipbuilding and construction to pipelines, oilrigs, and automotive (including NASCAR).
While a welder’s main job is to weld, they also have to read blueprints, calculate weld dimensions, inspect materials, and maintain equipment.
Many career paths are open to welders depending on their certification, education, and experience. Examples include inspection, education, engineering, project management, robotics, and sales. Opportunities exist for travel and welding in unique places such as underwater welding at the bottom of the ocean.
About the Welding Technology Program
Welding Technology is a one-year program designed to develop marketable welding skills and includes instruction in such areas as quality control, process control and problem solving and experience with the newest technology in a state-of-the-art welding lab. The Welding Technology program is at SMC's Niles Campus.
Students in SMC’s welding program will learn everything they need to know to become a certified welder. They will learn all the most common welding methods including SMAW/Stick, GMAW/MIG and GTAW/TIG. Additionally, they’ll learn welding inspection, metallurgy, welding fabrication and maintenance repair and essential workforce skills such as construction math, blueprint reading, computer literacy and workplace citizenship.
On completion of the program, students can test to certify in the welding methods they choose. Students may complement their certificate with an associate degree in Industrial Technology. SMC’s welding program has articulation agreements with many schools in Michigan for those students wishing to pursue a bachelor's degree.
SMC meets all the American Welding Society’s SENSE requirements for basic and advanced welding.
Skilled welders are in great demand because they are needed in almost every industry. Welders are said to be ‘immune’ to the economy because they can simply change to a thriving industry and stay on the same career path. The average median salary for a welder is $41,380 though some can make over $100,000.
More About the School of Advanced Technology
Watch the video below to see what School of Advanced Technology faculty have to say about the strengths of our welding, automotive and robotics programs.
Click here for images of the Harry T. Gast/M-TEC Building, home to all welding classes, click here for images of the Niles Campus, or click here to schedule a tour.