Pipewelding program at FDTC presents lucrative career opportunities
America is in a dilemma, and South Carolina is no exception.
The growing economy is out pacing the ability to supply skilled employees needed to man the rapidly growing economic machine. Nowhere is this more evident than in the welding industry.
The rapidly growing economy, combined with the ever-increasing retirement of the “Baby Boomers,” is leaving a shortage of qualified and skilled welders to help repair and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure; maintain our ever-growing power, natural gas, and petrochemical industries, and fill the void in our shipbuilding industry.
Power companies, using nuclear energy, fossil fuel, and hydro, are constantly competing for pipe welders and fitters from an ever-shrinking pool of trained, qualified workers.
Every 16–18 months, nuclear power sites must shut down, to replace nuclear rods. During these outage periods, pipewelders and pipefitters visit the sites to make necessary repairs.
Florence-Darlington Technical College offers a number of programs to support power industry workforce demands, beginning with the Construction/Pre-pipe welding program, which prepares students for lucrative and rewarding pipewelding careers.
The Construction Pre-Pipewelding program teaches students both stick and TIG welding, and students who successfully pass an assessment at the end of the class are eligible to enter into the college’s Pipewelding program, considered the “Masters degree of welding.”
No prior welding experience is needed to enter the Construction Pre-Pipewelding program.
The entire Construction Pre-Pipewelding and Pipe-welding courses can be completed in approximately six to seven months, a much faster rate to good employment than the typical degree-seeking route.
Pipewelders in the nuclear industry have particularly bright prospects for wages, earning anywhere from $25 to $40 per hour, in addition to a daily $100 to $120 per diem payment, which is tax free, provided the individual does not work greater than 364 days per year.
FDTC will offer the Construction Pre-Pipewelding class each month the remainder of this year, through November. Summer class start dates for the course are June 4, July 9 and August 6, and scholarships may be available.