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New Welding Accreditation at WKCTC Offers Transferrable Credential

The welding technology program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College has become only the second welding program in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and the fourth statewide to be accepted by the American Welding Society as an AWS Accredited Test Facility.

The AWS Accredited Test Facility (ATF) program establishes minimum requirements for test facilities, their personnel and equipment to quality for accreditation to test and qualify welders.

Our students have always taken welding certification tests here, in the past. When our students become employed they could prove that they are capable of passing a certification test. However, they would then be required to take the same test for that company, said Vigil Holland, WKCTC welding technology associate professor, Now, if the student chooses to pay the AWS $35 fee, they will have their name listed as a certified welder in the AWSs registry. This registry is accepted worldwide.

Holland said previously when a person took the test, the results were held by the company paying for them to test. The accredited certification is transferable from one company to another. What this means for companies is that when a person from our college walks in for a job interview, holding that credential, there is no need to pay for that person to be tested, which can be quite costly for the company: $300-$500.

Holland said accredited test facilities have proven that they have the necessary resources to test welders to the nationally recognized and accepted program level. Accredited test facilities receive valuable recognition; are listed on the AWS website for those who need certify welders and are also advertised in the Welding Journal magazine.

WKCTC offers welding courses days, evenings and weekends depending upon semester scheduling to fit your needs. The welding program uses some of the most modern welding equipment available. Students are taught in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and coming soon Robotic on plate and pipe.

Holland said the demand for welders in the west Kentucky region is large and growing.

The areas aging workforce is leaving contractors and companies with huge gaps in the workplace, Holland said. I receive several calls each week from companies needing welders.

Holland said the starting pay for a welder who knows the basics of welding on average is about $30,000 annually. Many of our students while working through school, achieve certifications, Holland said. When this happens, they can prove their skills with documentation to a prospective employer. Many of our students that have good attendance and certifications start at $50,000-60,000 annually.

For more information about WKCTCs welding program visit the college web site at or call (855) GO-WKCTC.