College of DuPage Offers New Welding Degree Program
By Brian Kleemann
The new Welding Technology degree program at College of DuPage will prepare students to earn credentials from the American Welding Society.
Recently approved by the Illinois Community College Board, the program trains graduates for occupations in production, structural, aerospace, renewable energy, pipeline and prototype welding. David Ellis, COD Instructor of Welding Technology, said the degree is a natural extension of the existing program, in which students just starting out earn the Welding Technology certificate and learn basic welding techniques. Students then progress to the AWS Sense 1 certificate, where they demonstrate the techniques they have learned.
“The program is now stackable as the degree builds on these two certificates and goes into more advanced topics such as robotic welding, which isn’t taught at most schools,” Ellis said. “Students who earn the associate’s degree are prepared to pursue highly sought-after industry credentials that greatly expand the types of jobs they can find, regardless of whether they are just starting out or have some experience.”
The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that an additional 14 million welders will be needed by the year 2020. In 2013 alone, 18 companies – including manufacturers, trade unions and the Illinois Tollway system – contacted College of DuPage looking for qualified graduates to fill multiple positions.
“The opportunities exist for employment both locally and nationally, and these skills even translate to international employment,” Ellis said.
One attractive aspect to the Welding program is the number of evening courses offered, which are ideal for students who work during the day. Ellis also would like to attract more women to the program.
“If you look at our history, women dominated the welding field during World War II. Since then, welding has been considered a career for men,” he said. “But according to the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, the number of female welders has increase more than 2 percent during the past decade, and that number is expected to grow even more in the future. More women are registering for our classes, and I want women to see welding as a viable career.”
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137
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