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NETC welding program offers path to highly needed fields

Welding student with instructor

PAGELAND – Northeastern Technical College's welding program offers students a ground-floor opportunity entering a high-demand skillset greatly needed among a majority of industries.

"It's a well-known statistic among industries that 400,000 welding jobs will be opening up and needing to be filled within a few years," said NETC Welding Instructor Cory Botelho.

While the number of welding positions is becoming vacant, NETC offers training for students to fill those positions.

Welding is essential in constructing buildings and bridges, ensuring the stability of these structures. In manufacturing, welding is used in everything from automobiles to aircraft to appliances and electronics.

Welding involves joining materials, usually metals, through the application of heat and sometimes pressure, to create a strong and permanent bond.

"Our program is growing," said Botelho, originally from Pennsylvania, who has been a welding instructor for over six years with the prior18 months teaching at Northeastern Technical College's Pageland campus.

NETC offers classes for Arc Welding (MIG), Flux Cored Arc Welding, Tungsten Welding (TIG), and Fabrication Welding, on its Pageland campus.

Students entering NETC's welding program can learn a variety of welding techniques that can lead them to needed fields in a wide variety of industries.

"MIG welding is considered a very common technique; it's easy to learn and doesn't take a lot of equipment preparation," Botelho said.

MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding uses a consumable wire electrode, creating an arc and shielding with gas, well-suited for faster, continuous welding in various applications.

MIG welding is typically used for repairs and production welding, he said.

On the other end, TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding employs a non-consumable tungsten electrode to fuse metals while shielding with inert gas, ideal for precision work.

"TIG is the cleanest," NETC Instructor Cory Botelho said. "You could go to work in a tuxedo and not get dirty."

MIG welding, however, gives the full effect of sparks, smoke, and smell, he said.

What also separates TIG from other techniques is that it requires the use of feet.

"The welder has to use their foot to control the arc, one hand for the torch and the other for the filler rod," Botelho said. "That's a lot of hand-hand-eye-foot coordination."

TIG welding is used for precise joining or aerospace, automotive, and delicate materials ensuring strong, clean, and high-quality welds.

"Flux cored arc welding is a production style of welding," Botelho said. "It can be done quickly and for long periods, and the technique produces a weld the same as stick."

Stick welding requires stopping every 8 to 12 inches of a weld and cleaning the site, whereas flux cored is in a roll and can continuously go, he said.

Stick welding is used for repair welds and predominately used in pipe welding.

The pay range varies depending on the industry and the quality of the welder's skills.

"On the very, very low end of $15 to $20 per hour and top end is $36-38 per hour," Botelho said.

Pageland Campus opened its doors in 2003 and transitioned its focus into a workforce and industrial training center where it offers welding courses. For more information, visit online at or call 800.921.7399.

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