ESL-HEC: Welding - Southwestern Illinois College

Welding Technology Program Overview

The American Welding Society recognizes the Welding Technology program at Southwestern Illinois College as one of the best in the nation. The welding technology program follows American Welding Society Level I and II National Standards. In addition to the A.A.S. that can be earned at Southwestern, the student can earn a Bachelor’s Degree by transferring to Ferris State University. The program provides expert training to beginning welders as well as a chance for experienced welders to upgrade their skills. Students gain extensive hands-on experience and learn about employer relationships in preparation for the job market.

Students learn Shielded Metal Arc Welding; Gas metal Arc Welding, including short circuits, globular and spray transfers; Flux Cored Arc Welding and Plasma Arc Welding and Cutting; Acetylene Welding and Cutting; Gas Tungsten Arc Welding; blueprint reading; layout fit up; and how to inspect welds.

The college’s welding shop has state-of-the-art equipment, and instructors offer students years of experience as well as knowledge of the latest trends in welding. Members of the staff are also active in the American Welding Society St. Louis Section, and National AWS Committee. The college is a member of Vocational Industrial Clubs of America.

The laboratory is open six days a week, 70 hours a week to maximize hands-on experience. Day students attend classes four or five days a week; night students attend classes two or three nights a week. Students use about 30,000 pounds of filler metal and 50 tons of metal each year.

Career Opportunities

  • Welder
  • Welding Technician
  • Fitter
  • Layout People


The market for skilled welders is expanding as the industry’s use of technology advances. Welding is essential to manufacturing, construction, computers, electronics, and automobile and aircraft production. Welders also are needed for X-ray repair on pressure vessels and for repairing or rebuilding farm and manufacturing equipment. SWIC works with several corporations and trade unions to train welders.


The median salary for cutters, solderers and brazers is $39,390 or $18.94 per hour.

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