Welding and Fabricating Technology

Welding and Fabricating Technology - Basic Welding Skills

Prepare for your welding career through this program. Then put your high-demand skills to work in the metal and construction trades as a welder, cutter, or welding machine operator. Students choose to specialize in one of three areas: aluminum, structural fabrication, or pipe welding. In our state-of-the-art welding and fabrication facility, you’ll learn valuable skills that high-wage employers are looking for. From safety practices and blueprint reading, to technical skills like metallurgy, MIG, and TIG welding, BTC’s hands-on training will prepare you for a career in boat manufacturing, steel manufacturing, refining, and transportation, or with federal, state, or local governments.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

94% BTC graduate placement rate1

$51,971 starting annual wage2
$66,970 average annual wage2
$86,396 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2017-18 and 2019-20. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program typically starts in Fall Quarter.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning.

Early Program Course Requirements

It is highly recommended that students take these courses prior to program entry:

  • CMST& 210 Interpersonal Communications
  • AENGL 100 Applied English
  • AMATH 100 Applied Occupational Math

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 55

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Core Courses for Program

  • WLD 101Welding Safety2 CR
  • WLD 105Thermal Cutting Processes4 CR
  • WLD 106Print Reading I2 CR
  • WLD 110SMAW I4 CR
  • WLD 116SMAW Practice2 CR
  • WLD 120GMAW I4 CR
  • WLD 121GMAW Aluminum I4 CR
  • WLD 130FCAW I4 CR
  • WLD 131FCAW Practice2 CR
  • WLD 140GTAW I4 CR
  • WLD 141GTAW Aluminum I4 CR
  • WLD 150Introduction to Metal Fabricating4 CR

  • TOTAL Core Course Credits
    40 CR
  • General Education Core Courses

  • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR

  • TOTAL General Education Course Credits
    15 CR

Program Outcomes

  • Exhibit & maintain essential employability behaviors;
  • Observe and practice industry safety guidelines;
  • Analyze and interpret prints, drawings, and symbols for welding and fabrication of parts and structures;
  • Achieve competency in a variety of major manual and semi-automatic welding processes in all positions;
  • Demonstrate proper set-up and use of welding and fabricating equipment;
  • Troubleshoot and solve basic welding, fabricating and equipment problems;
  • Pass at least one WABO certification or industry-accepted certification welding test (ASME, AWS, ABS, etc.);
  • Exhibit knowledge of occupational environments, metallurgy, materials, tools, fabrication, layout, and mechanical and thermal cutting processes and techniques;
  • Demonstrate appropriate oral and written communication with customers, co-workers, and supervisors;
  • Analyze and interpret prints and drawings for welding and fabricating;
  • Employ efficient organizational skills;
  • Stay current with new and emerging technologies.

Employment Outlook

Employment opportunities for welders are expected to increase. Employment opportunities for welders, cutters, and welding machine operators differ by occupational specialty.

About 83% of BTC Welding students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $48,422, with an earning potential of about $60,195 per year.*

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Welders are employed in various areas of business and industry that require working with different types of metal for either manufacturing, repair, or cutting. Nationally, nine out of ten welders and cutters are employed in manufacturing, services, construction, or wholesale trade.

Typical places of employment include sheet metal fabrication companies, energy service companies, steel manufacturing companies, refineries, fence and iron companies, transportation, heating and plumbing companies, various unions, federal, state and municipal government, and self-employment. Potential positions include welder, cutter, welding machine tender, welding machine operator, foreman, and leadman.

Faculty & Support


  • Degrees and Credentials

    AWS-Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

    WA Professional Technical Certification

    AWS-Certified Welding Educator (CWE)

    Ironworkers Local #509

    U.S. Navy HT-Hull Maintenance Technician

    ICC-Structural Steel and Welding Inspector

    WABO-Weld Examiner

    WABO-Structural steel and Welding Inspector

    WABO-Certified Welder

    AWS-Certified Radiographic Interpreter (CRI)