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Byron Ward
Welding Career Coach
Contact Us: (850) 718-2270

Applied Welding Technologies

It's Getting Hot in Here!




MARIANNA— Chipola College is now accepting students for a new welding program which begins in Jan. 7, 2014.

The program is 1,170 clock-hours which can be completed in approximately one year. Classes will meet Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Financial aid is available for those who qualify with special consideration for veterans. Prospective welding students must earn a minimum score on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE).

New Chipola welding instructor Patrick Kennedy, says, “The job outlook is very good in the area and especially for those willing to travel or relocate. Starting pay for pipe welders in ship-building is $20 per hour and higher. Local manufacturing plants offer $14-$18 per hour. Pay goes up substantially for construction welders who are willing to travel.”

Eastern Ship Builders in Panama City hires numerous welders and is expected to expand their operation in the near future. Other local employers include Rolls Right Trailers and Anderson Columbia in Marianna. Welding jobs also are available in Tallahassee, Panama City, Jacksonville, Dothan and Mobile, Alabama.

Instructor Kennedy holds multiple certifications as a Pipe Welder and is a Certified Welding Inspector. He has worked in the nuclear power and gas pipeline industry as a welder and inspector for more than 20 years. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Kennedy has called Panama City home since 2000. He also has taught welding at Trenholm State Technical College in Montgomery.

Kennedy said, “While taking welding in high school, my instructor told me that a good welder would never be out of work unless he wanted to be. So far this has been true and that is my firsthand experience.”

Chipola’s welding program is made possible through a grant awarded to the Alabama/Florida Technical Employment Network (AF-TEN). Chipola, L. B. Wallace, Northwest Florida State, Pensacola State, and Wallace Community College formed the consortium that was awarded $10 million in a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant. The purpose of the grant is to support colleges that provide training for advanced manufacturing jobs. Each college shares a portion of the grant to implement a mobile welding technology program on their campus.

"We are excited about the opportunities this new welding program will provide for the citizens in our district,” said Dr. Jason Hurst, Executive Vice-President of Chipola College. “Welding is a targeted occupation that offers high wages and excellent benefits for trained welders."

The Chipola project will utilize state-of-the-art welding equipment, hybrid learning, mobile welding units, simulation technologies, and open education resources to expand learning opportunities, especially in rural areas.

Byron Ward, Chipola Welding Career Coach, says, “Workforce Florida projects annual growth of 13,500 jobs in advanced manufacturing and construction, with 75% requiring postsecondary training. The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations (ADIR) lists welding among Alabama’s “Hot 40 Jobs” with expected annual growth of more than 2% through 2018.”

Admission Requirements
• Must be at least 17 years of age, and must turn 18 years of age before achieving OCP A-Welder, Helper - in order to be eligible for hire by industry
• Must submit completed One-Stop Paperwork
• Must submit completed Admission Application with copies of the appropriate residency documents.

2013-14 Curriculum Guide

For information about Chipola’s Welding program, call 850-718-2270, or visit

Member of The Florida College System 3094 Indian Circle | Marianna, FL 32446 | Phone: (850) 526-2761 | Email Us