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Women Encouraged to Explore Welding Careers

Female welder

At Southwest Virginia Community College women can earn a Career Studies Certificate in welding, including courses in oxyfuel welding and cutting; inert gas welding; industrial safety; and pipe welding in just one year.

Employment in the welding occupational field is expected to grow, dependent upon industry served, from 4% to 22% from 2012-2022. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay nationwide is $42,490 per year. 

Southwest encourages women to join the traditionally male-dominated field of welding. Pay, benefits and job satisfaction can be much higher than in traditionally female occupations. Female welders have made headlines lately. “Weld Like a Girl: A Millennial Woman’s Success in a Man’s World” was the headline of a Forbes feature on the subject November 2019. Link:

Southwest Virginia Community College is also expanding its state-of-the-art welding lab. Now, more students are positioned to earn rewarding and sustainable careers — careers that impact the success of our economy. Typically, you can go anywhere in any city or any state and find welding jobs available. Much of the welding workforce is approaching retirement age just as the crumbling of infrastructure such as bridges, highways, and oil pipelines means a great deal of metal needs fusing.

Many welding fields are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. According to, below are annual salaries nationwide for some of those careers:

Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters- $44,500
Ironworkers- $ 50,740.00
Boilermakers- $55,830.00
Pipefitters and Steamfitters-$52,950.00
Welders and Cutters- $38,410.00
Millwrights and Maintenance Mechanics- $50,740.00
Welding NDT Inspectors- $65,000.00

According to the American Welding Society, only about 5 percent of current welding personnel are female, so there is ample opportunity to join the field.

For more information, contact the Program Advisor:
Allen Martin at 276.964.7253

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