Welding students

The Welding Career Tech Program at Alliance High School is celebrating a 100% AWS certification passage rate. Every student in the senior class is an AWS Certified Welder with at least on certification.

AWS, which stands for American Welding Society, offers a number of welding certifications for people to take throughout their careers. The students took a Metal Arc Welding certification test and a Flux Cored Arc Welding test.

“The tests are extremely hard and complex to pass and are all hands-on,” said Eric Peters, one of the welding instructors for the program. “Many adults that are seasoned welders have trouble with passing cert tests.”

The certification tests required the students to weld a test plate, which had a deep V groove. The students had to fill the V groove with multiple weld passes with the expectation that the final weld pass would not be over or under the specified tolerance. The welds then had to pass a visual inspection. If the inspection was successful, an x-ray was done to see if there were any internal defects. The student would immediately fail if the x-ray showed defects. If they passed, the final phase of the test was done by a Certified Weld Inspector (CWI). The inspector cut two one-inch strips from the test and performed a root bend and a face bend. Both strips were bent into a horseshoe to reveal any weld deformations or cracks.

“As long as there are no cracks or deformation, the student is then an AWS Certified Welder,” Peters explained. “As you can see, these are serious tests that require quite a bit of knowledge and skill to pass. It’s hard to achieve and one little oversight can lead to a failed test. Our students really gave it their all with these tests.”

Gaining the welding certifications tells an employer that the student knows what they are doing and takes the trade seriously. Not all welders in the industry receive their AWS certifications.

“I cannot express enough how excited and proud of them we are,” Peters said. “The Alliance and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to hire some really good talent.”

The students began in the welding program during their junior year. The class is made up of students from Alliance High School and Marlington High School, both schools, along with Salem High School, are part of the Alliance Career Tech Planning District. The students train for multiple class periods each day to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in their chosen career. The program is taught by Peters and Steve Fuson.