North Central Michigan College (NCMC) continues to expand its lineup of Fast Track career programs with the addition of a new welding program. The nine-week program teaches basic skills in welding and metal fabrication, leading to American Welding Society certifications in gas metal arc welding and shielded metal arc welding.

Our new welding Fast Track program includes quality, in-person curriculum, access to a local instructor for guidance, access to all North Central student resources, and assistance with job placement, said Christy Lyons, dean of Corporate & Community Education (CCE).

Students in the program will also learn foundations of metal fabrication, including how to safely adjust, light up, and shut down an oxy-acetylene torch, as well as how to set up an oxy-acetylene portable unit.

Demand for certified welders is stable in Northwest Michigan, with the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives projecting 55 open positions annually through 2028.  Certified welders can expect to earn $16—$22 per hour in the region, according to the same report, though some local estimates are higher.

The program begins October 18 and includes 60 hours of in-person training and all materials and supplies. Grants and scholarships are available to offset—or in some cases cover—the $1,850 program cost.

“Both certifications provide immediate access into the workforce as certified welders and entry into more advanced training and education in welding,” said Stephen Strom, vice president of Academic Affairs. Like all of our Fast Track offerings, this program provides community members with opportunities for new careers in a condensed format that will alleviate some of the shortages in specific industries in our area.”

North Central is partnering with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) and Pellston Public Schools to deliver the program.  LTBB is providing a starter welding kit to each student, and classes will meet at Pellston High School.

“It has been a pleasure to support this important training program,” said Benedict Hinmon, project director for LTBB’s Nitaazhitoojik Industrial Training Project. “Providing these welding starter kits is a good example of working with NCMC to benefit our citizens and the local community.”

The welding program is the 11th Fast Track offering added to North Central’s lineup of courses aimed at allowing individuals to upskill or reskill quickly for in-demand careers.  For more information about North Central Michigan College’s Fast Track career programs, visit