Walking into the welding room, it is easy to be captivated by all the action. The welding department at Fullerton College is led by experienced instructors who care about their students’ successes. They are all alumni and have walked in their shoes before.
Will Daniel is one of the six instructors, who has experience in the pipe welding industry and a degree in mechanical engineering. He’s L.A. certified, which is the necessary certification to open up the doors to better paying jobs and higher-level career opportunities in the welding industry.
Daniel has worked within several different fields of the welding industry and dedicates around 40 hours a week to the program.
Viviana Chou, a Vietnamese and Taiwanese student, is one of the only females in the program. At 22 years old, she’s in her first welding classes at FC and is already excelling.
She got into welding while in high school when she took classes. She took interest in the career because she wants to be a civil engineer and feels welding will help her pay for college.
Chou wants to go into structural steel, Flux Core Arc Welding and heavy-duty work. She dedicates five days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m to welding.
Chou explained that the more practice you get in the better. Despite the fact there aren’t many women in the field, she doesn’t believe that they should be discouraged from joining.
Juan Torres, a Santa Ana resident, has been a part of the welding program for some time now. He first came to the campus program 15 years ago to learn the trade. He’s back after years of experience, several certifications and actually owns his own business.
His certifications include oxy-fuel processes, FCAW, dual-shield, SMAW, GTAW, carbon arc gouging, GMAW, steel, pipe, and structural steel.
Torres enjoys the program even after being certified. He explained that it provides him with the opportunity to practice on the machines and mentor younger students.
Tyler Hoffner and David Blackeny, who’re lifelong friends, decided to enroll in the program together and are currently in section A classes – which are the introductory courses.
Hoffner works on MIG, stick, gas metal arc welding, oxy-fuel and brazing. He plays the banjo in his spare time and hopes to go into pipe welding. Blackeny is interested in going into TIG welding and both of them are at Fullerton College specifically for the welding program.
Brendon Kirby is another instructor in the welding department, who emphasizes teamwork and its importance. He has a strong passion for the trade, as well as for teaching.
Kirby dedicates over 40 hours a week to insure that his students get the best learning experience. He’s worked as a welding inspector, contractor and structural/light gauge welder.
He is certified in SMAW, FCAW-G, FCAW, GMAW, CWI, ASNT and ICC structural steel bolting, welding and fireproofing. According to Kirby, welding is an art and welders are a very tight-knit community who share tips with each other.
Kirby is excited about the newer robotic welding machine manufactured by FANUC. It’s expected to make the welding process much faster and will weld metal faster than by hand – speeding up production rates. He wants to promote the program since welding is such a well-paying and in-demand field to go into.
“Welding is in our culture. It touches every one of our lives on a daily basis,” Kirby said. He added that “Welding is all around us. It helps build the structures we’re surrounded by and helps stabilize every inch of this modern world.”
FC offers six different classes for certification including two introductory, a metal fabrication course and a welding inspection course. It generally takes two semesters to complete the program. Once completed, students must take a written and practical test to become L.A. city certified.
“Welders have a different mindset,” Daniel explained. “It takes a precise hand and determination to weld efficiently.”
Classes are offered in two installments, either once or five times a week. The program has a high enrollment and classes fill up quickly.
Instructors work hard together to ensure their students are learning each and every class period.
The department has immense support from the Dean of Technology, Ken Starkman, as well as Rich Hartman, the Dean of Science. Starkman even sits in on some of the lectures from time to time.
Visit the Fullerton College Welding Department’s website for more information on the program and what’s offered.