February 20, 2019
Story and portrait by Brandon Steinert
Barton Welding Instructor Wade Morris spent 35 years fusing metal as a pipeline welder, foreman and in various other roles before coming to Barton in the fall of 2018; he knows what it takes to be a good welder. Skill and technique are important technical proficiencies, he said, but the real basis of mastering the trade is found a little deeper.
“Attitude,” he said. “It’s about your ability to give attention to detail, and welding is about practice. If you can put in the time and effort, you’ll become a good welder.”
He said while anyone can become skilled at the craft, some individuals do seem to take to it a little better than others.
“Artsy people who can draw… they usually make pretty good welders, but it still depends on your attitude,” he said.
Morris’ approach to teaching reflects his philosophy of practice-makes-perfect, as he puts them to work as much as possible.
“I try to keep a limited amount of time in the classroom,” he said. “It’s much more important to get the quality time in the welding booths. My students get lots of hands on time, and if they have problems they come to me or they help each other.”
The time students get with the instructor because of the small student-to-teacher ratio is one of the many benefits of Barton’s program, which takes only one semester to complete via a series of four-week classes that meet every day. The program covers all the basic welds, MIG, TIG and stick, and cutting processes including training on a CNC plasma cutting table. All the equipment in the updated facility is state-of-the-art.
Once they’re done picking Morris’ brain for a semester, students who complete the program can enjoy a plethora of career options.
“People are crying for welders,” Morris said. “You’ll enjoy independence and you can go anywhere you want and work. And there’s no limit to the money you can make, depending on how many hours you want to work. Basic welding jobs start out at $17 to $25 per hour. You can come here for one semester and make a pretty good living.”
Morris’ own career took him all over the country as a welder, and developed a knack for teaching others to weld by coaching welders’ helpers on how to lay a quality bead.
“It was always a challenge to turn a welder’s helper into a good welder,” he said. “It’s kind of the same thing here. You might start with someone who only knows how to spell weld, but they come in and you watch them progress and then they go to work. That’s a good feeling.”
Barton’s welding certificate is 16 credit hours and costs about $3,600 total with equipment and fees.
For more information about Barton’s welding program or to enroll, visit welding.bartonccc.edu.