Two men heat metal in a manufacturing facility

How FastForward Can Advance Your Career in the Welding and Manufacturing Industry

Welding and manufacturing roles play an essential part in our society’s infrastructure and impact our lives every day—from the vehicles that we drive, to the buildings we live in and even the ships that protect us. Experienced welders are highly sought after throughout the country and Virginia. If you’re looking to advance your welding or manufacturing career, look no further than FastForward.

There are a wide variety of jobs in the welding and manufacturing industry, such as metal grinder operator, electronics assembler and drill press operator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, welding salaries range from $31,030 to $51,640 and manufacturing salaries can range from $34,020 to $72,010, depending on the role.

FastForward students receive hands-on instruction from experts who have worked in the field for decades. Programs can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks and are available at varying times to allow you to continue working or fit your busy schedule. Virginia’s Community Colleges offer several credentials through FastForward, here are a few:

  • Certified Welder
  • Manufacturing Specialist (MS)
  • Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1)
  • Measurement Materials and Safety
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  • Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
  • Certified Production Technician

Upon receiving one of these credentials, FastForward career coaches can help connect graduates to Virginia’s largest industrial employers such as Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS). These connections can be extraordinarily helpful for your future career, as one former welding student, Ethan Panzica, can attest to:

“Once people know that you have worked for NNS, they will hire you almost on the spot,” he said.

Many FastForward graduates have gone on to work for the U.S. Navy, NASA and private manufacturers.

Not all trainings are offered at every college and can change based on the workforce in each region. The best way to find out if a training is offered near you is to contact your local FastForward career coach.