Wiregrass Newsroom: Welding a smart career choice for students

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- Gina Ready is the only girl in the Welding Technology program at Wallace Community College.

"I was nervous when I first came here because I didn't know what to expect.   I've gotten used to it.  I enjoy it," says Ready.

A career in art sparked her interest in welding.   But now that passion is turning into practicality for what she believes is a smart career change.

"I think it's an excellent move to make.   I would encourage anyone to do it because you're going to learn a set of skills that you can take with you wherever you go, and make as much money as you want to make," says Ready.

Male or female, instructors say the welding industry brings big job security.

"Even in the worst of economic times, the demand is just unbelievable.   For the truly skilled craftsman, they'll never be replaced," says Welding Technology instructor, Dewey Lee.

Lee says there is big money in welding.   Some of his students make up to seven thousand dollars in a single week.

"Their welding ability can produce all that for them. A rig welder is going to make $50 to $60 dollars an hour," says Lee.

And it's an ability Jonny deJong is putting to work right after graduation.

"A traveling job is what I like to do.   That's where I see the money's at.   So I'll hop on the road and go where the money takes me," says deJong.

It's a road 30 students at Wallace are currently taking.   And it's a step closer to a steady career for Gina.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney