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Sparking a Friendly Competition Amongst High School Welders

Mar 01, 2024

Between the hammering, grinding, and sparks flying were smiles under the helmets. Fifty-four high school students from across the Palmetto State gathered at the Airport Campus on Friday, February 23, 2024 to participate in the annual S.C. High School Welding Competition. The annual competition brings together some of the most talented high school welders in a growing workforce.

Competitors were split and judged on two categories: Groove and Filet. A groove weld is used to create an opening in a weld joint to achieve necessary penetration. Filet welding joins together two pieces of metal at an angle or when perpendicular.

"You can be the greatest welder in the world but if you aren't able to work well and safe, then you aren't going to be a valuable employee," said Nick Legg, an MTC welding instructor who helps execute the competition. "These students need to be able to master the art of welding and control. They need good hand-eye coordination and to be able to hold the electrode steady to meet all the requirements." 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 432,000 openings in 2022 across the nation for welders with the median pay coming to $47,500 a year. Those in the field can specialize in different types of welding such as hyperbaric, boilermaker, or aerospace which could increase their annual/hourly wage, but can be more challenging and dangerous.

"Welding is dangerous," said MTC welding instructor Josh Smith. "You're working with flammable explosive gases. You've got sparks and flames, but you're taught all the safety precautions beforehand. And as you're learning, you are being taught what to do, how to do, all while being safe."

While the competition was a chance to sharpen their skills amongst peers, it was also a chance for the students to score big on prizes. Over $20,000 of new equipment, accessories, and machinery were up for grabs, with the top being a new welder costing approximately $3,000.

Welding competition for high school students in SC

WLTX News 19 - February 23, 2024

Category 1 Fillets
1929Lexington Technology Center
2908Sumter Career & Technology Center
3883Wagener-Salley High School
4874Wagener-Salley High School
5865Donaldson Career Center
6851J. Harley Bonds Career Center
7847Sumter Career & Technology Center
88212Barnwell County Career Center
8822J. Harley Bonds Career Center
88221Swansea High School
98029May River High School
107824Battery Creek High School
107822Swansea High School
117730May River High School
117714Cope Area Career Center
127611Barnwell County Career Center
127610Lexington Technology Center
137531Center for Advanced Technical Studies
13756Donaldson Career Center
137513Cope Area Career Center
147427Bamberg High School
147423Battery Creek High School
157319Lexington 2 Innovation Center
167220Lexington 2 Innovation Center
167216Fairfield Career & Technology Center
176628Bamberg High School
186532Center for Advanced Technical Studies
195018Fairfield Career & Technology Center

Category 2: Groove

19935Wagener-Salley High School
29836Wagener-Salley High School
39533J. Harley Bonds Career Center
49441Lexington Technology Center
59334J. Harley Bonds Career Center
69162Center for Advanced Technical Studies
79060May River High School
88961May River High School
  889  54Swansea High School
98853Swansea High School
108644Barnwell County Career Center
118539Sumter Career & Technology Center
118549Fairfield Career & Technology Center
128356Battery Creek High School
138238Donaldson Career Center
138255Battery Creek High School
147851Fairfield Career & Technology Center
147859Andrews High School
157642Lexington Technology Center
167452Lexington 2 Innovation Center
177046Cope Area Career Center
177057Andrews High School
186937Donaldson Career Center
196845Barnwell County Career Center
206147Cope Area Career Center
215763Center for Advanced Technical Studies