ARCHDALE — Randolph Community College’s Archdale Welding Center has been named an Accredited Testing Facility (ATF) by the American Welding Society. The AWS Accredited Test Facility program establishes minimum requirements for test facilities, their personnel and equipment to qualify for accreditation to test and qualify welders. RCC’s testing program can test welders from anyone of eight different codes and standards.


The designation means that RCC’s Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) can test welders for the American Welding Society certifications that are recognized anywhere in the world, said Michael Ford, department head and CWI for Welding Technology at RCC. Ford said it took over a year of work to gain the certification, which included implementing a quality assurance program and writing a Quality Manual that controls the activities related to the testing of welders.


“Under the exceptional leadership of Michael Ford, our welding program has attained the very highest level of quality and excellence,” said RCC President Bob Shackleford. “This AWS Testing Facility accreditation opens wonderful new doors of opportunity for our students and graduates.”


RCC is one of only five AWS Accredited Testing Facilities sites in North Carolina. Students receiving an AWS certified welder certification will be in high demand from local companies. All graduating Diploma and Certificate students will be tested.


RCC’s Welding Center in Archdale is getting ready to go through an expansion to add about 10 additional welding booths. Approximately 2,000 square feet of classroom and office space will be converted into lab space to accommodate more students. The college’s Curriculum Welding Technology program has experienced high enrollment in the last several years and is at maximum enrollment for the fall 2018 semester, said Ford. The demand for qualified welders in the workplace continues to be high.