SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s a specialty job in high demand, and American River College is trying to help fill the gap.

Around 374,000 welding jobs are up for grabs across the country. To help meet that need, ARC hosted a job expo on Saturday to try and match students to local welding companies.

“It’s exciting. You get a sense of self-worth from it. It’s an art,” said Jason Summers, a welder from Citrus Heights. “When you put down a nice weld you feel proud.”

Summers has been a welder for more than five years now and is hoping others will join the ranks too.

According to the American Welding Society, the country is facing a major shortage.

“The market is red hot. They cannot get enough welders in the welding field right now,” said ARC welding teacher Mark Reese. “According to AWS, by 2020, there will be a deficiency of 300,000 welders in the marketplace.”

Reese says the average age of a welder today is 55. Right now, he says the industry needs eager self-starters who like to work with their hands.

“We certify here. We’re an accredited test facility with the American Welding Society. We do lots of lab time but we have the knowledge end as well,” Reese said.

Summers even recruited his wife Rebecca to see if she, too, has the right stuff for the job.

She scored an 82 percent on her test and says it’s an industry she’d like to see more women get involved in.

“I think that most of them would be pretty awesome at it,” Rebecca said.

Reese says the pay for welders can vary depending on location and experience, but says salaries can easily reach the six-figure mark.

  1. I am a welder and I don’t see the higher income. Looking to get into a better paying industry

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