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Joe's Job: Welding Instructor ATI

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- There I was shadowing welding instructor Josh Beddingfield. He is an ATI graduate and worked commercially and returned to become an instructor.

On this day, he was walking me through virtual welding with his students. Checking how they did on such things as work angle, travel angle, travel speed and the arc length.

"When welding the arc length is one of the hardest things to do when you are welding. It's the size of the arc between the base metal and the electrode that's being consumed," he said.

Other instructors here teach things like automotive technology, diesel and heavy vehicle technology and HVAC and refrigeration. I was definitely the rookie, but Ed Miller has worked in the auto industry a total of 50 years.

"You have to have a love for automotive," he said.

"And if you don't then this job is not for you. But if you really love automotive and you want to share the information that you've acquired then this is a great job," said Miller.

I kept pushing my welding students to comment on the results of their virtual welds. Instructor Beddingfield was right, the arc length presented the biggest challenge. All four of my students said they could have done better. In the end, I asked campus president Dick Daigle if he thought I could make it as one of his instructors.

"Well I think Joe Flanagan would do great as a welding instructor as soon as he learned how to weld, a ha ha," he concluded.

Ha Ha!