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WDT to begin programs in HVAC and Plumbing

Western Dakota Tech is addressing the needs of the workforce by starting new diploma programs in HVAC Technology and Plumbing Technology.

WDT is now accepting applications for the nine-month programs. Classes will begin in the fall 2013 semester that begins in August.

"Skilled employees are needed in these fields," WDT President Mark Wilson said. "These programs will give students the skills they need to be successful in careers that are in-demand."

Both programs have been designed with industry input so the courses will provide the skills students need.

Graduates of the HVAC Technology program will be able to:

  • Design residential and light commercial central heating and air conditioning systems

  • Install, troubleshoot, and repair residential and light commercial heating and air conditioning equipment

  • Design, fabricate and install forced air and hot water distribution systems

  • Install a wide range of oil and gas boilers and forced-air furnaces

  • Design, fabricate, and install home and light commercial ventilation systems, including both exhaust and fresh air make-up exchangers

Students also will prepare for and take the universal HVAC certification exam so they are qualified to handle all types of refrigerant.

Graduates of the Plumbing Technology program will have skills in:

  • Piping techniques and procedures

  • Plumbing and piping systems

  • Residential and commercial system installations

  • Blueprint reading and isometric interpretation

Employment trends in both career fields show that jobs are available now and will be in the future as the need for trained technicians grows.

Employment of HVAC mechanics and installers is expected to grow 34 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growing number of sophisticated climate-control systems is also expected to increase demand for qualified HVAC technicians.

The median annual wage of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers was $42,530 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,490, and the top 10 percent earned more than $66,930.

Employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for plumbers is expected to come from new building construction and stricter water efficiency standards for plumbing systems, such as low-flow toilets and showerheads.

The median annual wage of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters was $46,660 in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,580, and the top 10 percent earned more than $79,920.

Western Dakota Tech is the only technical institute that serves the western South Dakota region. WDT offers more than 20 programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction Trades, Health Services, Legal and Public Services, Manufacturing and Mechanical Trades, and Science and Technology. More than 96 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and 90 percent remain in South Dakota.

WDT faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, WDT students graduate ready to make real and immediate contributions to their employers and their communities.

For information about WDT, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit WDT on the web at

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