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Western Dakota Tech Launching New Plumbing Technology Program

Western Dakota Tech is excited to announce a new Plumbing Technology program that will prepare students for good-paying, high-demand jobs while offering the benefits and experience of hands-on learning.

The college will begin offering a Plumbing Technology nine-month certificate, and 12-month diploma, in the Fall 2017 semester. Construction of a state-of-the-art plumbing lab will soon begin in the main campus building. 

"Plumbing jobs are in-demand on a local, state and national level. That makes the Plumbing program a great fit for Western Dakota Tech," said Western Dakota Tech's Vice President for Teaching and Learning, Tiffany Howe. "This program is aligned with industry expectations and focused on student success."

The Western Dakota Tech Plumbing program will provide students with technical understanding and skills development and integrates theory with practical experience. Through the program, students develop skills in piping techniques and procedures, plumbing and piping systems, residential and commercial system installations, blueprint reading and isometric interpretation. The successful graduate is eligible for one-year credit on his or her apprenticeship card and employment at an advanced apprenticeship level in a variety of businesses found in rural and metropolitan areas.

Walter Cline will lead the Plumbing Technology program. He is a Rapid City Plumbing Contractor and State of South Dakota Plumbing Contractor. Cline has worked in residential and commercial plumbing in South Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota, and has operated his own plumbing business in Rapid City.

“I have 25-years of experience in plumbing. It is my goal to provide a lot of knowledge and hands-on experience for someone to come out of this program a better, more valued candidate for employment,” Cline said.

Individuals who enjoy math, mental and physical challenges, should consider a career in plumbing, according to Cline.

“You can go as far as you want to with plumbing. You can stay close to home and work primarily in homes or you can work commercially and go about anywhere,” Cline said.  “As a plumber, I have enjoyed on-the-job challenges, working with people, and seeing a lot of stuff I built around town. A career in plumbing can be rewarding and fulfilling.”

Labor market information for South Dakota and the nation shows there is a high demand for plumbers now and in the future. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters in South Dakota is expected to grow by 9.7 percent, according to the South Dakota Labor Market Information Center. Nationally, the number of plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations - about 12 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the 2016 median annual wage of plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters was $51,450 per year; in Rapid City it was $45,880.

Registration for the new Plumbing Technology program goes through Aug.  21, with classes beginning that day. To register, or for more information about the Plumbing program, call Western Dakota Tech Admissions at (605) 718-2565 or email


About Western Dakota Tech

Western Dakota Tech was established in 1968 and is the only technical college that serves the western South Dakota region.

Western Dakota Tech offers programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction and Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Health Sciences, Legal and Public Services, and Transportation Technologies.

More than 96 percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military.

Western Dakota Tech 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, Western Dakota Tech students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contribution to their employers and to their communities.

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

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