TCAT pipefitting students prepare for employment

Published 8:14 am Thursday, June 6, 2019

CONTRIBUTED — The Tennessee College of Applied Technology has recently formed a training partnership with National Boiler Services in Trenton, Ga., to enhance employment opportunities for graduates of the 12-month pipefitting training program.

College President Dean Blevins said Larry Brown, director of Human Resources for National Boiler Services, Trenton, Ga., will test pipefitting students recommended by Tim Pierce, instructor, for possible employment as boilermakers and pipefitters.

Brown said NBS was very pleased with the quality, skill sets and work ethic of the welders they had hired from TCAT Elizabethton and wanted to expand their partnership into other skill sets taught at the school. Brown said there is a big demand for boilermakers. “The entry level rate of pay for a boilermaker is $20 an hour and $110 a day per diem. The pay rate grows as you demonstrate mastery of the process.”

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Pierce has extensive experience in pipefitting. “Pipefitting at TCAT teaches students various pipe and welding fabrication techniques, including interpreting blueprints and specifications, making detailed sketches for pipe and equipment fabrication and installation,” Pierce said.

Pierce teaches students how to cut pipe using various hand power tools, measuring, cutting with blades and torches, threading, grooving, bending, soldering, brazing, welding, assembly, and joining and installing pipes and valves and fittings.

As a bonus to students, all graduates of pipefitting, industrial electricity and millwright training at TCAT Elizabethton are listed in the National Registry of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

The registry allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database. Safety guidelines suggested by NCCER are also followed in TCAT programs, Pierce said.

NBS was established in 1989 with a focus on safe, quality production. NBS is the boiler shutdown contractor of choice for power plants throughout North America. NBS averages 120 outages and 800,000 project hours annually, devoting more than 300 years of combined experience to servicing and installing industrial boilers and essential equipment.

Licensed to operate in 39 states, National Boiler Service has the experience and a professional and capable workforce database of more than 10,000 to complete jobs safely, on time, and with top-notch quality. Additional information about NBS may be found at

Following completion of the TCAT pipefitting program, graduates receive a diploma. Classes meet from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday at the TCAT Main Campus, 426 Highway 91 north, across from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport in the Watauga Industrial Park.

Students may apply for admission to TCAT Elizabethton online now and register for the pipefitting program. TCAT Elizabethton has an open entry-open exit program year round.

For additional information, contact TCAT Elizabethton, 423-543-0070, or visit