Students from area high schools are able to get a head start on their futures through Northcentral Technical College (NTC)’s welding and health academies. 

NTC’s Wausau, Antigo and Phillips campuses each have a welding academy, and the Medford campus has a health academy. The academies allow students to earn college credits, and even technical diplomas before they graduate high school.  

Basic welding academy students earn a Gas Metal Arc Welding technical diploma, and advanced welding academy students earn Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and Flux Cored Arc Welding technical diplomas. Health academy students take health courses and earn credits for Medical Terminology, General Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Life Support CPR and Introduction to HESI.  

“It’s a big deal and a big accomplishment,” said Crystal Witt-Whybrow, pre-college student specialist. “A lot of them are balancing high school course work, sports, extracurricular activities and even working part-time.”  

The academies give students who have an interest in the fields the opportunity to explore a potential career before they even graduate high school.  

Blake Conant and Bode Nelson completed both the basic and advanced welding academies at the Antigo campus. They earned four technical diplomas from NTC before even graduating high school.  

When they first started the academy, they had an interest in welding but were not sure if it was the career they wanted to pursue. Now, both are employed in the field and plan to have careers in welding. Through the academy, they were able to learn different types of welding, preparing them for the future.  

“I’d recommend other high school students interested in welding do the academy,” Bode said. “It’s a good learning experience, and you learn a lot of good life skills.”  

The number of credits earned depends on which welding academy students attend. The welding academy at the Phillips campus is 15 credits. Students in the welding academy at the Wausau campus earn 12 credits. The basic welding academy at the Antigo campus is 13 credits, and the advanced welding academy is nine credits.  

“They’ve come a long way and should be very proud of what they’re accomplishing,” said Jesse Richardson, welding instructor. “They have a great skillset, and the sky is the limit.”  

This was the first year for the health academy at the Medford campus, and it gave high school students an introduction to the field of healthcare. For Sydney Falteisek, it was the perfect opportunity. She plans to study nursing and will be attending NTC in the fall.  

“I’ve wanted to go into healthcare for a long time,” she said. “The academy was great because I have so many credits done already; it puts me ahead of the game.”  

Students in the health academy earned 11.1 credits. 

Karen Simington, faculty, nursing assistant (CNA), said the health academy is a great way for high school students to get a feel for what it’s like to work in the healthcare field without making a large commitment.  

“It gets them out there and gives them a feel for what it’s like,” she said. “If you’re thinking about going into healthcare, try a class in that field to see if it’s really what you want to do.”  

Ken Parker, associate dean of the School of Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, offered a few words of wisdom to the academy graduates during the celebration in Antigo.  

“As you go through life, learn from people who have more knowledge and more experience,” he said. “Stay coachable. Don’t ever think you’ve learned it all.”  

To recognize all of their accomplishments, each academy held a celebration for the students.  

Antigo Basic Welding Academy Students posing while standing against a wall

Antigo Basic Welding Academy Students: Gabe Arrowood, Mitchell Hotchkiss, Preston Knapkavage, Dylan Matuszewski, Devin Pool and Carter Wassen (not in order)

Antigo Advanced Welding Academy students posing while standing against a wall.

Antigo Advanced Welding Academy Students: Blake Conant, Riley Guenthner, Nicholas Klemann and Bode Nelson (not in order)

Phillips Welding Academy students posing with their completion certificates.

Phillips Welding Academy Students: Cadin Adams, Dominic Cain, Tristan Hoffman, Evan Hollinger, Bradley Kerner, Ethan Michek, Jason Mulligan, John Rogers, Dylan Sinnott, Jocelyn Stovall, Daniel Wible and Nathanael Zogata (not in order)

Wausau Welding Academy students posing with their completion certificates.

Wausau Welding Academy Students: Logan Ebben, Zach Olson, Parker Pietrowski, Jeidan Petterson and Jacob Rhyner  (not in order)

Medford Health Academy students posing outside in front of the NTC Medford Campus building, showing off their completion certificates.

Medford Health Academy Students: Max Adams, Halle Bender, Natasha Butt, Briseida Escalera, Stephany Espino, Sydney Falteisek, Ana Flores-Garcia, Hailey Geiger, Frankie Rodriguez-Castro, Heber Sanchez-Dominiguez, Reagan Schraufnagel and Esmeralda Vasquez-Chacon (not in order)