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    19 Best welding schools 2023

    Brandes Gress
    Brandes Gress

    Brandes Gress assists the content team with the management of daily operational activities, ensures content is published on a timely and accurate basis, and works on content-related projects.

    19 Best welding schools 2023
    Contents

      Attending a welding school gives you a professional advantage over other welders.

      The best welding schools will give you the skills you need without bogging you down with debt.

      Pipeline welders, underwater welders, and ironworkers can make up to $100,000 a year.

      www.degreechoices.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

      Success starts with a spark

      Find an accredited welding school near you

      Welding is like sewing…with fire. Instead of joining two pieces of flower-print fabric together with a needle and thread, you’re binding materials with scorching temperatures using torch rigs, welding guns, and even laser beams.

      Why are welders in such high demand? It’s their ability to dive into a wide range of industries, including the big 3: manufacturing, construction, and energy.

      To do this, welders need to be trained properly. There are many ways to learn welding, but attending one of the best welding schools in the U.S. can bring you success in today’s job market and the ever-changing welding industry.

      Is it worth it going to welding school?

      Attending a welding school provides students with practical knowledge and hands-on experience under the guidance of seasoned welders. As technology and manufacturing processes become increasingly complex, there’s a growing need for extensive training.

      Not only that, but with certification and education to back your experience, welders are able to negotiate higher salaries and are more competitive in the job market.

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      byu/bdmdlwobab from discussion
      inWelding

      Welders with the right education and specialized welding skills can find jobs that pay up to $100,000 a year. Pipeline welders, underwater welders, and ironworkers can all make up to six figures a year without being in a cubicle.

      www.degreechoices.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

      Weighing your welding training options

      The most common ways to become a welder are industry certifications and post-secondary programs, but there are many ways a welder can learn the tricks of the trade.

      Welding school (7 months – 2 years)Trade schools aim to get graduates ready to work. This means career-focused curriculums and hands-on training. While many employers prefer welders with the right credentials, this option could be expensive depending on the school.

      Apprenticeship (3 – 4 years) – After completing formal training, the apprenticeship phase begins. During this stage, a trainee assists an experienced professional welder while working with actual clients. When the apprenticeship is finished, the trainee earns the “journeyman” title, showing they have gained all necessary practical experience in welding. This is a great option for students who want to earn money while they learn. You don’t need to pay for any additional schooling, but this process can take up to 4 years.

      Welding degree (2 – 6 years) – Community colleges offer associate degrees in welding while bachelor’s degrees can be found at 4-year universities. This is a good option for students who want to take courses outside of welding like writing, math, and humanities, but might not be the best idea for those who want to stay welding-focused.

      On-the-job training – Learning over the shoulder of another welder is a traditional route, but may give you a limited welding skillset and may not transfer easily to other companies. However, this is ideal for students who are ready to get their hands dirty and need to make money now.

      Welding courses – Community colleges offer welding courses for students who want to explore the field and earn a certificate or diploma or just take a class to be sure it’s right for them. This route gives students more freedom to explore or get entry-level certification, but is limited to lower-division coursework.

      Best welding schools in the US

      The following are the best welding schools based on our ranking methodology. We take government data to calculate schools that have the best return on investment (ROI). If a school or program has good ROI, it means the average graduate earns a salary that outweighs the cost of the degree. For our economic score, a lower score is better.

      These are the programs that not only give you what you need to excel professionally, but won’t burn your savings account to get a job in welding.

      #1 in Welding
      Economic score 0.43

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $3,828

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $51,031

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 47%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Here, students spend 80% of their time in the welding shop. They prioritize hands-on learning and keep classroom learning to a minimum. ECC provides a 2-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Fabrication Technology, along with 3 fundamental welding certificates and 1 vocational welding certificate. They offer morning, afternoon, and evening classes for their students.  

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      #2 in Welding

      Delta College

      University Center, Michigan

      Economic score 0.48

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $4,268

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $50,856

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 32%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Delta College is a public community college in University Center, Michigan. They provide students with hands-on training and intimate class sizes to prepare future welders for employment. Delta has 2 welding certificate programs and an associate program. They make earning your degree more convenient by offering classes at night, on weekends, and online. Plus, with 3 centers available, you can take classes closer to where you live. All their programs are AWS SENSE certified. 

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      #3 in Welding
      Economic score 0.68

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $7,190

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $53,879

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 37%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      SCC offers both full- and part-time schedules for their associate degree, certificate, and diploma programs in welding technology. The classes and training at this school meet the industry standards of the American Welding Society, American Petroleum Institute, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Students will recieve comprehensive practical training that covers up-to-date welding methods and processes, metallurgy, both destructive and nondestructive testing, inspection techniques, and more.   

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      #4 in Welding

      West Shore Community College

      Scottville, Michigan

      Economic score 0.69

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $2,963

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $40,485

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 42%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      In 1967, West Shore was founded on a 365-acre campus located between Ludington and Manistee in Mason County, Michigan. Since the beginning they’ve been committed to education and preparing students to enter the workforce. Their welding programs are no exception. They offer associate and certificate programs that cover topics like oxy and arc welding, welding technology, blueprint reading, and metallurgy.  

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      #5 in Welding
      Economic score 0.78

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $12,429

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $62,704

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 42%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      CLC offers a welding and fabrication diploma and associate degree. At CLC, students acquire proficiency in welding processes, cutting methods, metallurgy, fabrication, blueprint reading, and mathematics. Upon successfully finishing the program, students will be ready to take welding certification exams and job entry assessments. The welding and fabrication field is ideal for the someone who enjoys hands-on work.  

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      #6 in Welding

      Central Piedmont Community College

      Charlotte, North Carolina

      Economic score 0.85

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $5,710

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $46,439

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 32%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      At the James Turner Institute of Welding Technology at Central Piedmont students can choose from an associate degree, a diploma, or several specialized welding technology certificates. CPCC has an entire department dedicated to connecting students with internships, apprentiships, and more. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available to fit every future welder’s needs.  

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      #7 in Welding
      Economic score 0.85

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $9,421

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $54,954

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 68%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Established in 1905 with only 15 students, Thaddeus Stevens College has expanded to accommodate over 1,300 students and offers 24 technical programs that focus on high-skill, high-wage fields. They offer associate and certificate programs in welding technology that prepare students for entry-level employment in the welding industry. Students will fuse theory with hands-on training in a variety of welding specialties including blueprint reading and advanced computer aided design, oxy-fuel welding and related processes, basic shielded metal arc welding, basic gas metal arc welding, and more.  

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      #8 in Welding

      Casper College

      Casper, Wyoming

      Economic score 0.86

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $7,044

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $49,436

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 43%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Casper College offers students either a welding certificate program or an associate degree in welding. Students gain proficiency in numerous arc and gas welding techniques, and master manual dexterity as they join different metals. Casper College prioritizes safety practices and effective equipment maintenance. Instructors hold certifications from the American Welding Society and continually undergo training to remain current with industry standards. 

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      #9 in Welding
      Economic score 0.92

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $8,721

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $51,948

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 40%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      In the heart of Milwaukee, MATC offers future welders the choice between a welding certificate, technical diploma, or associate degree. They have convenient campus locations featuring state-of-the-art labs and equipment. The welding fabrication degree can be completed in just 21 months, or students can opt for the 10-month certificate instead. For those more comfortable learning in Spanish, the associate program is offered in bilingual mode.  

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      #10 in Welding
      Economic score 0.92

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $6,338

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $46,692

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 43%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Chemeketa has different certificate and associate programs to kickstart your welding career. Whether you’re interested in advanced arc, MIG, or TIG welding, Chemeketa has you covered. Students who complete a welding degree or certificate can pursue careers in various fields such as robotics, motor sports, military support, shipbuilding and repair, project management, inspections, engineering, education, and sales. Upon completion, students have the option to take the AWS certification tests.  

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      #11 in Welding

      Eastern Wyoming College

      Torrington, Wyoming

      Economic score 0.99

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $6,068

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $45,087

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 47%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Established in 1980, the Eastern Wyoming College welding program has drawn in students from all over the country for decades. All the instructors at EWC hold certifications from the American Welding Society. With 10 to 45 years of hands-on experience as welders, collectively they have over 100 years of combined expertise in the field. They offer numerous certificate and degree programs that can take anywhere from 1 – 4 semesters to complete. Although students will be given 48 destructive tests, 57 visual tests, and 52 written tests when pursuing a degree – they will also be welding…a lot. EWC usually goes through 20,000 lbs. of filler metal and produce 40,000 lbs. of scrap, so graduates are prepared for anything and everything. 

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      #12 in Welding
      Economic score 1.10

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $11,084

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $53,162

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 52%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      In welding, having the right credentials can make finding employment much smoother. NDSCS is a certified facility under the AWS SENSE program. They offer AWS Level I and Level II certification, and collaborates as an educational partner with Weld-Ed, the National Center for Welding Education and Training. Students have the option to complete either a certificate or associate degree in welding technology. 

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      #13 in Welding

      Kirkwood Community College

      Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Economic score 1.13

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $9,906

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $50,579

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 34%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Kirkwood Community College is located on the edges of Cedar Rapid, Iowa. Here, you have the opportunity to attain certifications in various welding processes according to American Welding Society codes, such as shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, and gas tungsten arc welding. They offer an advanced welding technology associate degree and an entry-level welder diploma. Both of these programs prepare students for credentials from the American Welding Society.  

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      #14 in Welding
      Economic score 1.29

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $10,463

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $49,323

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 38%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      TSTC offers welding technology programs on all 10 of their campuses. They offer AAS degrees in welding technology and certificates in welding technology, structural welding, and advanced pipe specialization. They’re committed to arming future welders with the skills needed for a successful welding career by learning from educated teachers and using top-of-the-line technology. TSTC is not only committed to providing students with the best hands-on education, but also guarantee they’ll land a job within 6 months of graduation or their money back. TSTC truly is putting their money where their mouth is.  

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      #15 in Welding
      Economic score 1.42

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $12,481

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $50,656

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 70%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      State Tech offers students the choice between a 2-year associate degree or several 1-year certification programs. Their advanced laboratory includes 44 brand-new Lincoln welders, an industrial-sized CNC plasma table, and even a robotic welder. Their associate program has a 93% job placement rate, and prepares students for the AWS SENSE Level I Entry Welders and Level II Advanced Welders certification exams.   

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      #16 in Welding

      Grand Rapids Community College

      Grand Rapids, Michigan

      Economic score 1.44

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $8,595

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $44,742

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 31%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      With one of the largest welding facilities in the Midwest, GRCC has seen its graduates excel in various industries such as aerospace, boiler and piping, as well as construction and restoration welding. They offer certificate programs in welding, welding skills, and welding fabrication. GRCC also offers an associate-level program in welding technology for those who want to turn up the heat. Students get flexible class scheduling, the ability to gain work experience through co-op courses, and a chance to bypass courses by passing challenge exams.  

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      #17 in Welding

      Anoka Technical College

      Anoka, Minnesota

      Economic score 1.66

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $13,236

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $52,941

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 40%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Anoka Technical College offers many welding education options. Ranging from diplomas and certificates all the way to associate degrees, students can choose if they want to purse a traditional welding program, welding fabrication certificate, or a robotic and laser welding program. All programs prepare students for the AWS certification exam, give them hands-on training from industry experts, and prepare them for a career in welding in a variety of competitive industries. 

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      #18 in Welding
      Economic score 1.68

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $8,600

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $42,682

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 29%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Bevill State Community College is a public community college in Sumiton, Alabama. They offer long-term or short-term certificates in welding technology or associate degrees for students who might be interested in an apprentiship after completion. Bevill State Welding Technology program has consistently achieved a placement rate exceeding 80% for its graduates, and a significant number of students secure employment even before graduating. 

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      #19 in Welding

      Lake Area Technical College

      Watertown, South Dakota

      Economic score 1.69

      Our economic score ranks programs based on a combination of payback and EarningsPlus. Lower scores are better. Check our methodology page for details and data sources.

      Cost $13,301

      The median net cost of students who receive federal financial aid. This is lower than the price advertised by the school.

      Earnings $48,824

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Graduation rate 75%

      Graduation rates below average for online associate degrees nationally (42%) are show in red. Schools with graduation rates in the bottom 25% nationally (28%) are not ranked and are displayed at the end of the ranking list.

      Lake Area Tech has 31 academic programs in high-demand fields and a 99% graduate placement rate. They offer a 2-year associate degree in welding technology with an optional exit point for those only interested in a diploma. Lake Area Tech’s welding programs have extensive hands-on training in numerous areas with training in metal fabrication. Graduates of their program are eligible to take AWS certifications.  

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      Welding technology classes at community college

      Many of the colleges on our list of best welding schools are community colleges. One of the benefits of attending a community college is the career-focused curriculum at an affordable price. Many students are able to take certificate, diploma, or associate programs in welding at a lower cost compared to traditional welding schools or 4-year universities.

      Comment
      byu/bdmdlwobab from discussion
      inWelding

      Welding has gotten increasingly complex because of technological advancements in recent years, so employers want welders who know their stuff. Attending welding technology classes at a community college ensures you’re graduating with everything you need to know about welding.

      The future of welding

      According to the American Welding Society, in 2023 the U.S was short 375,000 skilled welders. The demand for welders is constant. From underwater welders to work on off-shore oil rigs to structural welders working on bridges and skyscrapers, new welders are needed now more than ever.

      Attending one of the best welding schools in the country will ensure you’re ready for the challenge.

      FAQ

      The fastest way to become a welder is by attending a technical school or community college. These programs typically take a year or less to complete. Associate degrees in welding can take up to 2 years.

      The expenses for welding school can vary widely, spanning from as low as $5,000 to as high as $30,000. The tuition for welding programs is influenced by factors like the program’s duration, location within the state or region, and the nature of the training provided.

      Welding technology degrees are typically only offered at the certificate, diploma, or associate levels. But, for students who are interested in a challenge, welding engineering programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate level.

      www.degreechoices.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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