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Western Arkansas Technical Center

WATC is Your Gateway to a Successful Career

The Western Arkansas Technical Center (WATC) stands apart from traditional educational centers, and that's why our graduates are highly sought after by employers. Since 1998 WATC has delivered cutting-edge technical and career programs to high school students across 22 districts in the River Valley. In that time, nearly 10,000 juniors and seniors have earned more than 100,000 college credit hours, gaining the skills necessary to advance their careers.

Why Choose WATC?

  • Innovative Programming: Our career-focused courses are designed in collaboration with some of the nation's largest manufacturers and taught by experienced faculty from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

  • Hands-On Learning: Students use industry-leading technology at both the AV campus and, thanks to a partnership with Fort Smith Public Schools, the state-of-the-art

  • Direct Career Pathways: Though WATC programs, students gain direct connections to regional career opportunities, earn competitive salaries upon high school graduation, and prepare to thrive in college.

  • College Credit: Courses are taught by AV faculty, which means you earn college credit while you learn. You gain new skills and a head start on your college degree.

Your Future Starts Here

Join WATC to experience a hands-on approach to learning, gain valuable industry exposure, and prepare for a successful career. Whether you aim to enter the workforce immediately or continue your education, WATC equips you with the skills and credentials you need to succeed.

Interested or have a general question? or feel free to contact us at 479-788-7720 or by email at WATC@uafs.edu.

Start Your WATC Enrollment Application

WATC Overview


What We Do

WATC has three primary goals which define our purpose:

  1. To aid students in making an informed career choice. Students select a technical program based on their interests and aptitudes. Their experiences in the program help them to make career choices.
  2. To prepare students to enter the workforce upon high school graduation. The programs provided by AV to WATC students lead to a professional certification, a certificate of proficiency, or a technical certificate from AV. These equal marketable job skills.
  3. To encourage students to continue their education after high school. AV classes successfully completed by students enrolled through the WATC program are credited at both the high school and college levels. Students can finish their technical program with as many as 40 hours toward a degree or advanced certification program.

Who We Serve

WATC serves high school students from Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Scott, and Sebastian counties in Arkansas. Services are offered at no cost to the students. WATC provides books, tuition, and fees thanks to funding made available by the Department of Workforce Education and a training fee paid by the local school districts.


To supplement classroom exposure, students gain practical experience during later-term apprenticeships which are modeled to provide real-world learning. Apprenticeships are completed throughout the student's senior year, allowing them to capitalize on the technical concurrent college credit courses offered through Peak and WATC. The ongoing aligned support of our K-12 partners is critical to a student's successful transition into the workplace or their pursuit of a college degree.

Changing perceptions about the value an apprenticeship has for both students and industry requires an adjustment of delivery methods and expectations. Students are expected to hone the professional and technical skills that will allow them to become competitive candidates in the workplace.

Our apprenticeships hold high expectations for industry partners. To participate in the program and engage with the diverse and proficient talent being produced through the technical centers, companies are required to demonstrate their commitment to our modern apprenticeship model.