(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Jose Garcia decided that he wanted to learn more about welding.
He did not let his age, 47, stop him from enrolling in Welding Technology at Texas State Technical College. Now in his second semester studying for a certificate of completion in Structural Welding, Garcia is pleased that he made the choice to begin college.
“I told my mom before she passed away that I wanted to go back to school,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about welding and pick up more techniques.”
Despite having had some previous welding experience, Garcia, of Brownwood, said it has been a challenging experience for him in the lab.
“I have learned different things, including the basics,” he said. “My goal is to weld consistently and keep my beads (welding joints) perfect.”
Garcia said having instructors with real-world experience has helped him learn different techniques.
“Daniel (Aguirre) and Salvador (Marquez) are awesome instructors,” he said. “They know what they are doing because they have been out there working. They are able to give us objectives that we can finish and make ourselves better welders.”
Marquez said Garcia is a student who is dedicated to learning everything he can.
“He is working hard to better his life for himself and his family,” he said. “Like many of our students, he wants to get a career opportunity. In a few months, he will have his certificate and the tools to be successful.”
Garcia said his decision to return to school at his age was easy. His family is supporting him and waiting for the day he receives his certificate.
“I am doing this to better myself and my family. I want to show my children that you can do anything at any age,” he said.
Garcia also offered advice for other people his age.
“Age does not matter. If you want to go back to school to further your education, do it,” he said. “I am 47 and did not ever think I would come back to school. I am glad I did.”
He said TSTC would be the perfect place for anyone who plans to begin a welding career.
“I will tell anyone that this is the place to go. You feel like you are someone every day,” he said. “The instructors and everyone else on campus are awesome.”
According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $47,000 in Texas. Welding jobs were expected to increase 23% between 2020 and 2030 in the state, according to the website.
TSTC offers Welding Technology at each of its 10 campuses located throughout Texas. Welding Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. The college’s commitment to participating students is simple: If they do not have a job in their field within six months of graduation, they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information on the Money-Back Guarantee program, visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/tuition/.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.