Army veteran

(ABILENE, Texas) – The ability to work at his own pace is one reason Garrett Hamner enjoys Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program.

The U.S. Army veteran also knew welding would be a career path after his military service. Hamner credits his Jim Ned High School agriculture science teacher for his interest in welding.

“He raised and sold pigs and always needed a pen for them,” he said. “He asked me and a couple of classmates to weld the pens because we could pick up things easily. Since then, I have always enjoyed welding.”

During his three years in the Army, Hamner did not have the opportunity to weld, but knew he would later make it a career.

“Welding jobs are not boring because you are always working with your hands,” he said. “The pay is also pretty nice, especially if you have a degree.”

Hamner, who is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree, is keeping his options open after he graduates.

“I may open my own business, but if I work in a shop for a few years, that would make me happy,” he said. “I know that being your own welder and having a crew brings in more money. I am going to find the best path for me to make this a career.”

TSTC Welding Technology instructor Erik Barnes said Hamner has the determination to do good things no matter which way his career takes him.

“Garrett does a lot of good things in class and makes sure he knows it is the best possible project,” he said. “I know that he is going to be a good welder no matter if it is on his own or with a company. He has the determination to succeed.”

Hamner said having instructors like Barnes makes classes easier to attend.

“We have great teachers who are willing to work with you,” he said. “I can work through lunch so my day is shorter. If I miss a day of lab work, I know the instructors will be here another day so I can catch up.”

After his military service, Hamner looked to begin business school. He realized that was not his best option.

“I knew I wanted to do a trade,” he said. “My dad told me to look at TSTC because it has so many different programs. When I walked into the welding lab, I was quickly impressed.”

Hamner passed that impression on to his father.

“I took videos of the work bays and all of the equipment and my dad was blown away,” he said. “He knew that I made the right decision.”

Hamner plans to learn each aspect of welding and perfect his projects in order to succeed.

“I am excited to get better at each different weld we are taught,” he said. “The better I know how to do each technique, the better welder I will be.”

According to, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $45,000 in Texas. The number of these jobs is expected to increase 13% by 2028 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 welding 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

For more information on TSTC, visit

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