(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Tabitha Bishop is making her family proud by being its first person to attend college.
The Gatesville native is planning to earn her certificate of completion later this year in Structural Welding at Texas State Technical College.
“My family is so proud of what I am doing and learning here,” she said. “My dad is stoked to hear about the things I can do.”
Bishop said her college experience is better than she had imagined.
“I thought it was going to be more like a high school,” she said. “We would be in here listening to instructors and then doing a little work. I love the way our instructors provide us an education.”
Bishop said instructor Daniel Aguirre makes each student feel like a family member.
“It is a real family environment,” she said. “We get in here and discuss what we are doing. We get in the booth and get the job done. The people in the main building are just as excited to see us succeed. This is the best place to receive an education.”
Bishop’s prior welding experience was not at the beginner level, Aguirre said.
“She is a mechanic and wanted to come to school to learn more,” he said. “She had already been welding professionally but needed to further her education. She is very dedicated to her work, which will make her a valuable employee.”
Bishop began welding by working on her family’s race cars.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could about welding,” she said. “So I threw myself into it and have not looked back. My dad and uncle showed me what to do. I have not stopped since then.”
Bishop said she wanted to learn more about tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding and fabrication welding.
“I picked up TIG welding in one day,” she said. “The instructors are able to show us exactly what we need to do in order to perfect the technique. I have enjoyed being able to do the TIG welding now that I know what to do.”
When it comes to fabrication welding, Bishop knows it will be a challenge.
“I am looking forward to learning more about building structures,” she said. “The fabrication part of the class will be the most fun for me.”
When she completes the certificate program, Bishop said she has many career options.
“I may go work on the pipelines or continue my education by learning underwater welding,” she said. “I could even work for a mechanic shop and weld mufflers and work under the engine. I know I will be prepared for any career choice.”
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.