(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Joel Burnside set a goal when he enrolled in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program.

Studying for a certificate of completion, Burnside wants to spend his time at TSTC learning all he can from the instructors in order to get into the field of welding.

“I know that I am only going to be in this program for one year, and for me that is just a blink of an eye in my lifetime,” he said. “I want to take advantage of this one year and learn all I can before I get to work.”

Burnside hopes to begin his welding career working in a fabrication shop, but he does have a higher goal.

“I want to save my nickels and dimes and open my own contractor company,” he said.

Before he gets into the field, Burnside is improving upon the skills he learned while welding in high school at TSTC.

“I began welding in high school as a freshman,” he said. “I was able to learn the basics, and it just took off from there.”

At TSTC, Burnside said the instructors are teaching him more about the welding process. He is currently working on the tungsten inert gas (TIG) method.

“I never did the TIG method before, and I can see the difference. It looks better than other forms,” he said. “I know it is a tedious process, but the outcome is what makes the method fun.”

Burnside, of San Angelo, learned about TSTC’s welding program from his brother, who was enrolled in Automotive Technology at the college.

“I only heard good things about the program from people I talked to,” he said. “I know this will be the place to prepare me for a career.”

Instructor Taylor Elston said the new students are quickly learning new techniques.

“This is a good group of students, and they are learning fast,” he said. “All of them are going to be good welders.”

Burnside said he is using his time at TSTC as preparation for the workforce.

“Welding is an experience-based job, and that is how I am treating my time here. I want to learn as much as I can and apply it at a job,” he said. “I know that the more experience I have, the more I will be paid. I am going to take as many pointers as I can from my instructors.”

According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $45,000 in Texas. These jobs are 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 https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/tuition/.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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