(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – One year after participating in a high school welding contest at Texas State Technical College, Christian Chapla is proud to promote the college’s Welding Technology program to prospective students.
Chapla, of Newcastle, is working toward a certificate of completion in Structural Welding at TSTC this semester and is considering returning to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology.
Earlier this year, Chapla put down his welding torch and helped promote TSTC during the high school welding contest at the college’s Breckenridge campus.
“I spent the entire day bragging about the program, including our instructors, Stephen Hope and A.J. Lewis,” he said. “I told everyone I helped that even if you do not have the right equipment, TSTC is going to have it for you so you can learn to be a better welder.”
Chapla also told participants that he is proud to attend TSTC and will be earning his certificate this semester.
“I want these students to know how important it is to have a college certificate or degree in the business world,” he said.
Chapla is a first-generation welder who has improved each day, according to Lewis.
“Christian is always dependable, and he asks the right questions so he can improve,” Lewis said. “That shows in his welding capabilities because he is proficient in his work. Christian will continue to improve with time and will be a good welder.”
Chapla said having Hope and Lewis as instructors built his confidence.
“They want us to be confident in our work,” he said. “But the one thing they do not want us to become is too cocky in our work. If we get cocky in what we are doing, it will lead to mistakes. Stephen and A.J. are there … to make sure we do it the correct way.”
One advantage that Chapla said he noticed is how the lab sessions are operated.
“We are treated like we are in the workplace, which will be an advantage when we get in the field,” he said.
Chapla said his final semester of the certificate program brought different challenges. One area was angle pipe welding techniques.
“I had to really use my brain to make sure it was done correctly,” he said. “The one thing we cannot do in the field is mess up. If we mess up, it will put us behind because we have to do the work over. I am working to make sure the projects are done correctly so I do not have to repeat them.”
After earning his certificate, Chapla plans to work close to his hometown. He hopes to work for a company in Olney that produces agricultural aircraft.
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.