(ABILENE, Texas) – Bailey Crow is no stranger to working hard.
The Texas State Technical College Welding Technology student mowed yards as a child in order to buy his first welder. He is now studying for a certificate of completion to hone his skills in the field he loves.
“When I was a kid, I would weld art together,” he said. “I would go down to the railroad tracks and pick up spikes, and a family friend shoed horses and gave me the old shoes. I would take those kind of things and just weld stuff.”
Crow, of Merkel, continued his welding skills at the family tractor business in Tye.
“We work on old farm equipment and restore it,” he said. “We have gone all the way to Kansas to get some old equipment, and it is fun to restore it as a family.”
Instructor Erik Barnes sees Crow’s love for welding during lab sessions.
“He has shown a lot of attention to detail in his projects,” he said. “You can tell he has been welding for a long time. He is only going to improve by learning different techniques.”
One of those techniques is the tungsten inert gas (TIG) method, a process that produces the weld with a nonconsumable tungsten electrode.
“I never attempted TIG welding until this semester. It is a lot harder than I thought,” he said. “With practice, I know I will be able to get it down.”
Crow said he is able to work at his own pace and rely on Barnes and other instructors to show him proper techniques.
“The instructors are awesome,” he said. “They have a real understanding of welding and what people are looking for in an employee.”
Walking into the Abilene lab, Crow said he was impressed with what was available to students.
“I never expected to see what was here,” he said. “There is nice equipment, and we have room to work.”
Crow said he has come a long way since buying his first welder at a local hardware store.
“I hope to branch off from working on tractors one day,” he said. “I am going to leave my options open while continuing to work in the family business.”
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.