(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Since the age of 13, Cameron Dirickson knew that he wanted to attend Texas State Technical College.
Dirickson, of Comanche, is studying for a certificate of completion in Welding Technology, with plans to follow in a family member’s footsteps.
“My cousin has been a welder for a long time and owns his business,” he said. “I have seen how much money he has been able to make the past few years, and I knew I wanted to do the same thing.”
Dirickson said TSTC was always part of his plan for college.
“I looked at the different programs offered and knew when I was 13 that TSTC would be my No. 1 choice for college,” he said. “I have not been disappointed with what I have been able to learn while attending college.”
Dirickson said he started TSTC’s program with some welding experience but has quickly seen himself improve. Instructor Taylor Elston is pleased that Dirickson has been able to learn more than the basics.
“We have a great group of welding students right now, and they are only going to get better,” Elston said. “These students are willing to put in the time and effort to become better, including Cameron.”
Dirickson said during his high school welding class, instructors only focused on the fundamentals and basics.
“Our TSTC instructors are showing us the techniques we need to use to become better welders,” he said. “We are able to work at our own pace, which is helpful for some of the projects. We can be proficient in each aspect of our work.”
Dirickson said he also knows when it is time to finish a project.
“The instructors are not going to push you too much, but when we get to the end of a project, we know,” he said. “We are going to need to pick up our pace while also making sure we are doing the best we can.”
One aspect that Dirickson was eager to learn was the art of tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding.
“We did some TIG welding during our first semester and have been able to do more this time around,” he said. “Taylor offers several tips on how to do it and be successful. It has been fun learning the different techniques.”
When he returns home, Dirickson likes to show pictures of his work to his friends.
“My actual high school welds were not that great,” he said. “When I show my friends the welds I have done in college, they tell me they are not mine. That makes me feel really good about the work I am doing.”
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 on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.