(WACO, Texas) – Leaving Sulphur Springs at 4 a.m. twice a week to attend classes at Texas State Technical College is no problem for Micah Flemens.
“Knowing that I am getting an education makes the long drive worth it,” he said of studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology at the Waco campus.
While also working full time, Flemens is on pace to graduate later this spring and will test to become a journeyman plumber.
Tony Montoya, a TSTC Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology instructor, sees Flemens’ commitment to the industry.
“Driving here two days a week speaks a lot about Micah’s determination and how he has outlined the achievements he wants for his future career goals,” Montoya said.
Currently an apprentice plumber for a company in Mount Pleasant, Flemens ventured into the plumbing field for a couple of reasons.
“There is not a lot of overhead, and you will be making good money,” he said. “I worked for an air conditioning company, went out with a guy one day on a job and loved it. I did not realize you could make money with one simple toolbox and a few supplies.”
Flemens chose to attend TSTC to help advance his plumbing education.
“It would normally take 800 hours to get my journeyman license. Attending TSTC would allow me to take my test in 15 to 20 months,” he said.
Montoya has mentored Flemens since he began the program.
“I wanted to push Micah in the right direction, which was to become a leader,” he said. “His dedication to his education shows the depth of his character.”
Flemens credits each of his instructors for his educational success.
“I have learned a lot of tips and tricks from the older instructors,” he said. “We have a wide range of ages with our instructors, which gives us a variety of learning opportunities.”
Flemens said there is another reason why TSTC is the best place to receive a technical education.
“The instructors are going to work with you in case something happens,” he said. “They are going to be supportive by helping you balance work and school.”
That cooperation showed during this month’s hard freeze in most of Texas. Flemens and the two-person team he supervises spent the majority of one day repairing leaking water lines. He still made it to class the day after work, with his instructors making sure that he was ready for class.
“By attending TSTC, you are going to get the most out of your education and work in a great field,” he said.
According to onetonline.net, the need for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters was forecast to increase 22% between 2020 and 2030. The median annual salary for these positions is $55,800 in Texas, the website stated.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and certificates of completion in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.