(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College is known for its Welding Technology program.
Greg Nicholas, an instructor at the Abilene campus, said the program is thriving, with new students eager to learn and show off their skills.
“If this group of students remain committed, which I think they will, we are going to be sending highly qualified welders into the field,” he said.
Nicholas said the reason many of the students looked into the program is because of industry needs. 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, the highest percentage in the nation.
“There is always a need for welders, and people are needing to find jobs,” Nicholas said. “That is a perfect combination for us to have the quality we have in our new students.”
Instructor Erik Barnes said he was impressed with the new students on the first day.
“This new class is very promising, and many of them could finish projects early in the semester,” he said. “I could see all of these students finishing the program and immediately going to work.”
Some of the students could follow Dylon Moreno’s lead. Barnes said Moreno will be spending this semester working at a job site and will return in the spring to complete his Associate of Applied Science degree.
“Dylon will be working this semester, which is great for him and for our program,” Barnes said. “I know this new group will also have some phenomenal welders.”
Moreno credited the program’s pace for his success.
“If you know what you are doing, the instructors will turn you loose on projects,” he said. “For the students who need some help, the instructors are there to answer questions.”
Jeremiah Hall, who is also studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree, said many contractors are looking for welders to do frame work on projects, and having a degree or certificate from TSTC will help.
“The program is amazing and will prepare you for a great job with great pay,” he said.
Barnes said perfecting one’s skills is key to being a good welder.
“If the students continue with what I have seen over the first few days, without a doubt this is going to be one of the best classes we have had,” he said.
Nicholas and Barnes also plan to bring back the high school welding competition to attract future students.
“The competition did so much to help promote our program. We are going to keep it up as a recruitment tool,” Nicholas said. “I know the other campuses also have plans to continue the competition, and we are all going to work together.”
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.