(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Nicholas Tuma graduated from Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program with an Associate of Applied Science Degree and is currently working at Surgitech improving his welding skills.
He plans on continuing his education at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus for one more semester to receive the Welding Advanced Pipe Specialization certificate of completion.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Nick. I’m from Katy, about a 30-minute drive from Rosenberg. I found welding in high school and thought about going to one of those six-month programs. I ended up finding out about TSTC and enrolled. It is my fourth semester now. TSTC has been a big part of my life and helped me pursue my career.
How did you find out about TSTC?
Actually, someone who graduated from my high school was attending TSTC. He had an interview with one of my teachers, who had us do a report about it.
You said you found welding in high school. What sparked your interest?
I took a class for it. It was supposed to be just a credit class, you know, get it done and over with. My teacher started putting me on projects fabricating barbeque pits, stuff for parents of the students that were there, and it lit a fire inside of me that I’ve been chasing ever since.
While attending school, you’ve also been working at Surgitech. How did you find that job?
So it was actually my old high school teacher. I was working for a welding company up in Tomball doing structural stuff, and he told me he was looking for people to hire because he needed the extra work. I applied, and within two days they got back to me. They said they wanted to offer me a position, and from then it has just taken off.
Some of your friends ended up joining you, right?
Yes sir. About two months ago we had a job come in that was over 100,000 welds, and my boss asked if there was anyone that could help us from TSTC. I said I could ask, and I ended up getting five people hired from my program, all of whom are still there with me.
What are your plans once you’ve obtained your certification?
I have a couple connections to the oil field out in Midland, Texas. Once I graduate, I’m probably going to head up there. But right now I’m not complaining about what I’m doing. Being 19 years old, building decompression chambers and a bunch of other cool stuff, it is a lot.
How do you feel TSTC has helped prepare you for your career?
I thought I knew a lot about welding when I got out of high school. I thought I was going to know everything there is to know about it. But coming here opened up so many more doors for me. I never thought I’d be this good at welding at such a young age. I have progressed so fast with the great teaching we had. It is incredible.
Welders in Texas can earn upwards of $48,000 annually, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. TSTC offers Welding Technology at all 10 campuses across the state.
Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.