(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Hernan Hernandez has been welding most of his life, but he has learned that the little things matter.
Hernandez is working toward a certificate of completion in Welding Technology at Texas State Technical College with the hopes of finding employment in the Brownwood area. Before he completes the program, Hernandez wants to gain more knowledge about his career field.
“I knew coming in I would have to have a good attitude because I have been welding most of my life,” he said. “I have noticed that it is the little things that matter when you are welding — some of the things I did not even think about before I noticed it in class.”
One of the areas Hernandez said he has worked on over the first few weeks is his posture.
“I noticed that I had to work on my posture while I am welding,” he said. “I did not realize how important posture is to welders, but it does make a difference in your work.”
Hernandez also noticed other areas that he did not consider important before beginning the program.
“I have learned the details really do matter– from the amps to the voltage on our machines to the types of rods we need to use,” he said.
One area Hernandez is looking forward to learning is the tungsten inert gas (TIG) method. TIG welding is an arc welding process that produces the weld with a nonconsumable tungsten electrode.
“I have never attempted TIG welding, but I am excited to be able to learn how to do it,” he said.
Hernandez began appreciating welding by watching his father at a young age.
“I picked up my first welder and loved it,” he said. “My dad is proud that I am attending school and learning new techniques.”
However, Hernandez’s father did have a little fun at his son’s expense.
“My dad told me I better be glad he is not in the class with me because he would have to show me up,” he said. “I go home and show him the things I have learned, and he is proud of my accomplishments.”
Instructor Daniel Aguirre said Hernandez will succeed in welding mainly because of his work ethic.
“Hernan has been on the job before and got that taste of what it is like. He wanted to come back to school so he could learn more and be a better welder,” he said.
Hernandez said his biggest regret was not beginning TSTC at a younger age. After graduating from high school in 2016, he immediately went to work.
“Some of my classmates are fresh out of high school, and, looking back, I should have done that,” he said. “But I made the right decision coming back to school when I did because I am going to learn more techniques.”
Hernandez is also going to listen to the advice from his fiancee.
“She told me to keep making good grades and make sure I have my work done on time,” he said.
Aguirre said the project schedule is something Hernandez maintains all the time.
“He may not be the fastest to turn in a project because he wants to make sure it is done correctly,” he said. “Hernan always puts pride into the projects he submits.”
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.