(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Welding Technology instructors are ready for a new wave of students to begin classes this fall.
With more construction sites showing up in the region, the need for welders is growing. TSTC will be preparing students for jobs on construction sites and in the oil field. Some graduates may decide to open their own business or travel the country.
Stephen Hope, a Welding Technology instructor at TSTC’s Breckenridge campus, said he has seen an increase in people interested in pursuing the program.
“Recent news of construction increasing has helped gain many new students,” he said. “COVID had a huge impact on businesses around the world. Although we are not quite in the clear yet, many are back up and running again.”
Many of Breckenridge’s new faces this fall were able to work in the welding booths in May during a scholarship competition. Hope said that helped him with recruiting efforts.
“Starting in the fall, there will be 13 students, six of which had started the dual enrollment program their junior year of high school,” he said. “There will also be 24 dual enrollment students starting in the fall.”
Hope will also have 13 students returning this fall for their second semester.
“I am very excited to see what the future holds for each of them,” he said.
Daniel Aguirre, Brownwood’s Welding Technology instructor, is excited about the fall semester.
“My plans are to take that excitement and energy and channel it into the students’ work,” he said. “I want to get them buzzing about safety, as well as get them talking and asking questions about the things they are excited about.”
Aguirre likes to bring his personal experience into teaching future welders.
“I will try and show them what I love about welding and fabrication. Maybe they will learn to love it too” he said. “I can easily get lost in my work, especially when I’m fabricating. Eight hours of work seems to fly by when you enjoy what you are doing. And I hope that is something the students can take with them.”
According to onetonline.org, more than 54,400 welders were employed in Texas as of 2018. By 2028, the number of welders is forecast to be more than 61,000, a 13% increase. The average annual salary for welders in Texas is $45,250, according to the website.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology, as well as two welding certificates of completion and an occupational skills award. The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if they have not found a job in their field within six months of graduation.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.