(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Watching his older brother piqued the interest of Rory Bustamante to explore a career in welding.
The May native followed in his brother’s footsteps to Texas State Technical College to pursue a certificate of completion in Welding Technology.
“My brother graduated from TSTC nine years ago,” he said. “I went to another college to study engineering, but quickly learned it was not for me. I thought it was interesting watching my brother weld, so I decided to give it a try.”
After touring TSTC’s Brownwood campus and talking with instructor Daniel Aguirre, Bustamante knew he found his career path.
“I talked to Daniel about the program and told him that I found it interesting how you can put metal together and make it look good,” he said. “I wanted to be able to learn the different processes you use in the welding industry.”
Bustamante admits he enjoys learning by watching Aguirre and Salvador Marquez, also a Welding Technology instructor at TSTC, because they want each student to be successful.
“They show us how to do each process,” he said. “If it is a new process, they will take the time to do a test run in front of us before we attempt it. If we need help, they are not far away willing to show us again.”
Bustamante also likes how the two instructors are able to teach different aspects of the industry.
“Daniel will show us one thing we will have to do in the field and Sal will show us something else,” he said. “They complement each other because they have a lot of knowledge about what we will experience.”
Aguirre sees the drive in Bustamante each time he enters the lab.
“He has such high expectations of himself,” he said. “To find a student that wants to succeed at everything is great.”
Bustamante said one of the best lessons he learned in the lab is the reason for keeping the metal clean when welding it together.
“If you are working on rusty metal and do not clean it up, it looks really bad,” he said. “I like to take the time to make sure the project looks clean. It makes a big difference in the look when your metal is clean.”
Earlier this year, Bustamante, along with classmates Weston Conine and Danny Cores, earned a silver medal in the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in Houston. The team designed and welded a turbo stove.
“It was great to represent TSTC at the event,” he said, adding he learned more about himself at the competition. “The best part was the way we were able to communicate with each other outside of the lab setting. We worked well together as a team. It amazed me how much I have learned in class and being able to showcase at the state level.”
Bustamante said he does not have a career plan yet, but he knows it will be successful for one reason.
“My goal is to be the best welder anywhere I go,” he said. “The first thing I plan to tell them is that I received my education from TSTC.”
Aguirre said it is good for Bustamante to keep his options open.
“He has a very good reason for keeping his career options open,” he said. “Rory wants to go really far in his life. I commend him for that.”
According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $48,000 in Texas. Welding jobs were expected to increase 23% between 2020 and 2030 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 participating 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/.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.