(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Samuel Valdez wants to expand his business opportunities.
The Welding Technology student is studying for a certificate of completion in Structural Welding at Texas State Technical College in order to add to the list of work that he can perform in his construction business.
“I am self-employed and wanted to expand my resume with welding,” said Valdez, who had no prior welding experience. “I hope to one day get a good job and open my own shop.”
When Valdez is not in class, he works around his hometown of Sweetwater repairing homes. He said many people ask him to tear out drywall and replace it, or to replace rotting wood. But having a welding certificate will lead to additional opportunities.
“I want to be able to do more for people in my hometown,” he said.
That is the reason Valdez chose to attend TSTC.
“When I came and toured the campus, (instructor) Taylor Elston said this would be the best place to learn how to weld,” he said. “I told Taylor I wanted to expand my knowledge with the goal of being able to fix more in the home.”
Elston said Valdez has shown improvement with each project.
“Samuel has been paying attention in class, which has led him to improving his work,” Elston said. “Most of the students are going to be good welders no matter where they work.”
Valdez said he was skeptical when he first started the program in August.
“I did not know if I would be able to pick up the different techniques in welding,” he said. “I learned that I was able to pick up how to do things and continued to work on it. It has been a lot of fun.”
Elston told Valdez he had one goal for him as a student.
“Taylor said the reason he is here is to teach us to be the best welders we can possibly be,” he said. “I am working daily to become better.”
With the summer semester beginning later this month, Valdez said he has set a goal for himself.
“I want to be more consistent with my welds,” he said. “I also want to be able to read blueprints better and be more confident in what I know.”
Valdez said he wants to pass some of his welding knowledge on to his brother in hopes that he attends TSTC in the future.
“I bought my own welding machine, and my brother has picked up the torch a couple of times,” he said. “I hope he takes advantage of the opportunities I have had here at TSTC and chooses to attend school.”
According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of $47,820 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/.
Registration for the summer and fall semesters is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.