(ROSENBERG, Texas) – After joyless experiences working in retail and restaurants, Joshua Reyes has finally found something he loves: welding.
The Rosenberg resident will earn a certificate of completion this semester in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program. Afterward, he looks to continue his studies and training to complete an Associate of Applied Science degree. When it is all said and done, Reyes plans to have two certificates of completion in welding — along with the future associate degree — under his belt.
His 4-year-old daughter is his biggest motivation, and he hopes that his future welding career will help him eventually own his own home.
How did you become interested in welding?
I’ve always liked messing with metal and trying to make shapes — smithing, forging. Welding is in that same genre.
What brought you to TSTC?
I was trying to look into trade schools, and I found this was the closest one — and had a lot of good reviews. I decided to take a chance to come and look at it, and wound up being here. It’s been a great decision.
How has your experience been in the Welding Technology program?
Amazing. I love going here. I love coming to school every day. The other students are all great. The instructors are amazing. They’re really nice, and they’re so helpful. They’ll go out of their way to do anything for you.
What are some of your favorite moments from your training?
I think some of my favorite moments are when I’ve actually accomplished something that I’ve been struggling with really, really hard. It’s so great finishing it. I’ll usually take a picture of it for memory’s sake. I think I have a picture of the first-ever good weld I did in my first semester. I still look at it.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from your family and friends about your experience with welding at TSTC?
They’re all really happy for me. I’ve been struggling to find something to do — something worthwhile in my life and where I’m going. Everyone tells me that they’re proud of me, and it makes me really happy.
What kind of career do you hope to have in the welding industry?
There are so many different options I can go into with all the skills. I can go work at a power plant. I can work at a shipyard. I can work inside a factory. It’s opened up so many different paths for me. I plan on maybe working for one or two years and then trying to do underwater welding. It’s exciting.
Would you recommend TSTC to someone who may be interested in welding?
Yes. If you have a difficult time learning and memorizing things — and reading, because that was one of my main problems — coming to (TSTC) is so much better. It’s so much easier. There are still challenges. There is still reading that has to be done, but you get to implement it almost right away.
TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County offers an Associate of Applied Science degree, certificates of completion and an occupational skills award in welding. The Welding Technology program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee. If participating graduates do not find a job within six months of earning their degree, TSTC will refund their tuition.
As of May 2020, Texas employs 48,940 welders — the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area has the highest employment level of welders among all metropolitan areas in the U.S.
In Texas, welders can earn an average salary of $45,250 per year, according to onetonline.org.
Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.