(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Landon Rodriguez’s father was the person who first ignited a spark in him when it came to welding.
The current Texas State Technical College Welding Technology student has been welding — and loving it — ever since.
“He’s proud of me,” Rodriguez said of his father. “He’s happy to see that I’m doing something that I love every day. It’s not work if you love it.”
The support system that his family offers him keeps Rodriguez working hard.
“Everything that I do, they back me 110%,” he said. “This is my job — to come here and make them proud and get my work done.”
What was it about welding that made you fall in love with it?
The freedom that you have. If you can put your mind to it, you can build it. There’s no limits. Your creativity flows wild.
How did you make the decision to come to TSTC?
Some of my friends went to TSTC. Just word-of-mouth, I’ve heard a lot of great things. I knew (TSTC) had a good welding department, and this is the newest facility near us. When I came to tour, I loved it. Everything about it felt like home. I said that I wanted to come here, and sure enough, I started Aug. 30, 2021.
Getting enrolled, it’s really easy because all the advisors here take the time to get you scheduled and planned. You’re never alone. If you’re confused on what course you want to take, just get with the advisors, and they’ll get you set up financially and educationally. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. Don’t second-guess yourself.
How has your experience in the Welding Technology program been so far?
It’s great. All of the instructors are very hands-on. They’re really attentive to us. No matter how big or small the question is, they’re going to answer it. You really do get a lot of one-on-one time. If you’re confused about something, don’t be afraid to ask. They’ll come to your booth, they’ll show you, they’ll run demos, they’ll do whatever they have to do to help you succeed.
What advice do you have for prospective welding students?
Just have fun with it. You learn something new every day. Just because one day doesn’t go your way, you still have plenty of time to make up for it. That’s what we’re here for — to learn. Take it one step at a time. Be the best you can be every day.
What are your goals for your future?
Once I finish with my associate degree, I’m going to come back and take the advanced pipe (welding). The plan is to live a comfortable life — find a good job, and hopefully buy myself a house and some land. I’ve got to find a good job first and get my feet in the door. I’ve got to walk before I can run.
TSTC offers Welding Technology at all 10 of its campuses across the state. The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee. If participating graduates are not hired within six months of earning their degree, the college will refund their tuition.
In Texas, welders can earn an average annual salary of $45,250, according to onetonline.org, which forecasts the number of positions to grow by 13% in the state through 2028. Texas employs the highest number of welders in the nation at 46,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.