Students travel different paths to TSTC’s Welding Technology program

(ABILENE, Texas) – Welding Technology at Texas State Technical College is one of the more popular programs offered statewide.

Students enter the program for different reasons, from seeking a career change to learning more about a craft they dabbled in during a weekend project. TSTC instructors will teach students how to hone the craft in order to find a career or simply to complete a weekend project.

Matt Hanneman is finishing his final semester of the associate degree program. He wanted to change careers and knew welders make good money.

“I was in residential and commercial construction,” he said. “I decided I wanted a career change. What I plan to be is a certified welding instructor.”

The lifelong resident of Abilene knew that TSTC offered welding and would be the perfect place to get his education.

“The teachers are really good and are perfect for this program,” Hanneman said. “They let us play around with different projects but are always there to make sure we do things correctly.”

Donovan Gomez, of Clyde, entered the program after working on welding jobs when he graduated from high school.

“I started to like it more and more,” he said. “I wanted to follow my brother in diesel mechanics, but I learned that I enjoyed welding more.”

Gomez is working on his certificate with the goal of finding employment close to home.

“I hope to work in the oil fields in West Texas,” he said.

Like Hanneman, Gomez said the instructors help students learn the tricks of the trade.

“They will let us go through one project, and we will go show them what we did,” he said. “They will tell us what we need to do to fix our project. They always want us to get better.”

Gomez said he was nervous when he first started the program in the fall but has settled into his work bay.

“I think things have come pretty naturally for me,” he said.

Gomez’s biggest struggle was with reading blueprints. But with encouragement, he gained confidence.

“The instructors were always there to help me. Now I am able to read the blueprint and get the work done,” he said.

Hanneman said having a lab available to complete projects drew him to TSTC. But there was another reason why he chose TSTC.

“I really like TSTC’s money-back guarantee. It shows me the confidence of the school because they will give us our money back if we do not find a job,” he said.

In addition to Welding Technology, the money-back guarantee program is available for Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker Technology, Electrical Power and Controls, and Instrumentation.

Gomez said anyone interested in welding should look at TSTC first.

“All of the machines and equipment we have is great,” he said. “This is a great place to learn.”

For more information, visit tstc.edu.