Students who graduate high school will have an opportunity to decide if they are going to college or going into trade schools. According to a survey in the “More young adults are pursuing trades instead of college” article, around 45% of people would rather go to trade schools that offer specific training and learning opportunities, than go to college.
TJC West offers students the ability to learn trades. The welding program at TJC West offers students opportunities to learn trade to help them when they graduate and are looking for a job. TJC West offers welding students two different options. They can either get their certificate, or they can earn an associate degree.
“If you are interested in our program, it is set up so that we do not do projects,” said Bryan Baker, the department chair for the welding program at TJC. “It is not high school. It is not what you do in high school. People come in expecting that, and they are very disappointed to find out that is not what it is.”
Baker wants upcoming students to know the welding program is not like learning in high school. They accept students to the program one time a year because the program fills up quickly. The early registration of students typically is in early April or by the end of May. Then the program starts in August. The welding program prepares students about learning how to weld pipe, grind pipe down and how to build projects using different metals they can use in the work industry and how they will prepare them for their future.
“It all depends on their skills. I would say it depends on what skills a person possesses that really allows them to move up,” Baker said. “We always tell people; be sure you know and take it seriously. I always tell students that your job interviews start day one in the class. That is what we know of the students right there.”
Welding program graduates participate in hands- on learning of welding and having classes that lecture them before going into the field. They have classes from introduction to welding to advanced welding classes. With the different skills they possess, students can find specific jobs.
“In terms of opportunities, there is one company here, locally DSS Cat in Tyler, have hired 10 students right now that are working for them. They primarily recruit from us,” Baker said.
TJC West has companies looking into their students who are in the welding program. Companies are looking for people with experience, so when they see the knowledge and experience the TJC welding program offers, they are often willing to hire them.
“I am a tattoo artist on the side. So, I figured tattooing and welding is basically the same thing,” Ashley Bishop, a welding student at TJC West, said.
Bishop used her skills as a tattoo artist to find a trade to work in.
“That is the thing that makes a job as an instructor, a teacher, all about. You see that you are impacting someone’s life. You are giving them an opportunity to learn a skill, learn trade, and really makes a difference in their ability to earn and make a living,” Baker said.
The welding program, which is offered at TJC west campus, which is located on West Loop 323 and is a two, eight- week semester. Students come to class four days a week. They have two days a week schedule where they would have different classes. Typically, their classes will be around three and a half hours.