Student enjoys time in TSTC’s Welding Technology lab

BRECKENRIDGE Calder Woods said entering the Texas State Technical College Welding Technology lab is one of the best parts of his day.

“I like the time I spend in the booth working on my projects,” the third-semester student from Throckmorton said in a news release. “I am able to concentrate on what I need to do.”

Studying for a certificate of completion, Woods said he hopes to begin working on oil pipelines after he graduates later this month.

Stephen Hope, Woods’ Welding Technology instructor, said the third-generation welder will have a good career in the industry.

“I have seen the transformation of Calder from high school welder to our welding contest and now as a college student,” Hope said in the release.

Woods began working with his father and grandfather on different welding projects when he was in eighth grade.

“Since I started at TSTC, I have been able to show them some things I have learned,” he said. “My dad and grandpa have been surprised by what I am able to do.”

TSTC Welding Technology student Calder Woods works on his overhead welding techniques during a recent lab session. (Photo Courtesy of TSTC)

Woods credits his improvements to Hope.

“Stephen is willing to show me what to do, no matter how long it takes,” he said. “He has a lot of patience with the students.”

One thing that Woods does not have to worry about is how to finance his college education. He took advantage of Throckmorton Collegiate Independent School District’s program that pays for its students, through the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, to attend the first two years of college.

“I hope more of the students in Throckmorton use this program,” he said. “It has helped me get an education.”

Hope agrees that the program benefits Throckmorton students.

“I hope Calder becomes another voice to show the students in Throckmorton the success of this program,” he said. “We have a good support system in Throckmorton, and I hope more welding students come to our location to further their education.”

According to, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $48,000 in Texas. Welding jobs were expected to increase 23% between 2020 and 2030 in the state, according to the website.

Welding Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. For more information, visit

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