CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Mona Stebbings fired up her welding materials, put her welding helmet over her head, and gloves on her hands.
“There is an artistic part of it where I have to really melt the metal,” Stebbings said.
She’s a welding student at Southern Careers Institute’s Corpus Christi campus. She said the seven month welding program will help her get a job as soon as possible at any location when she's finished.
She said going to the school is beneficial because her student loan debt will be lower than if she went to a university.
“They’ve been very transparent about all the payments and everything, so knowing that I’m not going to get so far in debt by getting a new education, gaining that knowledge, I won’t have to worry about it,” Stebbings said.
Michelle Rodriguez attended to her classmate who was acting as a patient in a hospital, checking her pulse and doing leg exercises.
She’s a nurse aid student at the school and said the six-week program is faster paced and a better alternative to a two or four-year college.
Rodriguez said the program will help her find a job when she gets certified and she won’t be in debt.
“It’s cost effective so I’m not having to spend a whole lot of income on a four-year college, so it was very reasonable,” Rodriguez said.
Delilah Oliveras, the campus director at Southern Careers Institute said the nursing aid program costs about $1,200 and has been seeing a consistent increase in students.
She said the cosmetology program has also seen an increase in students since last year.
Oliveras said they have more students because inflation and higher student loan rates are motivating people to join the school as a cheaper alternative to some universities.
Elissa Rosales blowdried her classmate’s hair as she instructed her on the steps she was taking when doing her hair.
She’s one of the cosmetology students at the school and said cosmetology would allow her to do a broad range of skills like hair, nails, and makeup.
Already working at a salon, the school is allowing her to further her career.
“It’s a trade school, so we go in and out. It’s less time, less money. It’s just easier. We get more hands on,” Rosales said.