Robert Bechlem realizes the benefits of an education, and he’s taking full advantage of it.
A resident of Surfside Beach, Bechlem enrolled at Brazosport College four years ago with the hopes of working toward a career that would allow him to make more money. He’s now beginning to reap the rewards of his decision.
Choosing the school’s pipefitting program, Bechlem, 51, has already earned his basic pipefitting certification and is only one class from completing his advanced certificate. He’s also working toward his associate degree in industrial pipefitting.
The pipefitting program here at Brazosport College has helped me prepare for my NCCER certification, which allowed me to double my pay," Bechlem said. “I’m planning to eventually get my degree, which will carry even more clout.”
Bechlem’s decision to enroll in classes at Brazosport College originally came after talking to his peers about career possibilities.
“I asked some friends, who were making a lot more money than I was, how they did it, and they said that I really needed to go to college,” he said. “They suggested Brazosport College because it was close to home and had very good instructors and professors.”
Since enrolling in college, Bechlem has thrived.
He began with the college’s Learning Frameworks course, which he credits with showing him how to correctly study. The tips he learned in that class paved the road for strong grades and a positive learning environment, he said. In fact, Bechlem still uses many of the study methods he learned in that class years later.
“I love to learn and I will be learning for the rest of my life,” he said. “I enjoy coming here. It’s never stagnant.”
More than anything, however, he attributes much of his success to the school’s faculty.
“The teachers here go out of their way to help you learn,” Bechlem said. “There are people in the field with more experience that me, but when it comes to knowledge, I have just as much as many of them.
“Brazosport College has changed my life,” he added. “It’s enriched it so much. Once I finish my pipefitting degree, I plan to pursue a degree in drafting. This is the best investment I’ve ever made in my life.”