Cousins find career path in TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker program

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Cousins Eric Zamora (left) and Arturo Solis are students in the Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. (Courtesy: Texas State Technical College/TSTC)

HARLINGEN — The idea of a high-risk career as an electrical lineworker may not be appealing for some, but it is for cousins Arturo Solis and Eric Zamora.

Zamora, of Primera, first became interested in Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program when some of its recruiters visited Harlingen High School when he was a student there.

Solis, of San Benito, followed suit after his cousin told him about the program and its career potential.

Now Solis and Zamora are both studying for certificates of completion in the program at TSTC.

“Our instructor, Mr. (Candelario) Deanda, makes the educational environment motivating,” Zamora said. “He makes sure that his students understand the course material.”

Solis said he had to conquer his fear of heights in order to work atop the practice utility poles.

“The thought of climbing the pole intimidated me,” he said. “Now it amazes me how I climb up and down the pole easily.”

Zamora said the program starts with the basics — literally from the ground up.

“The instructors teach the importance of digging,” he said. “We have to learn how to become a groundman before we can become a lineworker.”

Solis said some of his favorite assignments involve teamwork.

“A transformer requires a lot of setting up because it’s heavy,” he said. “It takes a group effort, and we learn to accomplish that.”

Zamora said his experience at TSTC has changed his life.

“It’s provided me with an education that’s close to home,” he said. “One day I will have a great-paying career,” he said.

Deanda appreciates the cousins’ dedication to their career path.

“Arturo and Eric are self-driven and enthusiastic students who accomplish any goal that I give them,” he said. “The instructors preach safety, and we develop our students to have a good work ethic that will prepare them for a satisfying career.”

According to onetonline.org, electrical power-line installers and repairers can earn an average annual salary of $65,730 in Texas. The website projected that there would be a 24% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at its Abilene (starting in fall 2024), Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.

The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a participating graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months after graduation.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.