With more trucks rolling along interstates and highways, the need to keep them operational grows.
Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program, offered in Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco, is seeing an increase in students wanting to enter the field.
“We cannot turn out students fast enough,” said Shannon Weir, an instructor at TSTC in Sweetwater. “We have a couple of students who will graduate in August who already have jobs. Our students graduating in December are already getting jobs lined up.”
Alvaro Lozano, of Miles, is one of those students who already has plans after he graduates in December. He is working through a cooperative agreement with Roberts Truck Service in Tye and enjoys the environment.
“They would like to help me get certified on other engines so I can have more experience,” he said. “Going to TSTC helped put my foot in the door, and the company I work for likes to put a lot of money into the training.”
George Werner, the service manager at Roberts and a 1989 graduate of TSTC, said he knows the program will turn out quality technicians.
“I know Shannon will send me only good technicians,” he said. “All of our technicians are certified, and with the right work ethic, a technician could make over $100,000 a year working five days a week.”
Weir said he hopes more students look into the program because service centers are in need of technicians. According to onetonline.org, an additional 14% of technician jobs will be available by 2028 in Texas.
“When our students graduate, there will be some place for them to go to work not just in our area in West Texas, but statewide,” he said.
Weir said most jobs are for transportation and equipment specialists in the region. With oil field production moving back to pre-pandemic work, additional jobs could open up.
“Everything around us depends on diesel,” Weir said. “We depend on diesel for most of our daily needs.”
Werner said students planning to enter the field need to have good communication skills, as well as the ability to read and write. One key skill needed by technicians, according to Werner, is math.
“There is a lot of math involved in servicing trucks and equipment today,” he said.
Current students enjoy working with instructors because the lab setting is more like a shop.
“They like to throw a curveball at you,” said student Kaden Vess. “I know if I am not right, I will be thinking about it to make sure it is done correctly.”
Adrian Trejo, who is pursuing a certificate of completion in the program, said having experienced instructors was why he chose to enroll.
“Having veteran instructors is one of the best things about this program,” he said. “Anytime you can learn from people who spent a great amount of time in the field, it is going to be a great learning experience.”
Another advantage is that the program is part of TSTC’s money-back guarantee. If a graduate does not find a job within six months, TSTC will return their tuition in full.
Diesel Equipment Technology is offered at the Fort Bend County, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.