(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Quentin Brentz made a commitment to himself to complete his college degree, even if it meant enduring a grueling commute.
Driving weekly to Texas State Technical College’s Breckenridge campus to study Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance, Brentz reached his goal of graduating this summer with an Associate of Applied Science degree.
It was a challenge for Brentz to attend lab sessions while living in Azle, a nearly 180-mile round trip. But he is pleased with the results because he has the education needed to be an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector.
“It was a commitment on my part to make sure I made it to class the two days we had lab sessions scheduled,” Brentz said. “A lot of times it was one-on-one talks with (instructor) Teresa (Purcell), which was great because I was able to learn a lot more.”
Brentz said hearing Purcell’s observations of her time working in the safety field helped him understand different assignments.
“Teresa is very knowledgeable about the field,” he said. “She went into a lot of depth and detail because of her personal experience.”
Brentz said working with different classmates helped him.
“We worked together on some projects along with Teresa’s guidance,” he said. “What helped was what we learned online went hand in hand with the lab assignments.”
Purcell said Brentz showed leadership qualities while on campus.
“He is a leader who is willing to take charge and work at goals set out before him, with no hesitation,” she said. “He gives 100% to achieve tasks, knowing the proper way to achieve and be successful.”
One reason that Purcell believes Brentz will succeed as an inspector is his willingness to learn.
“Quentin is a very quick learner and is not afraid to speak up to ask questions,” she said. “He does very well at including himself in conversations, no matter what the topic is. He is very knowledgeable in many different areas.”
Having that knowledge is what drives Brentz toward a career. He is still looking at job opportunities, and he knows the right position will open for him.
“There are so many different companies looking for inspectors to keep the workplace safe,” he said.
Brentz said the education he received at TSTC, from knowing about different chemicals to workplace safety, will help him in the future.
“We learned so much in the program that will help us,” he said. “The best part of the entire program was hearing Teresa using her anecdotes about safety concerns. I think it is rare you have someone that is able to provide her experience to students. It was good to hear those real stories. You can only learn so much from a textbook, so having her tell us what really happened makes it easier to understand.”
According to onetonline.org, Texas’ need for occupational health and safety technicians was forecast to grow 16% between 2018 and 2028. The average annual salary for an occupational health and safety technician in Texas is $39,460, according to the website. In West Texas, the website showed the annual salary for a technician is $47,040.
The Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program is also available at the Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.