(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Dylan Carrizales knew his decision to attend Texas State Technical College was right in one brief moment.
Now studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology at TSTC, Carrizales recalled the time when he knew that he had made the right career choice during his first climb up the college’s wind turbine in Nolan County.
“That was like nothing I have ever experienced before,” he said. “I knew at that point that this was something I wanted to do for the next 20 to 30 years of my life. It gave me more confidence in my career choice and my choices in life. I knew then I could excel in this career and be able to start and support a family.”
Having career stability was something the Snyder native wanted in his life.
“I want to be able to provide for my family,” he said. “My girlfriend is going to school to be a traveling nurse, and we want to make sure we can survive financially.”
Being able to work quickly after earning his degree was the reason that Carrizales chose TSTC.
“I heard so many different success stories of graduates getting good jobs before they finish the program,” he said. “I want to be part of that success.”
Carrizales knows the wind industry is going to be strong in the future.
“A lot of people are on different sides of the wind industry, but it is not going to stop growing,” he said. “I want to know not just how the turbines work — I want to know everything about the industry.”
That could include working for companies with turbines either offshore or in the heartland.
“I would like to get as much experience as I can from all different aspects of the industry,” he said.
Carrizales is learning about the industry from instructors who have been in the field.
“They are here to help you succeed,” he said. “The best thing about instructor Russell Benson is that he is stern, but fair. He is teaching us what we need to know in order to be an authority figure because it will help us when we are on the job.”
Benson has seen Carrizales grow since beginning the program last year.
“He has been rising from the ashes at school and in life,” he said. “He is working to change his life for the better. We are a lot more than educating our students about the degree they are pursuing; we are teaching them to find themselves and a way to succeed.”
Carrizales said he has no regrets about returning to school more than a decade after graduating from high school.
“I told myself to take a chance, and it has paid off,” he said. “This was the best way to go back to school and the quickest way to start a career. I have enjoyed my time here and would do it all over again.”
The job outlook for the wind energy industry is bright. According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas will increase 83% over the next decade. The average annual salary for a technician in Texas is $52,420, according to the website.
TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.