(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Brandon DeLeon admits he has always been “mechanically inclined.”
While talking to a co-worker in the oil field, DeLeon learned he could be doing more than just repairing valves. His co-worker suggested that he look at Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program in Sweetwater.
“I had repaired oil field valves and worked on small things on automobiles,” he said. “I knew that being a diesel mechanic would be a good way to make more money.”
Now DeLeon is a student in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.
One thing that caught DeLeon’s attention about his co-worker and having an education was the pay.
“I am not going to argue with someone who makes $35 an hour,” he said. “He convinced me it would help my career. Plus, TSTC is close to my home.”
According to onetonline.org, diesel technicians employed in Texas can earn an annual average salary of $49,810.
DeLeon, of San Angelo, is studying for a certificate of completion in the program, with plans to return to the oil field.
“Brandon is one of those students who can pick things up quickly,” instructor Lane White said. “I know he will do a good job in the field.”
DeLeon said he may consider returning to school to add an Associate of Applied Science degree. He is completing his first semester and said it was a good decision to go to school.
“This semester has gone really well for me. It has been great to work with my hands and get in there with the tools,” he said.
Even working online to complete lessons has paid off.
“It caught me off guard at first, doing work online,” DeLeon said. “I have adjusted to it because we have so many programs that will help us complete the online work.”
DeLeon also said having an instructor like White helps him during his time in the lab.
“They let us do our own thing on an engine but are always there for us when we need help,” he said. “The instructors have so much experience in the field, and it is good to be able to learn from them.”
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists are expected to increase 14% in Texas by 2028.
Diesel Equipment Technology is offered in Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco. It is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months of graduating, TSTC will return their tuition in full.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and several certificates of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.