(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Alfredo Calderon and Alexandra Santos are more than just classmates in Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program. They are also husband and wife.
Calderon and Santos are getting accustomed to balancing their training at TSTC with work — and raising their two children.
The Needville couple are pursuing certificates of completion in the program. They both have relevant background experience — Calderon in automotive and Santos in trucking.
“I used to drive the diesels,” she said. “Now I want to work on the diesels.”
Since Santos is no stranger to working in male-dominated fields, she had some advice for other women looking to do so.
“If their heart is in it, I would say go for it,” Santos said. “They have to have the passion for wanting to do it — and the reason. It’s a good living.”
Santos recalls being the only female student in her class five years ago when she was training to be a truck driver.
“Now, every now and then, I’ll see a female (student),” she said. “I’m glad females are branching out.”
“There are more women in male-dominated industries,” Calderon agreed.
He looks forward to earning his certificate of completion, while Santos hopes one day to take over her father’s auto shop — or open her own.
Ultimately, Santos was attracted to TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program because of how quickly she and Calderon could complete their training.
“I wanted something where I could learn what I need in a shorter time frame and then get to work,” she said.
TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck Specialization and two certificates of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology – Heavy Truck.
TSTC is so confident that its Diesel Equipment Technology graduates will get hired that the program is part of the college’s Money-Back Guarantee. If participating graduates do not get a job in the field within six months of earning their degree, TSTC will refund their tuition.
Diesel graduates in Fort Bend County are particularly well positioned for success in the industry, as the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area employs the fourth-highest number of diesel engine specialists in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Texas has the highest employment level of these specialists in the country.
In the state, diesel engine specialists can earn an average of $49,810, according to onetonline.org. These positions are forecast to grow by 14% in Texas through 2028.
Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.