(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College is known for adapting its technical programs to fit the needs of industry. Starting this fall, a new degree will enable students to learn to protect the health and safety of others.
The Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance combines two previous degrees to create a five-semester program. Classes will be taught in a hybrid format that includes both in-person labs and online courses.
“Many employers are looking for employees that can do the environmental side of the house and take on the safety duties,” said Mark Wilfert, TSTC’s statewide lead instructor in the Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program based in Waco. “They both go hand in hand because they are compliance-driven.”
Students will take classes in accident prevention, environmental regulations, industrial hygiene, safety program management, physical hazards control and other topics. During labs, students will train with various pieces of equipment that are actually used in the field.
Students graduating from the program will also have an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30-hour card, an OSHA general industry and construction card, and a Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) card.
“Usually employers that are hiring safety or environmental professionals like to see the 30-hour card,” Wilfert said.
He added that the HAZWOPER card is highly regarded in the oil and gas industry.
Companies that have hired Waco graduates in the past include Allergan/AbbVie, Hobbs Bonded Fibers and Quality Fire Protection according to TSTC’s Career Services office.
“Having just come off a record-breaking year in 2020 with 11 project announcements, four of which were existing companies expanding, it is vital to train and prepare those who will ultimately take on the responsibility to ensure the safety and health of their organization’s workforce,” said Jennifer Branch, director of existing industries and workforce development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. “The long-term sustainability of our local organizations is a focus of our chamber’s economic development team.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website, occupational health and safety specialists in Texas earn a yearly median salary of more than $74,000, while occupational health and safety technicians make a yearly median salary of more than $46,000.
TSTC will offer the Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program at the Breckenridge, Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.
Registration continues for the fall semester, and scholarships are available. For more information, go to tstc.edu.