(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Lucero Gonzalez recalled a memory of an HVAC technician troubleshooting the refrigeration machines when she served as a crew member at a fast-food restaurant.
That sparked her interest in the field of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, so she logged on to the Texas State Technical College HVAC Technology program’s webpage to find out more.
Now the Brownsville resident is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC Technology at TSTC’s campus in Harlingen.
Gonzalez said there is more to HVAC than mastering the ability to solder copper refrigerant lines.
“Math is involved in this program,” she said. “The way the instructors were able to explain it, I really enjoyed it.”
The first-semester student has learned about the formulas used to determine the relationships between pressure, volume and temperature.
“This was my favorite lesson because after my instructors explained it, it clicked, and I passed my assessment,” she said.
Jose Flores, a TSTC HVAC teaching lab assistant, noted that Gonzalez is very focused.
“Lucero will eventually do great things in this industry with her resiliency,” he said.
Gonzalez’s objective is to complete the two-year program, gain two years of employment, and obtain a contractor’s license to start her own business.
As the sole female in her HVAC cohort, Gonzalez had advice for other women who may research the program.
“Do not be scared because you are a female,” she said. “The HVAC instructors are very supportive, and there are definitely great career opportunities.”
On its Harlingen campus, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC Technology and an HVAC Technician certificate of completion.
HVAC Technology is one of TSTC’s Performance-Based Education programs. PBE programs allow students to study both online and in person, at a flexible pace and with a class schedule that can accommodate their lives outside of TSTC.
HVAC mechanics and installers can earn an average of $48,030 per year in Texas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These types of positions are expected to grow by 16% in the state through 2028, according to onetonline.org.
Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.