(WACO, Texas) – A ribbon-cutting held Tuesday, Jan. 25, at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus marked the opening of a high-tech testing facility for licensing by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE).
TSTC, the state’s leader in technical education, and TSBPE have joined forces to provide a greater and more efficient method of administering exams for Texas plumbers. The testing facility houses areas for both written and practical exams, including one-fifth scale models of residential structures in the framing stage to test applicants’ knowledge of plumbing.
TSTC administrative officials and faculty members were joined by TSBPE board chair Frank S. Denton, state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco), and others for the ribbon-cutting.
Mike Reeser, Chancellor & CEO of TSTC, noted that last February’s winter storm underscored the value of plumbers and brought to light the shortage of these skilled craftsmen in a state that is rapidly growing.
“That blizzard met head-on with a lack of qualified talent, and Texans suffered,” he said. “Frank Denton called TSTC and said, ‘Could we get together and solve some of these problems?’ So less than a year ago that happened, and here we are today cutting the ribbon on a remote testing facility — the first of its kind in Texas.”
Denton noted that TSTC and TSBPE, as two state agencies, worked together seamlessly to get the testing facility built.
“Needless to say, what we’re doing here today is just going to absolutely change the dynamics of the plumbing industry in Texas,” Denton said. “When Mike (Reeser) and I first met, it was apparent from 15 minutes from the time we began talking that our goals and objectives were exactly the same.”
TSTC and TSBPE have partnered to streamline and refine TSTC’s existing plumbing curriculum. Together, they will develop a TSBPE board-approved program that will be available to educational institutions that would like to implement it.
The program includes rigorous classroom and hands-on lab training. Upon successful program completion, the student will be eligible to sit for the Tradesman Plumber-Limited License exam.
The new testing facility will provide qualified statewide applicants with the opportunity to test for the plumbing exam, which will be administered by TSBPE personnel.
Another testing facility will break ground soon on TSTC’s Harlingen campus.
“These new testing centers will double and eventually triple TSBPE’s ability to test applicants wishing to obtain a plumbing license,” Denton said earlier. “This is something that could not have been done without the cooperation and assistance of TSTC.”
In Texas, plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters can earn more than $50,000 annually, according to onetonline.org. Job growth is projected to be around 17% by 2028.
TSTC in Waco offers a certificate of completion in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology, as well as an occupational skills award in Basic Plumbing.
For more than 55 years, TSTC has been focused on advancing the economic development of the state with an emphasis on placing more Texans in great-paying jobs. By offering hands-on training, TSTC ensures that Texas has a pipeline for skilled technicians to enter the workforce in high-demand industries like plumbing.
For more information about the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, visit tsbpe.texas.gov.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.