(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Vladimir Hidrovo discovered a passion for keeping people safe during his military career. The veteran spent four years in the U.S. Marines and retired from the U.S. Army after 19 years.
Hidrovo, who lives in Richmond, visited Texas State Technical College’s campus in Fort Bend County with his brother-in-law, who was interested in TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls program. While on campus, Hidrovo met David Johnson, then an Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program instructor.
“He was very pumped up,” Hidrovo recalled of Johnson, who is now a TSTC Safety, Health and Environmental Affairs officer. “He said, ‘Why are you wasting your time? Come get your degree and go work in safety.’ It was perfect timing. I wasn’t planning on going to college.”
After starting his training and then taking some time off, Hidrovo is back on campus, working to complete his Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance.
How has your experience at TSTC been so far?
I have gone to different universities to take different courses throughout my career. What I like about TSTC is that it was more practical. It wasn’t you read, you read, you read and then you go. People go to college and come out with a degree. They’re book smart, but they come out with no concept of the practical job itself. I fell in love with the way TSTC’s curriculum was taught.
Have you been able to take away lessons from TSTC and apply them to your current job?
Yes — I’m working as an emergency management planner for Fort Bend County. One of the jobs as a planner is to figure out, in the event of a catastrophe, how we act to protect the citizens of Fort Bend County. Doing the class at the same time, when I go back to work and they’re talking, I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is what’s going on.” I’ll say, “That’s from my homework.” The education is there — it backs you up.
What drives you to continue balancing your work with your training at TSTC?
My last child is 17 years old. I’m trying to promote that it doesn’t matter what age you are. School is school — make that a priority. If I can do it and have a job in school, for them it should be easier.
Seeing young kids really interested in safety in the class, it gives me energy. They keep asking me questions about safety and for advice, and that makes me feel good. We’re on the right path.
What are your goals after you earn your degree at TSTC?
My goal after I graduate with my associate degree is to continue on to get my bachelor’s. My dream job is actually to be a consultant and trainer to help promote more safety.
What advice do you have for prospective students interested in TSTC’s Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program?
My advice is stick to the program. Learn as much as you can. There is so much potential. A lot of people think safety and environmental (professionals) only deal with oil and gas, but there are positions everywhere.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance at its Breckenridge, Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.
In Texas, occupational health and safety technicians can earn an average annual salary of $46,840, according to onetonline.org. The number of technicians in the state is expected to grow by 16% through 2028.
Texas employs the highest number of occupational health and safety technicians in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area has the highest employment level of technicians in the country.
Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.