(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Lionel Silva is originally from Mexico, but he moved to Rosenberg in 2009 because of its proximity to a wide range of opportunities in petrochemical and other industries.
When Silva decided to start an apprenticeship in the robotics maintenance department at his workplace, a global manufacturer of pipes and related services, he chose to supplement his learning on the job by pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree from Texas State Technical College’s Robotics and Industrial Controls Technology program.
Have you been able to apply what you are learning in TSTC’s Robotics and Industrial Controls Technology program to your current position at your work?
It helps a lot to train at TSTC and work at the same time. Right now at TSTC, we’re studying sensors. That can help me in the field and also programming the robots.
What have been some of your favorite interactions with robots and automation so far?
One of the interesting things I’m doing at work right now is a robot diagnostic screen. At TSTC, just interacting with the robots and completing the labs are my favorite parts.
What are your goals, and what drives you to work to complete them?
My goal is to earn my degree and go back to my workplace. They know I’m going to school. I’m getting ready to finish my apprenticeship program this year too. Two years of work experience and a two-year degree will give me opportunities on newly posted jobs.
What drives me is my passion for robotics. This is what I like doing. At the same time, to move up in the company and gain more knowledge, that’s what keeps me motivated to come to school.
Would you recommend TSTC to prospective students?
Yes. It’s convenient. The prices are good. A lot of companies have actually hired TSTC graduates. If prospective students want to work with companies that work with robots, they could go into TSTC’s Robotics and Industrial Controls program.
What advice would you have for prospective students?
Get an apprenticeship in a company in robotics and automation. In the third or fourth semester at TSTC, start applying for positions. A lot of the time they will give you an opportunity if you let them know you’re getting your degree. They may hire you before you graduate. That will give you the opportunity to learn with the company.
Try to learn as much as you can from TSTC. In the field, if your supervisor sees that you’re picking up everything quickly, they will promote you.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certification of completion in Robotics and Industrial Controls Technology at its Fort Bend County and Waco campuses. This program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds tuition to participating graduates who are not hired in their field within six months of earning their degree.
In Texas, robotics technicians can earn an average annual salary of $61,250, according to onetonline.org, which projects the number of positions in the state to grow by 13% through 2028.
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area has the fourth-highest employment level of robotics technicians in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Registration for the fall semester at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.