(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Nate Slayton’s fascination with engines led him to Texas State Technical College.
Slayton, of Coleman, is studying for a certificate of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology with a heavy truck specialization in hopes of working for a major trucking company.
“I have always worked on old trucks because I was fascinated with engines,” he said. “I was able to work on some vehicles when I was young. But when I was a junior in high school, I decided to make this my career.”
Slayton said he knew that TSTC would be a good place to study after looking at the college’s curriculum.
“I like the quick pace of the program because I study for just over a year and get out there in the field,” he said.
Lane White, a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor, said Slayton is showing the signs of an employee who can be depended on in the shop.
“Nate works really hard at what he does,” White said. “He comes to class ready to work and learn. He is going to have a good career in diesel mechanics because of his work ethic.”
Slayton said he is surprised with the pace of the class and how students are able to work together.
“I enjoy the time we have in class,” he said. “The instructors make sure we have everything we need, even if that means staying late. I have been here after hours with them so I can learn as much as I can.”
Slayton also has learned that the instructors will do something else for students.
“I appreciate how our instructors will help us if we are missing an assignment or if it was deleted,” he said. “They are going to work with us to make sure all of our assignments are turned in.”
Slayton said he is learning more than he expected since beginning the program in August.
“I have enjoyed learning all of the different components of the truck,” he said. “It does take you some time to learn each one. But once I worked with them a few times, I had the hang of it.”
Slayton is waiting for his work on the engines to begin, something his classmates are also anticipating.
“We are all ready to begin working on the engines,” he said. “I am excited to learn how they operate.”
Slayton said his classmates have become friends as they work together. During one lab session, the class was assigned to work on a dead battery. While it was charging, they took time to discuss what they were learning in class.
“I did not know if I would make friends when I was here, but we have all become close,” he said. “It is good to get together away from the lab and have fun.”
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were expected to increase 19% in Texas from 2020 to 2030. Such technicians employed in Texas can earn an annual average salary of $47,850, the website stated.
Diesel Equipment Technology is available at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Depending on campus location, the program offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion and a Basic Diesel occupational skills achievement award.
It is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months of graduating, TSTC will refund their tuition in full.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.