(ABILENE, Texas) – After earning a certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology from Texas State Technical College last summer, Alfred Rodriguez, of Knox City, wanted to continue his education this fall.

The 39-year-old is now pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program. He began classes in Abilene knowing that his oil field experience will help him.

“I figured working in the oil patch for 15 to 16 years that I needed to get an overall better understanding of machinery,” he said. “I have worked with a lot of equipment, but I know this will help me expand my knowledge.”

During his oil field career, Rodriguez worked on various equipment with different companies. Now he is studying electrical systems that he is familiar with and some he knew little about.

“I knew I would have to be knowledgeable in different things. For me, some of it is the basic stuff I have seen during my oil field career,” he said.

Rodriguez said the younger students may have an advantage over him in some areas, but his experience is guiding him in his pursuit of an associate degree.

“At first, I wanted to have some basic knowledge of how things work. That way if I wanted to build a building in my backyard, I would know how to wire things,” he said.

He admitted that he should have listened to his father after graduating from high school.

“My father told me that if I had applied myself then, it would not have been as difficult,” Rodriguez said. “That was another learning experience for me.”

Rodriguez said looking back, he should have pursued an associate degree in Diesel Equipment Technology. But he is happy that he completed the certificate program.

The classes did prove challenging for him.

“The last time I had to do math like that was in 2000 and 2001,” he said. “The instructors were good at walking you through the problems, and I was able to apply what I learned.”

Rodriguez even did some recruiting for TSTC.

“I got my wife turned on to the online Business Management Technology program, and she started this fall,” he said.

Rodriguez offered his wife some advice as she began her first semester.

“I warned her that there would be a lot of homework during the first semester and she would have to get used to it,” he said. 

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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