TSTC Industrial Systems instructor Brian Weakley demonstrates the programmable logic controller (PLC) troubleshooting system in the lab at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Industrial Systems program is a powerful tool for anyone looking for a high-demand, great-paying career across countless industries.

“We fix very complicated pieces of equipment when they break,” said TSTC Industrial Systems lead instructor Brian Weakley. “We’re not focused on any one industry because the skills learned here apply to all industries.”

These are the top three things to know about TSTC’s Industrial Systems program and the opportunities it can provide:

1. TSTC’s Industrial Systems program prepares students to perform maintenance and repairs on industrial equipment.

The Industrial Systems lab at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus is full of industry-relevant equipment for students’ hands-on training.

“Even though it’s set up in a trainer configuration, the components are what the guys are going to see in the real world,” Weakley said. “We’re using real stuff.”

With a mastery of the various electrical and mechanical systems and components, students can go on to work in a wide variety of industries.

“I’ve always said that if you can understand how something works, it doesn’t matter what kind of machine it’s in — you still know how it works,” Weakley said. “We teach our future technicians all the basics that they need so when they get out of here, they can go to work — and employers can be confident that they can do a good job.”

TSTC instructors like Weakley have backgrounds in the industries they teach, enabling students to gain wisdom from experience in addition to knowledge. Weakley’s resume spans decades in various industrial maintenance positions.

“I’ve been in maintenance for a long time, and I’ve got things up here that aren’t in any of the textbooks,” he said, pointing to his head. “I’m trying to impart that knowledge as we go through the program.”

2. Industrial maintenance technicians are essential and in high demand across a broad range of industries.

“Our graduates are going to work for some of the biggest manufacturers around,” Weakley said.

Some of those companies include Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, Dollar General and Frito-Lay, among many others.

Frito-Lay recently began a paid internship program for TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus Industrial Systems students at the company’s nearby Rosenberg plant with the goal of creating an employment pipeline for future graduates.

“Everybody needs maintenance technicians,” Weakley said.

At 41,180, Texas employs the highest number of industrial machinery mechanics 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 industrial machinery mechanics out of all other metropolitan areas in the country.

Onetonline.org forecasts the number of positions to grow across the state by 13% through 2028.

TSTC is so confident that its Industrial Systems graduates will get hired that the program is part of the college’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds tuition to participating alumni if they do not get a job in the field within six months of earning their degree.

3. TSTC Industrial Systems graduates have the opportunity to enter into high-paying careers.

In Texas, industrial machinery mechanics can earn an average annual salary of $57,600, according to onetonline.org.

But with opportunities for overtime — including time and a half and double time as work hours and need increase — that amount can quickly grow.

“We’re talking big money now,” Weakley said. “As a kid right out of high school, where else can you go to school and 16 months later you’re working for a Fortune 500 company? The money is great.”

Registration for the fall semester is underway. Learn more at tstc.edu.

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