A woman in a green shirt putting a gas mask on a teenager

(ABILENE, Texas) – With the need increasing for occupational health and safety technicians across the state, Texas State Technical College is helping to fill those jobs.

TSTC’s Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program, which offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and certificates of completion at the Abilene, Fort Bend County and Waco campuses, trains future technicians for jobs in different industries. 

According to onetonline.org, the need for occupational health and safety technicians in Texas was projected to increase 22% from 2020 to 2030. Technicians in Texas can earn a median salary of $52,460, the website stated.

Teresa Purcell, an instructor at TSTC’s Abilene campus, said the need for qualified technicians is important in West Texas.

“Texas is growing, and the need for safety technicians is in high demand. If it is in construction, wind energy, the oil and gas industry, or in general industry facilities, the need is there,” she said. “Currently there are more than 3,500 job postings throughout Texas for safety inspectors.”

Purcell recently discussed what the program involves for students and what excites them about learning from experienced instructors.

What is TSTC’s Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program?

The program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and hands-on skills needed to help companies create effective safety and environmental programs. The student will learn how to analyze if a workplace is safe. Students develop a strong background in safety, health and environmental topics. In the program, students will get hands-on water, soil and air sampling and testing procedures. They will gain knowledge of Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations in construction and general industry. They will learn how to conduct environmental health site assessments. There is so much with this program on both sides, safety and environmental, that the student will learn the ability to work in different environments.

What have graduates told you about their career successes?

They love what they are doing. They love the challenges each day. In their work environment, co-workers feel good and have high moral values because of knowing that safety is top priority.

How does it make you feel, as an instructor, to learn of a graduate’s success?

I feel proud knowing that a student is doing what they love and are succeeding. It is exciting to know they are making a difference in their workplace and are proud to be able to contribute in a positive way.

What makes a person, including yourself, excited about occupational safety?

Just knowing that the workplace is safe and workers are going home every night to their families. There is so much a person learns about occupational safety. It is a rewarding feeling knowing that things are done safely and you are part of it.

Why is it important for companies to have safety inspectors?

The primary goal of health and safety inspections is to prevent accidents, injuries and other incidents from occurring at the workplace. Companies’ cost of insurance is lower when less reportable injuries happen because of the safety inspector identifying and preventing accidents from happening.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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