(ABILENE, Texas) – Ben Massey began taking Aircraft Powerplant Technology classes at Texas State Technical College with no prior mechanical experience.
Now nearing the end of his third semester in the program, Massey, of Tyler, is working toward an associate degree while also being employed at Eagle Aviation Services at the Abilene Regional Airport. He is one of seven TSTC students this semester working on planes while attending school.
“It is great to have that agreement in place with Eagle,” he said. “To have that so close to us was a good selling point to come to school.”
Massey said he and other students share their experiences at the aviation company during lab sessions. He also knows he will have an advantage over fellow job seekers when he graduates.
“I will be able to put that I have two years of experience on my resume at Eagle,” he said. “I know that will go a long way when I am looking for a job.”
Not having mechanical experience did not stop Massey from pursuing an associate degree.
“This has been very challenging, but fun,” he said. “I like the hands-on approach to the labs. I learn more by doing things.”
Some lab sessions have proven to be difficult for him, but Massey said instructors and fellow students are always available when he needs help.
“Before coming to school, I had never worked with sheet metal before. But everyone was encouraging me to do my best,” he said.
Massey said he chose a career in aviation by chance. He admitted not knowing what he wanted to do, but he decided to enroll after looking at the program online.
“It was the right career choice for me,” he said. “This a very expansive field, and a lot of companies are hiring right now.”
The demand for aircraft powerplant technicians in Texas is high, with more than 100 job postings online in mid-November.
Massey said he was sold on the program when he learned that its graduates readily find work.
“I know that I will have a lot of options following graduation,” he said. “I am preparing for my career right now. I knew I wanted a career working with my hands.”
Instructor Josh Parker has seen nearly all of his students gain employment soon after graduation.
“I am going to get them to the point that they have the knowledge to pass the FFA exam,” he said.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.