(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Robert Olivares wanted to know more about automobiles.
Before he enrolled as a Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology student, he already knew how to fix a tire and change the oil. But it was knowing about the inner workings of vehicles that Olivares craved.
“In high school, I took a class on the body side of vehicles, but I always wanted to learn more about how cars work,” he said.
Attending TSTC was a perfect way for Olivares, who is currently studying for a certificate of completion, to learn more.
“It has been real fun for me to learn things this semester,” he said. “TSTC has the best instructors to teach us the techniques to get us the experience we need.”
Instructor Gerod Strother said first-semester students are learning different techniques and making them their own.
“They are figuring different ways to work on a solution and are doing it together,” he said. “Many of our students work together to make decisions that will help them in the shop.”
Olivares has learned something about himself in the shop.
“I have to be more patient with myself when I am working on the vehicle,” he said. “I have to make decisions that are best for the project.”
Listening to his classmates is also a good way to learn, Olivares said.
“I am valuing everyone’s opinion when we are talking,” he said. “We have to respect each other because someone may know the best way to work on the vehicle in a certain case.”
While studying for a certificate is his first goal, Olivares has bigger plans that include TSTC.
“I am going to study for my Associate of Applied Science degree because I really want to be part of the TESLA program at TSTC,” he said. “I am fascinated with the technology that is growing in vehicles, and electric-based cars are our future.”
Olivares has a career goal of owning his own shop and knows the best way for that to happen is to “get as much experience as I can.”
The need for qualified technicians is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to onetonline.org, Texas has more than 60,000 technicians employed around the state, and that number is forecast to top 65,000 by 2028. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $45,520.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Chrysler Specialization, Tesla START Technician and Toyota T-TEN Specialization, and a Basic Automotive occupational skills award, are also available, depending on campus location.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.