(SWEETWATER, Texas) – The Diesel Equipment Technology lab at Texas State Technical College is filled with future mechanics.
The new students are putting the finishing touches on the first semester of the program with thoughts of what the future holds.
“I cannot wait to get started working on the engines,” said John Mendez, who is studying for a certificate of completion. “That is when we know we are getting close to completing the program.”
But before working on engines, students have had to learn other parts of the truck.
“I think for me the hardest part was learning the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system,” said Logan Yancy, who is also studying for a certificate of completion. “Once I got in there and started working on it, it was easy to pick up. That is all thanks to our instructors.”
Kristopher Diaz, who is also working toward a certificate of completion, found another area tough to master.
“The brake system was complicated at first, but being able to work on it daily made it easier to understand,” he said.
Each of the students said having experienced instructors has helped them throughout the semester.
“The instructors are going to make sure you are not doing anything wrong,” said Tyler Shartle, who is studying for a certificate of completion.
Mendez said he likes the teaching style offered at TSTC.
“The instructors are going to show you how to take something apart and describe each piece,” he said. “By the time we are done, we will know all aspects of that engine part. That is what makes this a great place to learn.”
Yancy said having a fast-paced environment in the lab is also a positive aspect of the program.
“We are working hard to complete the projects so we can move on to the next lesson,” he said.
The students also said the lab sessions are more than a learning experience.
“It is like we are in the shop,” Shartle said. “Like they say, if you are doing something you enjoy, it is not work at all.”
Instructor Shannon Weir said when the students complete the program, they will be in high demand by shop owners.
“When our students graduate, there will be some place for them to go to work not just in our area in West Texas, but statewide,” he said.
According to onetonline.org, jobs for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists are expected to increase 14% in Texas by 2028. Diesel technicians employed in Texas can earn an annual average salary of $49,810, the website stated.
Diesel Equipment Technology is offered at the Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. It is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee program. If a participating graduate does not find a job in their field within six months of graduating, TSTC will return their tuition in full.
TSTC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion, in Diesel Equipment Technology.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.