(ABILENE, Texas) – Beginning with the spring semester, Texas State Technical College’s Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program will be offered in Abilene.

The program will be taught at the U.S. Highway 80 campus by Teresa Purcell. Since the move from the Breckenridge campus was announced, Purcell said the news has been well received by industry partners.

“There is such a need for the program in the Abilene area,” she said. “With the expected growth of Abilene in the next few years, graduates of this program will be able to go to work locally.”

Raquel Mata, TSTC’s associate provost for the Breckenridge and Brownwood campuses, sees the move as a positive sign for the college and West Texas.

“Relocating the Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program will allow TSTC to better serve our current and future industry partners in this area,” she said. “There’s a higher demand for graduates here because of the new businesses selecting Abilene as their home.”

Purcell said many students who enrolled in the program over the past few years were from the Abilene area.

“With the program available in Abilene, this will allow individuals to attend class locally and not have to drive out of town,” she said.

Another reason for the move is to attract military veterans in the Abilene area, Mata said.

“We found that the program is a great fit for individuals with a military background, and with Dyess Air Force Base here, it makes sense,” she said. “We are excited for the future and to have our first class of students starting in January 2023.”

Classes, beginning in the spring semester, will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays. Three different courses will be available.

“One of the classes is OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Regulations for General Industry, where the student will earn a 30-hour OSHA card,” Purcell said. “Another is the Occupational Safety and Health First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillators course, where the student will receive certification. The final course will cover disposal techniques.”

During the 20-month program, students will learn different skills, including accident prevention, environmental regulations, industrial hygiene, safety program management and physical hazards control. Students will also be able to obtain an OSHA construction card and a Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) card when they complete the program.

According to onetonline.org, Texas’ need for occupational health and safety technicians was forecast to grow 22% between 2020 and 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in Texas is $39,460, according to the website. The website showed the average annual salary for a technician in West Texas at $41,000.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and an occupational skills achievement award in Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance, which are also available at the Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.

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

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