(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Construction, Energy Efficiency Specialist, and Solar Energy Technology programs have seen an increase in students for the fall semester.
The programs have a combined 100 first-semester students, with the total enrollment for the three programs exceeding 150 students.
“I have been here for four years, and this is the fourth commercial lab I have had to build because of the growth,” said Darin Timmons, an instructor in the three programs.
Timmons attributes the increase in enrollment to a demand for skilled electricians and the growing demand for alternative energy. More solar farms are being built in Central Texas, which provides learning and career opportunities for students.
“The demand is not going away anytime soon,” Timmons said.
Nathan Mikeska, of Whitney, is a first-semester Electrical Construction student. He said he wanted to do something different since working in plumbing runs in his family.
“You never run out of electricity,” Mikeska said. “You will always have work.”
Derrick Tullous, of Bremond, is pursuing what is known at TSTC as the “Triple Crown,” which consists of the Associate of Applied Science degree in Solar Energy Technology and certificates of completion in Electrical Construction and Energy Efficiency Specialist. His inspiration to pursue the programs was his great-uncle, an electrician.
Tullous said he has enjoyed learning about the history of electricity and looks forward to learning how solar panels function.
Due to the increased number of students, Timmons said he has worked with the Building Construction Technology program to better schedule classroom usage in the building that they share on campus.
More students also mean additional faculty members are needed. The three programs have grown to include six instructors, with two additional teaching hires expected in the near future, Timmons said.
Timmons said his goals for the programs are to develop a two-semester solar installer certificate, add an associate degree in Electrical Construction, and enable students to take their journeyman electrician test once they finish the Electrical Construction program.
The programs accept students every fall, spring and summer semester.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.