(HUTTO, Texas) – Adrianna Contreras, of Killeen, is a student in Texas State Technical College’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technology program at the East Williamson County campus. She is working toward an associate degree and is scheduled to graduate in late 2024.
What factored into your decision to attend TSTC?
I already knew that I wanted a good job in a lucrative industry, so I was looking into every technical school in Central Texas. TSTC was in the forefront because the website provided a great amount of information that I was looking for, such as the time it took to become certified, the tuition costs, and statistics about how much I can potentially make in the industry. TSTC was also the closest campus to me that I felt I could succeed at.
How did you decide to study HVAC Technology?
I am interested in the HVAC field not only for its high demand for technicians, but also because I have always had an interest in how machines that we use every day work, what makes them function, and how to service them when they are no longer working.
How have you enjoyed the HVAC Technology program so far?
I really enjoy learning about HVAC. The program has been built so that any person can pick up HVAC whether you had previous experience or not, so there has not been a serious learning curve and I just jumped right into it. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the principles of refrigeration, or how the system actually is able to quickly cool a space. There is much more science than I thought.
What is the most challenging part of the program so far?
It is time management. I feel freer with performance-based education to go back in the modules and revisit subjects when I feel I need to. But I need to know when to move forward to the next lab or I should be more confident to do a mastery.
Why should more women pursue the HVAC field?
Because it is just as my instructors say: The stuff that we learn is not hard. These machines can look intimidating, but once you see them in their individual parts, I am confident to say that ladies can do it. It’s the knowledge and the hands-on experience you gather that will give you the confidence to pursue any career you put your mind to.
What is your career goal after graduation?
I hope to continue on as a technician. I want to apply to a company that specializes in commercial installation. I want to be able to install and maintain those kinds of units.
Texas had more than 30,000 HVAC mechanics and installers as of May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual mean wage in the state was more than $51,700.
Zippia.com, a career expert website, estimates that less than 3% of HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide are women.
There will be a need for more than 438,000 HVAC mechanics and installers by 2032, according to the federal labor statistics agency.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC Technology and certificates of completion in HVAC Technician, HVAC Residential Service Technician and HVAC Technology.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.