(HUTTO, Texas) – Adam Cox, of Pflugerville, is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology at Texas State Technical College in East Williamson County. He is scheduled to graduate in December.
In April, Cox received a bronze medal in the CNC Milling competition at the SkillsUSA Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference in Houston.
Cox is a graduate of Pflugerville High School.
How did you learn about TSTC and pick your program of study?
I originally found out about TSTC from my father, who was working on fire alarms here a few years ago. It was important to stay local to go to college because it is a lot cheaper.
I originally went in for Cybersecurity, but that did not quite work out due to COVID-19. I dropped and stayed out of school for about a year. I decided to go back and go into Precision Machining Technology. It has been pretty good. I have learned mostly about the manual machines, both the lathe and milling machines. I am getting used to the CNC (computer numerical control) machines.
What is your favorite part of the program so far?
It would have to be the puzzle aspect of making parts and figuring out what exactly you want to do when and how.
What was it like representing the campus at the state SkillsUSA conference?
I did it to experience something new and to actually see how much I knew. I did not prepare for the competition. We had a written test and we played on the simulator to make a theoretical part. We received an outline and we had to write a program that would give the output. I was surprised it was me getting the bronze medal.
Are you working in your field?
I am working at Enovis in Austin. I am working 24 hours a week. They have me running a six-axis CNC lathe. The job is part-time.
The instructors in the Precision Machining Technology program were offering a trip over to their building during the spring semester and I decided to go and take a look around. When I heard their salary, I signed up immediately. I started working there in April, and it is pretty good. I am learning new stuff there.
Why should more people pursue a technical education?
It is a heck of a lot cheaper, and you will probably get paid more. It takes a lot less time.
What kind of college advice would you give?
Going to a technical college is more likely going to land you a stable high income. A four-year university may get you a job, but you will have debt depending on how you pay. There is nothing shameful about going to a two-year institution. It is a whole lot better.
Machinists in Texas make a yearly median salary of more than $47,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine website. The state will need more than 29,600 machinists by 2028, according to the website.
TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program is part of the Money-Back Guarantee program. Students in their first semester are eligible to sign up for free with campus Career Services representatives. Over the course of their training at TSTC, students attend workshops to learn about resume writing, interview techniques and other employment skills. Students who are not hired in their field within six months after graduation may be eligible to get a tuition refund for their time at TSTC.
Registration continues for the fall semester. For more information, go to tstc.edu.