Davis Rios (left) stands with classmates around an engine.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College offers a chance for military veterans to utilize their benefits to grow their passion. Such is the case for Davis Rios.

Rios is a first-semester student at TSTC. He served in the military and is now looking to expand his education through the college’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.

How did you know about TSTC?

I actually knew about it from a friend of mine. He went through the program right out of high school. I did some time in the service when I got out of high school. They give us benefits to attend school, which is what I am using now. I was able to talk to my friend about his experience with TSTC. So I guess you could say word-of-mouth from him.

What made you choose TSTC and the Diesel Equipment Technology program?

I am better with the hands-on type of classroom. I prefer that over the strictly lecture type of classes. As for diesel, I have always been drawn to big rigs and big trucks. I have operated a few of them before. So taking this program helps me learn what keeps them on the road. That is what pushed me here.

What are you looking to do once you make it through the program?

Once I graduate, we have a Caterpillar shop back where I am from. My go-to plan was to get the classes and education I need here and then join the workforce as soon as I am done. Right now, I am going for a certification, but I can see myself at some point coming back for an associate degree.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned in the past few weeks?

So far, dealing with the engines and easing into it has been great. It is a complicated system. You look at the engine, and it looks really big. But it is actually a bunch of really small parts. You have to get in there to learn why it does what it does. That is what has been interesting me the most.


Diesel Equipment Technology is available at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Depending on campus location, the program offers Associate of Applied Science degrees with different specializations, as well as several certificates of completion and a Basic Diesel occupational skills achievement award.

The program is one of nine Money-Back Guarantee programs in which tuition is refunded if the participating graduate has not found employment in their field of study within six months of graduation.

According to onetonline.org, diesel engine specialists in Texas can earn a median salary of $47,850 a year. The website projected that there would be a 19% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.

For more information about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

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