TSTC Rio Grande Valley Wind Energy Technology program spotlight

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Wind Energy Technology program offers students the chance to reach the very top of their potential.

“The wind program takes you to new heights because you’re literally climbing 300 feet in the air,” TSTC Wind Energy Technology instructor Patrick Zoerner said. “If you’re interested in learning about electronics and fluid hydraulic power, and computer programming, you’ll be doing a little bit of all of that — and mechanical maintenance.”

Students in the program can expect to have plenty of hands-on learning experiences and safety training, he added.

“It will open their eyes, that’s for sure, with a lot of the safety and the DC circuits they’ll be learning,” Zoerner said.

The Wind Energy Technology program recently obtained new equipment in the form of programmable logic controllers, which can program equipment to turn on or off at certain times or emergency shutoffs. Students can apply what they learn through hands-on training on this type of equipment to multiple industries.

“It means a brighter future for them because they can take that anywhere, whether it’s into wind or solar or into heavy industry, because that’s everything they do in heavy industry now,” Zoerner said.

According to onetonline.org, wind energy technology careers are poised for strong future growth: Jobs for wind energy development managers are projected to grow in Texas by 17% through 2028, and jobs for wind turbine service technicians could grow by 83% in the same time period.

“It’s a very big demand. Wind is not going away. Green energy — that’s what our world is coming to now,” Zoerner said. “We have a lot of wind turbines coming up. There’s a lot of growth.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology and a Wind Energy Technician certificate of completion. Graduates have had many opportunities to work for companies with turbines throughout the country and around the world, Zoerner said.

Wind turbine service technicians can make an average of $52,420 a year in Texas, while wind energy development managers can earn an average of $121,240 annually in the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the fall semester at TSTC is poised to begin Monday, Aug. 30, Zoerner had some advice for both new and prospective students in his program.

“Keep your head focused on the path you want to travel,” he said. “Get your education, and move forward toward your career.”

 Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.

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