Man in green shirt looking at 3D printer

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – While working on a robot, Cameron Dirickson realized he wanted to change career paths.

Dirickson was studying Welding Technology at Texas State Technical College when a different program caught his attention. He is now pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electromechanical Technology.

“I have always been interested in technology and was working with a robot one day. I decided that I wanted to do more work like this,” he said. “I knew there was a program in Sweetwater that would allow me to learn more about this career.”

Dirickson said his family was supportive of his decision to switch programs after learning it was not just a career in robotics.

“I told them this was more about troubleshooting problems,” he said. “If I had to explain the program to my family, I told them it was for me to become a PLC (programmable logic controller) technician or a systems technician.”

Dirickson is looking forward to what he will learn during the fall semester.

“This semester, I will be learning how to use the new 3D printer in the program,” he said. “I will be spending a lot of time learning how that operates.”

James Simonetti, an Electromechanical Technology instructor at TSTC, said Dirickson is driven to succeed in the program.

“He wants to achieve happiness and fulfillment in his career,” Simonetti said. “He listens very well in class and is willing to make sure he understands what he needs to do to succeed.”

Dirickson said having Simonetti and Arnoldo Soto as instructors has reinforced his decision to shift career paths.

“James brings to us a style of what he has done in many years in the field,” he said. “Arnoldo brings a more disciplined style with his military background. They work with students well to make sure we know each aspect of the lesson.”

Dirickson said he is keeping his job options open but does know of a hobby he will have, thanks to his time at TSTC.

“I am going to keep welding as a hobby,” he said. “I know it is a fun thing that I can do on the side.”

According to, the need for electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 14% between 2020 and 2030. The website stated that the median salary for these technicians in the state is $62,970.

TSTC offers an Electromechanical Technology Associate of Applied Science degree and two Electromechanical Technician certificates of completion exclusively at the Sweetwater campus.

For more information about TSTC, visit

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