(WACO) – As a child, Beau Babineau of Creedmoor enjoyed flipping cars. In high school, he worked as a mechanic and knew he wanted to work with diesel equipment after his dad bought a diesel truck.
“I’ve learned more in two semesters than I had in most of high school,” said Babineau, 18, a Diesel Equipment Technology student at Texas State Technical College.
Job prospects are booming for students studying to become diesel technicians.
“Industry pretty much comes here,” said David Folz, lead instructor for the Diesel Equipment Technology program at TSTC. “They are constantly calling us.”
The program has developed several partnerships with industry leaders such as RDO Equipment Co. and Freightliner. Many of these companies send representatives to TSTC to talk to students about the field.
“We had a job fair and got to talk to a lot of really good people,” said Robert Landry, 21, of Cypress. “We’ve got our foot in the door all over the place.”
Landry is excited for the opportunities in the technician field.
“The industry is growing big time,” Landry said. “So there is definitely job security.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas employs the most bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in the country with more than 27,400 workers.
Durham School Services provides transportation for schools across the United States. The company is frequently looking for qualified technicians to hire.
“It is very difficult to find good mechanics,” said Enrique Rangel, lead technician for Durham School Services in Waco. “Experience is something I look for.”
Rangel says experience makes candidates stand out more during the hiring process.
“We’ll base it [hiring] on experience,” Rangel said. “What have they done and where can we develop them to become better mechanics?”
Diesel Equipment Technology students at TSTC get a combination of classroom and hands-on learning.
“They prepare us pretty dang good and they’ve got a lot of engines for us to work on,” said Babineau. “The instructors really seem to care about the stuff we’re learning. We have a lot of hands-on work and it’s pretty fast-paced.”
Babineau is excited for the future and for the rest of his time at TSTC.
“Coming out of a school and having two associate degrees, I think I’ll be moving up quickly through the field,” Babineau said. “A lot of people don’t get that opportunity.”
TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program offers students certificates and associate degrees with specialties. In addition to Waco, the program is offered on the Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about Texas State Technical College, visit tstc.edu.