(ABILENE) – A new way to study power technology that keeps electricity flowing will debut in August in the Big Country.
Texas State Technical College will offer the Associate of Applied Science degree in Electrical Power and Controls this fall at the new Industrial Technology Center on Navajo Trail in Abilene. The degree is the first of its kind to be offered at TSTC’s four West Texas campuses.
Some of the skills that Electrical Power and Controls majors can acquire include an understanding of the National Electrical Code, how direct and alternating currents function, and electrical design.
“Our guys go to work with utilities and testing and maintenance in the wind industry,” said Dan Bateman, a senior instructor in TSTC in Waco’s Electrical Power and Controls program. “A lot of companies will hire a contractor to maintain their substations and generators. The companies come here to interview.”
The Woodlands – Houston – Sugar Land area has the highest number of electrical and electronics engineering technicians in Texas with more than 3,700, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. West Texas, excluding Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland and Odessa, had about 200 technician jobs.
Some of the other jobs graduates can go into include electrical and electronics repairers for substations, powerhouses and relays, and electrical and electronics engineering technicians.
Ryan Bartholomew, a human resources consultant at AEP Texas in Abilene, said he cannot consider applicants for jobs in the field without an associate degree. He said AEP Texas has hired TSTC Electrical Power and Controls graduates in the past.
“I build relationships with people and have phone conversations and try to make a cognitive effort to email TSTC and say, ‘When is your next graduating class? I have this job coming open,’” Bartholomew said.
The program’s instructor in Abilene, Kevin Staton, owned an electrical business in Virginia before moving this summer to join TSTC. He said students are in for a “wonderful experience” with the hands-on learning.
“You have to respect electricity or it will hurt you,” Staton said. “There is one thing you can count on, and that is always having a job in this field. It’s going to be hard for a computer or anything to take over this kind of trade.”
The Electrical Power and Controls program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which promises graduates will secure jobs in their field within six months of graduation or receive their tuition money back.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.