TSTC Electrical Construction Program Launches Graduates Into Work

(WACO, Texas) – Students in Texas State Technical College’s Electrical Construction program have an array of opportunities for work after graduation.

TSTC offers an Electrical Construction certificate at the Waco campus. Students learn about basic electrical theory, electrical codes, safety regulations, wiring and other topics.

“As your (TSTC’s) students are concerned, what gives them a jump is they have their OSHA training, their first aid and CPR training,” said Craig Miller, business manager for Local 72 of the  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Waco. “They are familiar with the electrical code. We just build on that and run with that from there.”

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation governs licensing for electricians. Under the agency, TSTC’s Electrical Construction students can get an apprenticeship card while in the program. When students graduating from the program earn 800 on-the-job hours, they can take the journeyman’s license test. After 4,000 additional on-the-job hours, graduates can take the master’s license test.

“We have quite a few of your graduates that are in our training program now that have completed the program,” Miller said. “You can start at 19, 20 years old and go until you are 62. We are looking for lifers.”

Hugh Whitted, chair of TSTC’s Electrical Construction program, said a lot of students entering the program already have some electrical knowledge, either through high school classes or military experience.

Whitted said Electrical Construction graduates can pursue union or nonunion work. Job opportunities can provide work throughout Texas, out of state or in another country.

“There is always a need for women and minorities in the field,” he said. “There is no physical reason why anyone could not be successful in this field.”

The Waco Independent School District employs its own electricians. Kevin Hafer, the district’s coordinator of facilities and maintenance, said it can be difficult finding people with proper qualifications. 

“Most electricians that possess the proper qualifications are able to command a higher salary in the private sector, albeit with less benefits than the district typically offers,” Hafer said.

Miller said the health care industry has a need for electricians. And, he said large-scale projects like the $1.9 billion Steel Dynamics mill project in Sinton needs electricians.

Jobs for electricians are projected to be at more than 789,000 by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It predicts the need for workers will be driven by alternative energy and construction spending. 

Texas had more than 63,000 electricians making an annual mean wage of more than $52,000 in 2019, according to the federal agency. The Waco area had more than 500 electricians last year.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.