TSTC Design Program Gets New Name, Curriculum

(MARSHALL, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology program has a new name and focus for the fall.

The program will shift to an all-online format with virtual labs. Josh Stampley, a program instructor, said faculty will use TSTC’s Moodle platform and Microsoft Whiteboard for teaching and interacting with students.

The revamped curriculum will emphasize two-dimensional and three-dimensional architectural, civil and mechanical drafting. 

“We give our students enough knowledge in each of these fields where they would be successful finding a job in the discipline they enjoy the most once they graduate,” said Samuel Pizano, TSTC’s statewide chair for the Drafting and Design Technology Department. “This also allows for our graduates to become more versatile CAD (computer aided drafting) technicians with a wide variety of skills they will be able to showcase in industry.”

The program will offer for the first time an Occupational Skills Award in Basic Computer Aided Drafting. Students will take three classes to complete the award in about four months.

“This is for a person who might have been doing a little drafting and needs more expertise,” Stampley said. “Hopefully this can pique an interest in getting the associate degree.”

Students will have access to AutoCAD, Autodesk, Civil 3D, Revit, Solid Works and Lumion software.

“Students can elect to learn additional softwares, such as ArcGIS Desktop and Plant 3D, depending on the specialization route they chose to follow,” Pizano said. “Along with gaining experience with these drafting and design softwares, students will be exposed to the different industry standards for the architectural, civil and mechanical drafting and design disciplines, including projects created to mimic real-world industry blueprints and designs.”

Cathy Boldt, associate director of professional development for the American Institute of Architects’ Dallas chapter, said when the economy is strong there is a demand for workers with experience in architectural design graphics.

“At this time, many of the architecture firms have had projects put on hold or cancelled, resulting in layoffs at those firms,” Boldt said. “This means the market is currently flooded with individuals who are experienced and who may be willing to do this type of job rather than have no job. The question is their level of expertise in today’s technologies.” 

Texas had more than 11,200 architectural and civil drafters in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual mean wage was more than $57,000. The Arlington-Dallas-Fort Worth area had the largest concentration of workers with more than 4,000. The Longview area had about 60 workers.

Pizano said program faculty recommends students apply for jobs in the drafting area they feel most confident and comfortable in.

“We have successfully placed our students in drafting and design careers across the state of Texas and we consistently have companies reaching out to us who are interested in hiring our students,” he said. “We have noticed a high demand for CAD technicians in the state of Texas which continues to to hold strong even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jobs for architectural and civil drafters are projected to rise to more than 103,000 by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency attributes this to new jobs in the construction and engineering sectors.

Registration continues for the fall semester.

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