Texas Border Business
By Amanda Sotelo
Texas is the number one producer of wind energy in the nation and with its continued growth, the demand for highly-skilled and well-trained technicians is increasing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment of wind turbine technicians is expected to grow 96 percent through 2026, much faster than the average for all other occupations.
Wind Energy Technicians according to the BLS on average make around $54,000 a year.
Texas State Technical College is helping to meet this demand and place its graduates into high-paying jobs with its Wind Energy Technology program.
TSTC Wind Energy Technology instructor Patrick Zoerner explains how TSTC is preparing for the future of wind energy.
What is the length of the program?
The program is four to five semesters and takes approximately two years to complete.
What can a student expect when they graduate?
Students in Wind Energy Technology can choose to obtain either a Certificate 1 (four semesters) or an Associate of Applied Science degree (five semesters).
What skills do you learn in Wind Energy Technology?
In this program students learn how to prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflow for turbine construction and maintenance, conduct statistical studies, read schematic and power delivery systems and analyze production costs. They also take courses in AC/DC circuits, programmable logic controllers and electromechanical systems.
By the end of the program, a student will be qualified to operate and maintain the systems that make a wind turbine function.
What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?
Students in the program will have the opportunity to learn the skills they need for a successful career in the field by having access to industry-standard torque and tension equipment, electrical meter readers, simulation generators, lab volt equipment, mock turbine nacelles, hydraulic instruments and lab volt setups. They will also get to practice and perform climb tests at a local wind farm location.
How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?
By learning these skills, graduates from Wind Energy Technology will have career opportunities regionally and statewide. They will be able to work at turbine construction and manufacturing sites in the distribution and generation industries or at utility companies. They can also find careers at wind farms, solar energy farms and power plant facilities.
What kind of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?
Graduates from this program can work as wind turbine technicians, wind energy project managers, wind energy engineers and wind energy operations managers. Local companies such as Duke Energy, One Wind, Inc. and E.ON Climate and Renewables have hired TSTC graduates in the past.