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TSTC Environmental Technology students gather water samples for a class assignment.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) - Saving the planet is a top priority on the agendas of many, and the first step at being part of this green movement can be taken at Texas State Technical College.

Environmental Technology is one of the newest programs to be added at the college campus in Fort Bend County, with its first cohort graduating this December.

Environmental Technology instructor Yvette Vaughan said she is excited to be coming up on such a huge milestone knowing that there is a positive job outlook for the program’s graduates.

“There are over 600 environmental technician jobs available for our students to apply for within the Houston area,” she said. “Our program is fairly new and growing, and it is giving students the technical skills needed to make them marketable among employers.”

Environmental Technology is a 20-month or five-semester program, and students will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Environmental Compliance - Specialization with additional certifications available.

In 20 months, students will learn the skills needed to comply with Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations, which means that students will be able to generate, identify, transport, treat, remediate and dispose of hazardous waste properly.

In addition, students will also gain knowledge and skills in areas such as environmental sampling plans, storm water pollution prevention plans, sampling techniques, environment management systems, hazardous incident command systems, toxicological effects of chemicals, and pollution prevention.

“The skills our students learn prepare them to enter the workforce with a ‘leg up’ on the competition,” said Vaughan. “Employers are excited to hire our graduates because it reduces the cost of training for their company.”

The training in Environmental Technology is primarily hands-on, and to ensure that students master each skill, the program and its labs are equipped with industry-standard equipment.

Students use an array of sampling equipment and gear that they will see and use when they enter the workforce. They also complete mock hazardous material spill scenarios that allow them to wear personal protection equipment, and get to complete sampling surveys of groundwater wells that were recently donated and installed on campus by CRG Texas Environmental Services Inc.

“This recent donation and the equipment our students have access to equip our students with the skills needed to solve the environmental problems around us,” said Vaughan. “This provides our students with the best educational experience possible.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas is second in employing the highest number of environmental technicians, with a median wage of $47,000 a year.

This means graduates of the Environmental Technology program, according to Vaughan, have the opportunity to find work as environmental field technicians; environmental, health and safety specialists; environmental specialists, coordinators and managers; gas technicians; wastewater/water operators; and environmental consultants.

TSTC program faculty and staff are working closely with local companies that include CRG Texas Environmental Services Inc., NTG Environmental and NSSI to provide internships and entry-level positions for its students and graduates.

Environmental Technology is also offered at TSTC’s Waco campus.

For more information on the program, visit tstc.edu/programs/EnvironmentalTechnology.

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