Electricians pursuing certificates and degrees to become marketable for hire

09.28.2015 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao

PASADENA, Texas – The Houston region is known to run up quite the electricity bill. With seven major sectors, it's to be expected. This leaves electricians busy with industries asking for more.

It's estimated that 650 electricians are needed each year because of the region's growth in both population and industry, according to Workforce Solutions. Electrical technology also falls in the middle skills category, in which the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) forecasts that there are approximately 75,000 annual openings for jobs like electricians, welders, machinists, and operators. 

"The need is so great that we find that many of our students are hired as state-licensed apprentices by multi-industries immediately upon certificate and degree completion," said Stephen Alexander, San Jacinto College electrical technology program director. 

San Jacinto College offers a two-year associate degree and a one-year certificate of technology in electrical technology, and noncredit certification courses to quickly train students and move them into the workforce. Companies like Konecranes visit the college frequently to recruit graduates from the electrical technology program, as well as from instrumentation, nondestructive testing, welding, and process technology. 

Technician positions are among the top 10 hard-to-fill occupations, according to a GHP report, because of industry's struggle to find applicants with the right skills needed for the jobs. This is why San Jacinto College consults with industry partners and invites them to serve on advisory committees as a way to gather information for the development of curriculum to train for skills that are often missing on applicants' resumes. The College serves as the local industry's training ground so that graduates are ready to work in their field immediately upon being hired.

Students are trained for heavy commercial and industrial types of electrical craft work. The program also offers courses on motor controls, programmable logical controllers, industrial electricity, motors and transformers, conduit bending.

Graduates can apply to work in a number of areas that include maintenance and repair in residential construction, commercial construction, industrial construction, and line installation. Many work for the region's petrochemical industry, as there is an increase of remodeling, shutdowns, and the upgrading of electrical service requirements for expansions, safety, and regulations.

Matthew Olson and Michael Dillard, II, are both pursuing associate degrees in electrical technology at San Jacinto College. Olson works for a contractor as a helper at the Dow Chemical Company plant. His company will pay for his second year of training at San Jacinto College while also paying him his hourly rate when he's in class. Dillard is taking a break from his position as a helper to complete his training to become more marketable when he re-enters the field.

"I need this training to move up and to become a journeyman," said Dillard. "I know that after I pass my exam, there will be more work opportunities for me. I just need this training."

For more information about the electrical technology program at San Jacinto College, visit sanjac.edu/career/electrical-technology.

About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.