TSTC Automotive Technology student finds synergy between school and job
HARLINGEN — One might say that Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology student Jesus Quintero comes by his love of automobiles naturally. While growing up he was intrigued by watching his father, a mechanic, resolve automotive issues.
Quintero took the initiative to learn more about the automotive industry by getting hired as a retail sales specialist at O’Reilly Auto Parts. After a year on the job, he decided to further his knowledge by pursuing a certificate of completion in Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair at TSTC.
“I wanted to gain a better understanding of automotive parts, how they work, and learn from the people who work at the store,” the San Benito resident said. “Then I became interested in learning how to diagnose vehicles, and I considered TSTC. A territory sales manager from O’Reilly Auto Parts visits automotive shops, and TSTC’s Harlingen campus is on his route. He had an enrollment coach reach out to me so I could enroll in the Automotive Technology program.”
Quintero said the program is teaching him proper automotive techniques.
“The instructors give in-depth knowledge about how vehicles work, and how to diagnose and repair them,” he said. “It’s perfect that they are experienced because I want to keep learning. They challenge every student who asks a question so we can learn how that item works.”
Quintero said his favorite hands-on assignment has been disassembling and reassembling an engine in the Automotive Engine Repair course.
“It’s fascinating to learn how an engine functions,” he said.
He added that his instructors have definitely enhanced his skills.
“It’s impressive to see how they find solutions because that gives us an upper hand,” he said.
Victor Orozsco, store manager for O’Reilly Auto Parts in Harlingen, said Quintero shows promise as one of the best employees in the retail store.
“Jesus has received plenty of in-house training in our store and continues to learn from various customer experiences,” he said. “He first came into this job with minimal knowledge and then learned our products quickly.”
Eufemio Martinez, a TSTC Automotive Technology instructor, said Quintero understands assignments and asks questions during lab sessions.
“His job at O’Reilly Auto Parts has made him more aware of automotive parts,” Martinez said. “Now he is learning the technical side of the program. He comprehends how they come together to make automobiles work.”
The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to onetonline.org, Texas employs more than 55,000 of these technicians around the state, and that number was forecast to top 61,000 by 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $44,810.
In Automotive Technology, TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and several certificates of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.