After finishing high school, Ray Cruz said he had a difficult time trying to find a career. He drifted from one job to another while searching for an opportunity.
When a friend told Cruz he was enrolling in an Industrial Design program at ACC, Cruz felt that could be his career.
He enrolled and less than a year after taking courses, he is now employed by an oil and gas company.
“I didn’t realize a job and school could be this fun,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like work to me.”
As the petrochemical industry continues to expand in the Houston region, many industrial firms are seeking out graduates of ACC’s Industrial Design Associate Degree program. Drafting is an important element to any type of production because it’s the first step to determine whether a product design will work.
Cruz excelled in the program quickly, his instructors said.
“He would finish his assignments and want to do another one,” instructor Lupe Gonzales said.
When a local firm called looking for a potential employee, Gonzales said he didn’t hesitate to recommend Cruz, who had not yet finished the program.
The company hired Cruz and he is now working while finishing his courses in the program.
“The employers called me two or three months later to thank me,” Gonzales said.
“Most students in Industrial Design are hired soon after finishing their degree,” Department Chair James Langley said. This is because ACC works with local employers to ensure the program is teaching students the skills they will use on the job.
“The industry drives the direction of our program,” Langley said.
Cruz said pursuing his drafting career has given him a professional focus that he hopes to build on.
“It has definitely changed my life,” he said. “You’re making an impact on the world.”
Industrial design professionals solve dimensional design problems, define and develop new products, design prototypes, build models, create digital representations of designs and create full-scale environments.
Who is a good fit?
Those who perform well in the Industrial Design field are able to utilize problem solving and critical thinking, manual dexterity, artistic interest, technical drawing skills, craftsmanship, computing skills, self-discipline, and conceptual vision.
ACC offers a two-year Associate Degree of Applied Science or a certificate program which includes basic principles of engineering drafting and design and advanced specialized training in piping and mechanical design. Students may choose a general Industrial Design Technology degree to study the various disciplines that ACC has to offer. Also available are specializations in piping and mechanical design.
$28.66 per hour or $59,610 per year
Positions in Industrial Design are expected to grow approximately 9 percent by 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Job growth is especially strong in the Texas Gulf Coast region due to increasing activity in the petrochemical industry.
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