Homeschooled student sets record, earns instrumentation degree at 17

Tyler Paul Tyler Paul

At just 15 years old, Inez resident Tyler Paul enrolled in his first class at Victoria College.

“I saw it as a challenge,” Paul said. “Having an associate degree opens up a wide variety of opportunities, so it seemed like a wise direction to pursue. I just decided to begin early, giving me a head start.”

Despite the challenges of balancing high school requirements and college coursework, Paul’s resourcefulness and resilience propelled him forward. As a homeschooled student, he embraced the freedom to craft his schedule to meet the demands of both high school and college.

“I had some breaks built into my college schedule, so I spent time in my truck, in the library and in the student lounge completing my other high school assignments.”

On May 11, Paul will become the youngest VC student ever to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in instrumentation at just 17 years old, equipping him with the skills to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair process control equipment.

Paul attributes his ability to juggle both high school and college to the accessibility of Victoria College. 

“Having a local community college made it possible for me to attend on-campus classes and still fulfill all my other obligations,” said Paul. “The program is an in-person degree, so I would not have been able to complete it and still live at home and finish high school, if it were not offered locally. VC also offers a dual-enrollment discount, and that helped to offset some of the costs.”

For Paul, the decision to pursue a career in instrumentation was a given.

“Having a father with a degree in instrumentation from VC, following in his footsteps felt like the right path for me,” shared Paul, who also earned his Instrumentation/Measurement Technician Certificate from VC last December.

As he prepares to navigate the job market, Paul, who just turned 17, is aware that most companies that hire instrumentation technicians require their employees to be 18 years old.

“In the meantime, I plan on pursuing additional certifications and training courses to prepare me for my future job,” he said.

VC instructors and staff are also helping him identify job opportunities to gain work experience and leverage his skills until he can apply for instrumentation positions when he turns 18.

“Tyler has been a remarkable student to teach,” said Joshua Scotten, Instructor and Curriculum Coordinator of VC’s Instrumentation Program. “His eagerness to learn and intrinsic motivation are matched only by his integrity and strong character.”

Scotten said Paul never allowed his age to hinder his willingness to assist others and share his knowledge, despite being the youngest student in the classroom.

“Tyler is sure to be a valuable addition to any team he is a part of, and he has inspired me to reconsider the limits of what is possible and to never settle.”