By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff
There are more than 22 million registered vehicles and counting in Texas. The demand for automotive technicians, especially gasoline and diesel, is increasing, and Automotive Technology at Texas State Technical College is training the industry’s next skilled techs.
Automotive Technology lead instructor Miguel Zoleta said the program has a 95 percent job placement rate and with the program focusing on hands-on training, students are ready to enter the workforce with little to no additional training.
According to O*Net Online, the state median salary is $40,000 per year, pending location and experience.
Zoleta goes on to explain how the program is helping students find success in the industry with hands-on training and specialized certifications.
What is the length of the program?
There are three Automotive Technology degree plans a student can choose from: Certificate 1 (three semesters); Certificate 2 (four semesters); or Associate Degree (five semesters).
What can a student expect when they graduate?
When a student graduates they will not only have the skills they need to gain employment, but they will also have a SP2 safety certification and equipment certifications: BG Products, Inc. and Technical Education College Support (TECS) vehicle training certification through Toyota.
What skills do you learn in Automotive Technology?
The program consists of 20 percent lecture and 80 percent hands-on training in which students learn how to diagnose and repair automotive engines, air conditioners and heaters, brakes, suspensions, transmissions and navigation and radio systems.
What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?
The lab has a large automotive shop where students get to practice their skills on actual automobiles. They also have an opportunity to train on industry-standard equipment such as scan tools for diagnostics, air conditioning recovery machines, diagnostic programs and software and machines used for tire balance, checks and alignments.
How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?
Automotive Technology gives their graduates real-world experiences that lays a foundation in various areas of the field for a successful career as automotive technicians. By the time a graduate from this program enters the workforce they are familiar with equipment, programs and software and what is expected of them.
What kind of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?
Graduates of the program have been hired by local dealerships and shops such as Boggus Ford, Luke Fruria Motors, Tipton Auto Group, Clark Chevrolet, Toyota and Nissan; and have obtained positions as service technicians, counter park clerks, auto part technicians and service writers.
Companies such as Advanced Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone have also hired our students. There they have found success as sales representatives and parts specialists.