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Strom Thurmond Career and Technology Center’s Automotive Technology Program: A Path to a Career

BY: Nikky Lorimer
web posted April 23, 2014

JOHNSTON – Qualified automotive technicians are in high demand throughout America. Many jobs come and go, but a career in Automotive Technology will take you places. As long as I can remember and as far as I can project, our society’s main means of transportation has been and will be automobiles.

These automobiles require scheduled maintenance and repairs to keep them on the road. The automotive program at STCTC trains students to become employable in the field. In addition, it prepares them to become a lifelong learner which is a necessity in the rapidly changing automotive industry.
The Automotive Technology program at the STCTC is a great starting point for a young person interested in the field. A high school diploma is all that is required to begin the career path, but technical colleges throughout the nation have programs that provide a heads up on the competition. Once employed, lifelong training is required because of the advances in automobile technology. Automotive technicians must rely on instructions and predetermined guidelines for performing functions of the job and must be able to problem solve.
The curriculum standards for this field are covered in the classes at STCTC. The new standards are based on ASE G1 certification which provides an assessment of an individual’s technical knowledge of bumper-to-bumper maintenance and light repairs in the critical areas of engine systems, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, suspension & steering, brakes, electrical, and heating & air conditioning.

There are many options for students who wish to pursue this career. One option is for students to get jobs at garages and work under experienced technicians. Another option is to work in dealership shops, parts stores, or automotive equipment and supply sales.   Students can also choose the path of continuing their education at a technical school and acquire an Associate’s Degree.  Another post secondary option is attending a facility such as UTI, NADC, WYOTECH, etc. which allow students to gain ASE Certification in as few as fifty-four weeks.

Besides learning the systems and how they work, students also get the opportunity to complete automotive upgrades on their vehicles.  These activities include adding lift kits to trucks and suspension upgrades, installing sound system upgrades and high performance engines and exhaust systems.
The salary for an automotive technician can be as much as 35 to 60 thousand dollars depending on the area. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that employment of auto service technicians and mechanics across the country will increase 17 % from 2010 to 2020. This growth is due to an increase in new vehicles and the lifespan of older vehicles.
There are many aspects of the automotive field that guarantee a secure and fulfilling career. The idea of working on something different every day and the challenge of diagnosing vehicle malfunctions are great, but nothing compares to the accomplishment of starting that engine for the first time after a complete tear down and rebuild or driving that car after completing a brake job.

There are many things in automotive career that give you satisfaction. The Automotive Technology program at the STCTC provides the foundation students need to begin the career of a lifetime.

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