Technology speeds up change for automotive careers
When you get in your vehicle each day and rev up the engine, a sophisticated high-performance machine comes to life.
Automotive service technicians’ roles have become increasingly complex as integrated electronic systems and complex computers help to regulate vehicles’ performance on the road.
“There is continuous change in the automotive industry. Now the focus is on green technology, hybrid vehicles,” said Chris Kaser, automotive instructor. “Students need to be able to think things through in their minds and work with their hands. Being open-minded and having a good attitude are also important.”
Today’s technicians combine vast knowledge with mechanical ability and have developed into diagnostic, high-tech problem solvers. More and more electronics are found on today’s vehicles, including back-up cameras, global positioning systems, sonar and laser cruise control, smart braking, stability control and more. Technicians must be able to read and understand a repair manual, communicate well with customers, and be well-versed in basic computer skills.
JCC offers associate degree and certificate programs in automotive service technology, as well as a specialized program from Ford Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR). In recent years, JCC has launched classes in automotive hybrid repair and automotive diesel repair. The undercar repair class brings together basic knowledge of car repair and machine shop skills, such as welding and pipe bending. The College also offers automotive classes in Lenawee County at the LISD TECH Center.
The automotive repair field is challenging, but it’s also rewarding. A person choosing this occupation has a variety of career options available and many different avenues to choose from. The primary field is automotive repair technician, but students may also work with after-market suppliers, parts management, automotive engineering, recreational industry and more. Other jobs include parts representatives, parts designers, shop owners, service writers and advisors, and telephone technical assistance specialists.
There is always a demand for automotive technicians somewhere, even in a difficult economy when people tend to keep their cars longer rather than buying newer ones, prompting the need for more maintenance.
“With the economy the way it is, people are not driving as many newer vehicles,” said Christopher Potwin, Hillsdale student. “Automotive is something that interests me. I am here to pursue a career, and JCC has a very good automotive program. It’s a good field to go into, but it does involve hard work.”
If prospective students have questions about the automotive program, they are welcome to contact JCC and speak with one of the instructors. “If people have questions, feel free to call us and we will help guide them,” Kaser said. Automotive faculty may be reached through the JCC switchboard, 517.787.0800, and ask for automotive.
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