Automotive and auto body technology

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Automotive Technology October 2007



Topic I: Where are we now?

  1. Purpose and Goals.

In adherence to the mission statement of Riverside Community College District, the Automotive Technology Program seeks to provide accessible, post-secondary education in the technical areas of automotive repair and auto-body refinishing. This program seeks to provide career preparation and training that will prepare students for the variety of jobs which are available in this industry. Specifically the program seeks to:

  • Provide entry level training for people preparing to enter the automotive industry.

  • Enhance the knowledge base of those technicians already in industry.

  • Provide ASE test preparation instruction for those people wishing to obtain certification

  • Provide manufacture specific training for those students enrolled in a corporate training program.

  • Provide students with updated information of the technological advancements in the automotive industry.

The Automotive Department works in partnership with General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Company, Riverside County ROP, Moreno Valley Unified School District, and National Automotive Technician Education Foundation.

B. History
The automotive program began back in the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s the program was moved off campus to a site near Riverside Plaza to make room for a new welding program at RCC. In 1975 a new automotive building was erected on the Riverside Campus and the Auto Program moved back on campus. In 1977, the second half of the building was completed and an Auto Body Program was started. Toyota was the first corporate sponsored program to begin in 1990. Ford Motor Company joined forces with RCC and started the ASSET Program in 1994. General

Motors was the last program to join the department in 2001.

C. Programs & Curriculum
When the core program of the Automotive Technology Department is completed it culminates in a certificate in “Automotive Technology”. When a student has successfully completed one of the “Corporate Training Programs”, or has further completed their general education requirements, an Associate in Science Degree in “Automotive Technology” is awarded.
The Automotive Technology Department consists of the following certificate programs:

  • Automotive Body Repair

    • AUB-50 Introduction to Automotive Body Technology

    • AUB-51 Intermediate Automotive Body Technology

    • AUB-52 Automotive Body Refinishing

    • AUB-53 Automotive Body Special Projects

    • AUB-54 Advanced Automotive Body and Frame

    • AUB-60 Automotive Trim and Upholstery, I

    • AUT-53A Automotive Chassis and Alignment

    • WEL-34 Metal Joining Processes

  • Automotive Technology-Electrical

    • AUT-50 Automotive Principles

    • AUT-52A Automotive Tune-up and Electrical Systems

    • AUT-52B Automotive Tune-up and Emission Controls

    • AUT-54 Automotive Electrical Systems

    • AUT-56 Automotive Computer Controls

    • AUT-57 Automotive heating and Air Conditioning

  • Automotive Technology-Mechanical

    • AUT-50 Automotive Principles

    • AUT-51A Internal Combustion Engines Rebuilding, Gas and Diesel (Upper End)

    • AUT-51B Internal Combustion Engines Rebuilding, Gas and Diesel (Lower End)

    • AUT-53A Automotive Chassis and Alignment

    • AUT-53B Automotive Brakes

    • AUT-55A Automotive Automatic Transmission/Transaxles

    • AUT-55B Automotive Manual Drivetrain Systems

  • Automotive Trim and Upholstery

    • AUB-50 Introduction to Automotive Body Technology

    • AUB-51 Intermediate Automotive Body Technology

    • AUB-52 Automotive Body Refinishing

    • AUB-53 Automotive Body Special Projects

    • AUB-60 Automotive Trim and Upholstery, I

    • AUB-61 Automotive Trim and Upholstery, II

    • WEL-34 Metal Joining Processes

The Automotive Technology Department consists of the following Associate in Science Degree programs:

  • Automotive Technology-Ford Specialty

    • AUT-71 Ford Electrical and Electronics Systems

    • AUT-72 Ford Applied Electronics

    • AUT-73 Ford Engine Performance

    • AUT-74 Ford Brakes, Steering, and Suspension Systems

    • AUT-75 Ford Engine Repair

    • AUT-76 Ford Advanced Chassis Systems

    • AUT-78 Ford Manual Transmissions and Drive-Train Systems

    • AUT-79 Ford Automatic Transmissions and Transaxles

    • AUT-99 Automotive Technology Internship

  • Automotive Technology-General Motors

    • AUT-81 GM Electrical and Electronics Systems

    • AUT-82 GM Applied Electronics

    • AUT-83 GM Engine Performance

    • AUT-84 GM Brakes, Steering and Suspension Systems

    • AUT-85 GM Gasoline Engine and Repair

    • AUT-86 GM Advanced Chassis Systems

    • AUT-88 General Motors Manual Transmissions and Drive Trains

    • AUT-89 General Motors Automatic Transmissions and Transaxles

    • AUT-99 Automotive Technology Internship

  • Automotive Technology-Toyota T-Ten

    • AUT-61 Introduction to Toyota Service

    • AUT-62 Toyota Fuel Systems I

    • AUT-63 Toyota Electrical Systems Mastery

    • AUT-64 Toyota Brakes and Suspension

    • AUT-65A Toyota Manual Transmissions and Transaxles

    • AUT-65B Toyota Automatic Transmissions and Transaxles

    • AUT-66 Toyota Climate Control Systems

    • AUT-67 Toyota Fuel Systems II

    • AUT-99 Automotive Technology Internship

The majority of these classes are offered at least once a year. The introductory classes are the most popular and they are offered more than once a year. The introductory class (AUT-50) serves a double purpose. It can be taken by anybody who wants to acquire basic automotive knowledge and also serves as the building blocks for students desiring to follow the automotive career path.

The Automotive Technology Specialty Programs, such as the Ford, General Motors, and Toyota Programs were implemented at Riverside Community College to facilitate a partnership among the corporations, the school and the students. The corporations provide the college with instructional materials and technical information that is specific for that manufacturer. They also provide the students involved in the program with employment opportunity in one of its dealers. The college provides the facilities and staff to conduct the classes, as well as provide the students with counseling and financial aid. The students in these specialty programs are required to complete all the academic classes necessary to attain an Associate in Science Degree.
As the aging automotive technician population diminishes and the technology of the automobile industry increases with advances in electronics, the demand for proficiently trained automotive technicians is rapidly increasing.
D. Student Outcomes Assessment
All the student learning outcomes are directly linked to the demands of the automotive industry. The state of California has the most rigorous Air Pollution Management Program in the nation. To be able to pass the state exam for Smog technician, the state demands a series of tests and specialty training, which our Automotive Technology Program is certified to teach. There is a great demand for these classes because of the limited number of learning centers allowed to teach such classes. Our department is equipped with a “five-gas analyzer” smog machine which is dedicated just to serve the purpose of teaching these classes.
The standard by which automotive technicians are measured is the “ASE” (Automotive Service Excellence) Testing. The tests are administrated by a private agency, with testing done twice a year. The ASE organization is only interested in testing, they do not provide training. Consequently, many of our students are driven to take our classes for the sole purpose to pass the ASE test. The ASE tests are divided into nine areas which are directly correlated with specific systems of the automobile. See areas listed below:

  • A1 Automotive engine repair

  • A2 Automotive automatic transmissions

  • A3 Automotive manual transmissions

  • A4 Automotive suspension systems

  • A5 Automotive brakes

  • A6 Automotive electrical

  • A7 Automotive air conditioning

  • A8 Automotive engine performance

  • L1 Advance Engine performance

Our classes are purposely designed to provide the students with logical and systematic studies of specific areas of the automobile. This curriculum pattern is also well suited to address the content information for the ASE test.

Therefore, success in passing the ASE Tests and/or getting hired in an automotive repair establishment are measurable assessment instruments in determining how well our learning objectives are being met.
The following information gives the enrollment numbers for the past 5 years for the Automotive Technology Body Repair and Mechanical Repair:






Auto-Body Repair Total Attendance






Auto Mechanical Total Attendance






Automotive Department Total






This data demonstrates the interest for automotive technology is very strong, and due to our efficient time and classroom management, we are capable to accommodate and instruct more than one thousand students per year.

  1. Collaboration with other units

The Automotive Program works in partnership with our industry partners through advisory committees. The advisory committees and NATEF (the national certifying body for automotive programs) drive curriculum and equipment purchase decisions.

F. Outreach
Riverside Community College’s Automotive Technology Program works with local high school automotive programs. We have working articulation agreements with Norte Vista, Canyon Springs, Valley View, and all ROP auto programs in Riverside County. The Automotive Technology Program also provides tours for anyone interested in learning about the programs through RCC’s Outreach Department. We also attend automotive events such as, Ford/AAA competition, NHRA career day, and local car shows.

  1. Resources

The Automotive Department currently has 5 full time faculty, 8 adjunct faculty members, and two staff members. Three of the five full time faculty members teach and coordinate the three corporate programs. Two full time faculty members teach General Automotive. Five adjunct faculty members teach the entire Auto Body Program. The remaining three adjunct faculty members teach general automotive.

All of the Automotive Programs are taught on the Riverside campus. The automotive building is about 20,000 square feet. The building houses four classrooms that hold between 25 and 40 students each. The lab is divided into five areas. Each program has designated lab space. A central tool room is located in the building to allow equal access to all students taking courses.

  1. Other Comments

The Automotive Program employs enrollment management techniques to maximize student enrollment. Every class is offered on a two year rotation cycle so that students don’t have to wait too long for needed classes to be offered. Class time offerings are also scrutinized to reflect the needs of the students and industry which employs them. RCC’s Auto Program has a strong night program. The Automotive Program strives to have an average class size of 20-25 students.

  1. Overall Assessment of Discipline Performance

The Automotive Department is doing well. The classes are filling and our corporate partners are considering expansion of current programs to include “fast track” training. Many of our students are obtaining and retaining positions in the automotive industry. Classroom and lab space however, are a major concern. The department is very limited on physical space.

Topic II: Where do we want to be?

  1. Environment Scan

According to the California labor market information web site, automotive technicians are in great demand. There is a serious shortage of qualified technicians throughout Riverside County. With a projected growth rate of 31% over the next ten years, the automotive industry offers incredible career opportunities for a new workforce. It is estimated that almost 2,000 new jobs will be created between 2002 and 2010, with an average need of about 360 technicians annually. With an average pay rate of $17.15 per hour and topping out at over $100,000 per year, automotive technicians can expect to enjoy a high paying career.

The automotive body industry is also growing at 30% over the next ten years. With a projected need for about 550 new repair and paint technicians, the auto body industry also offers incredible opportunities for new technicians. The auto body industry has an average pay rate of $15.53 per hour according to California labor market information.
The automotive and auto body industries are some of the fastest growing and fastest changing industries in the nation. The vehicle technology is changing at an almost unimaginable rate. Coupled with an aging and under qualified workforce, the industry is hiring some students before they even complete the Automotive Programs.
Additionally, hybrid and alternative fuel technology for automobiles will most certainly create more jobs and greater demands for technicians with these skills.
B. Internal Review
With the current demand for automotive technicians being so high, the Automotive Program offers classes on a rotational basis to ensure students can complete their education in two years or less. Course offerings are also rotated between day and night classes to address problems associated with students getting jobs before they finish the program. The night program in Automotive Technology has some of the highest enrollment rates of all the General Automotive Programs. Saturday classes are also offered to the students as an educational option.
Currently, the corporate automotive programs are offered only during the day. However, Ford offers an MLR (Maintenance and Light Repair) Program that offers working technicians limited certification. Toyota has also proposed a similar program which is currently in the planning stages.
The automotive field is constantly changing as new technology advances. Therefore, it is critical that faculty members continue to keep up with the industry. This presents a unique challenge. Faculty must schedule update training (offered by our corporate partners) preferably when classes are not in session. Currently we do a great job keeping our full time faculty updated. However, the Automotive Department needs to implement some mechanisms to ensure the adjunct faculty members receive the same opportunity.
Additionally, the Auto Body Program currently has no full time faculty. The full time faculty in this program retired almost ten years ago. This presents enormous problems. Without a full time faculty member, the Auto Body Program has nobody to:

1. Make equipment and budget decisions

2. Update course outlines

3. Hold advisory meetings

4. Achieve NATEF certification

5. Make numerous other important decisions

Course outlines need to be kept updated to reflect the changes in the industry. Input for course outline revisions are dictated by advisory members, industry employers, and NATEF (National Automotive Technician Education Foundation).

C. Revised Vision/Summary
The Automotive Program has grown considerably over the last ten years. The addition of the General Motors ASEP Program has caused the Automotive Departments to use all available space. Class rotation and classroom utilization has been streamlined to get the most efficient use of classroom and lab space. Support from our industry partners has been incredible. Vehicle and equipment donations are at an all time high. The industry employs many of our graduates. The Automotive Department plans to expand our certificate offerings by adding additional certificates in General Automotive for Alternative Fuels and Automotive Quick Service. However, in order for this to occur, the department will require more space.
Topic III: What do we need to get there?
A. Initiatives, strategies, goals, and activities and B. Resources
Looking at current industry and program trends; faculty, classroom and lab space are critical. In order to keep up with the industry, the Automotive Program needs to provide a mechanism to ensure adjunct faculty have access to updated training. The Auto Body Program also needs to have a full time faculty member so that it can grow to its’ full potential.
More lab space is needed if the Automotive Program is to expand. Classes in alternative fuels and hybrid technology need to be developed. The demand for this technology will be enormous in the near future. Faculty members will also require training in this technology to ensure the Auto Department meets industry demands. The Auto Program should also offer community education classes that focus on consumers and the “do it yourself” type person.
Advertising also needs to be addressed. Private training facilities in the area have the potential to cause a decrease in enrollment in the RCC Auto Programs. Attending local high schools and career fairs is not enough; we need to utilize our advertising department in order to get the information out to the community about the training programs that RCC has to offer.

Topic IV: What evidence do we need to track our progress?
The Automotive Program needs some type of tracking mechanism to:

1. Find out how many of our students are working in the industry

2. Determine how many students take and pass the ASE test

On a local level, the Automotive Departments should track student certificate and degree completion rates. NATEF competency task sheets are a great tool for measuring student outcomes assessment. Final exams are also useful tools for measuring student outcomes assessment since all final exams administered are ASE style exams.

Topic V: How can we improve the discipline self study process?
1. Have regular meetings with faculty members who are going through the process for the first time. This will help to not only answer questions, but also keep the process moving forward.
2. Offer faculty help researching useful data that is needed to complete self study. (Enrollment numbers, labor market info)

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