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Wilkes Community College

About Us

The Automotive Systems Technology curriculum at Wilkes Community College prepares individuals for employment as automotive service technicians. It provides an introduction to automotive careers and increases student awareness of the challenges associated with this fast and ever-changing field. Classroom and lab experiences integrate technical and academic coursework. Emphasis is placed on theory, servicing and operation of brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, steering/suspension, automatic transmission/transaxles, engine repair, climate control, and manual drive trains. Upon completion of this curriculum students should be prepared to take the ASE exam and be ready for full-time employment in dealerships and repair shops in the automotive service industry. Students can choose from a 2-year Associates Degree, 1-year diploma, or from multiple certificate programs. The Wilkes Community College Automotive Systems Technology program is accredited by the ASE Education Foundation.

Photos

  • One of four brake lathes. Three are bench lathes and one is an on-car lathe.
  • One of our student projects - a mini, electric Jeep.

Under The Hood

Provide a quick overview of the program (i.e., time to complete, credits, type of degree, etc.).

2-years for an Associate Degree, 1-year for diploma, and one to three semesters for the various certificates.

Is this a full or part time program?

Full-time with options for those that wish to attend part-time.

Describe how classes are conducted (i.e, in-person, online, in the shop, etc.).

75% of a student's time is spent in-person, in the shop. The rest is a combination of in-person and online classroom.

What does the program cost?

Variable, most apply for and receive Pell grants. Costs can be found on the college website.

What types of financial assistance or scholarships are available?

Pell grants, multiple scholarship opportunities, along with college funded tuition breaks.

Describe the application process and eligibility.

Virtually all applicants qualify and the process can be started online or by making contact through the college website.

What types of work-based learning opportunities do you offer?

Provided at student request; however, opportunities do exist with local dealerships.

Describe your annual placements (i.e., number of students, percent who find a job in the industry, etc.).

Unknown. All students that wish to enter the field will find placement, as there are more jobs available locally than technicians. However, we always have students that have no intention of entering the field.

What types of salaries can students expect after graduating and as they advance in their career?

Very competitive, based on a students ability and willingness to work.

Is there anything unique about your program that you’d like to mention?

ASE Education Foundation certified, and in a newer facility with modern tools and equipment, along with heating and air-conditioning. Instruction is centered more around what is needed to enter local shops rather than what can be easily taught.

What general and specialty tools does the school provide?

The college has most of what would be found in a local independent shop or dealership, and more. The list would be too long to provide here.

What tools, if any, is a student responsible for providing?

We do require that students provide their own basic hand-tools. This is to ensure that students can enter a shop with an entry-level toolkit and that the student is able to use those tools.

When in the lab, how much one-on-one time does an instructor get with each student?

As much as a student needs. Each lab period allows for one-on-one time time as needed.

What is the split between time spent in the classroom versus hands-on learning?

75% hands-on and 25% in the classroom.

What does the school do to ensure students stay safe while in the lab?

Program and college policies are in place to ensure safety. There is a safety coordinator that makes regular checks of the lab and equipment. Instructors are required to complete safety training and to provide instruction to students prior to performing any tasks. Regular audits are made of the lab, along with tools and equipment. Safety glasses are required and must worn while in the lab. Safety is of the highest priority.

What types of processes does the lab have to ensure a clean working environment?

The lab must be cleaned daily by students and faculty. All tools and equipment are to be cleaned and put away properly after use. Everything has its own place. Cleaning one's work area is part of the daily shop grade.

Does the school have access to factory software? If so, please explain.

The college has access to Mopar and Ford software.

What types of service and parts software are available for the students to access?

The college uses Alldata and Snap-On Shop-key.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the lab environment?

It's a 10-bay garage that is only 8 years old and still looks much like it did when it was built. There are 8 two-post lifts and 2 drive-on lifts. The lab is climate controlled and stays comfortable year-round.

Semester 1 - Fall 1st Year

ACA 115 Success & Study Skills (2 hours) This course provides an orientation to the campus resources and academic skills necessary to achieve educational objectives. Emphasis is placed on an exploration of facilities and services, study skills, library skills, self-assessment, wellness, goal-setting, and critical thinking. Upon completion, students should be able to manage their learning experiences to successfully meet educational goals. AUT 116 Engine Repair (3 hours Lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers the theory, construction, inspection, diagnosis, and repair of internal combustion engines and related systems. Topics include fundamental operating principles of engines and diagnosis, inspection, adjustment, and repair of automotive engines using appropriate service information. Upon completion, students should be able to perform basic diagnosis, measurement and repair of automotive engines using appropriate tools, equipment, procedures, and service information. AUT 116A Engine Repair Lab (3 hours lab) This course is an optional lab to be used as an alternative to co-op placement in meeting the NATEF standards for total hours. Topics include diagnosis, inspection, adjustment, and repair of automotive engines using appropriate service information. Upon completion, students should be able to perform basic diagnosis, measurement and repair of automotive engines using appropriate tools, equipment, procedures, and service information. TRN 110 Intro to Transport Tech (2 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course covers workplace safety, hazardous materials, environmental regulations, hand tools, service information, basic concepts, vehicle systems, and common transportation industry terminology. Topics include familiarization with major vehicle systems, proper use of various hand and power tools, material safety data sheets, and personal protective equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate appropriate safety procedures, identify and use basic shop tools, and describe government regulations regarding transportation repair facilities. TRN 120 Basic Transportation Electricity (3 hours lab, 4 hours classroom) This course covers basic electrical theory, wiring diagrams, test equipment, and diagnosis, repair and replacement of batteries, starters, and alternators. Topics include Ohm's Law, circuit construction, wiring diagrams, circuit testing, and basic troubleshooting. Upon completion, students should be able to properly use wiring diagrams, diagnose, test, and repair basic wiring, battery, starting, charging, and electrical concerns. TRN 170 Pc Skills for Transportation (2 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course introduces students to personal computer literacy and Internet literacy with an emphasis on the transportation service industry. Topics include service information systems, management systems, computer-based systems, and PC-based diagnostic equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to access information pertaining to transportation technology and perform word processing. TRN 180 Basic Welding for Transportation (4 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course covers the terms and procedures for welding various metals used in the transportation industry with an emphasis on personal safety and environmental health. Topics include safety and precautionary measures, setup/operation of MIG equipment, metal identification methods, types of welds/joints, techniques, inspection methods, cutting processes and other related issues. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of welding operations and safety procedures according to industry standard

Semester 2 - Spring 1st Year

First Year - Spring Semester AUT 141 Suspension & Steering Systems (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers principles of operation, types, and diagnosis/repair of suspension and steering systems to include steering geometry. Topics include manual and power steering systems and standard and electronically controlled suspension and steering systems. Upon completion, students should be able to service and repair steering and suspension components, check and adjust alignment angles, repair tires, and balance wheels. AUT 141A Suspension & Steering Lab (3 hours lab) This course is an optional lab to be used as an alternative to co-op placement in meeting the NATEF standards for total hours. Topics include manual and power steering systems and standard and electronically controlled suspension and steering systems. Upon completion, students should be able to service and repair steering and suspension components, check and adjust alignment angles, repair tires, and balance wheels. AUT 151 Brake Systems (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers principles of operation and types, diagnosis, service, and repair of brake systems. Topics include drum and disc brakes involving hydraulic, vacuum boost, hydra-boost, electrically powered boost, and anti-lock and parking brake systems. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose, service, and repair various automotive braking systems. AUT 151A Brakes Systems Lab (3 hours lab) This course is an optional lab to be used as an alternative to co-op placement in meeting the NATEF standards for total hours. Topics include drum and disc brakes involving hydraulic, vacuum-boost, hydra-boost, electrically powered boost, and anti-lock, parking brake systems and emerging brake systems technologies. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose, service, and repair various automotive braking systems. AUT 181 Engine Performance 1 (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers the introduction, theory of operation, and basic diagnostic procedures required to restore engine performance to vehicles equipped with complex engine control systems. Topics include an overview of engine operation, ignition components and systems, fuel delivery, injection components and systems and emission control devices. Upon completion, students should be able to describe operation and diagnose/repair basic ignition, fuel and emission related driveability problems using appropriate test equipment/service information. AUT 181A Engine Performance 1 Lab (3 hours lab) This course is an optional lab to be used as an alternative to co-op placement in meeting the NATEF standards for total hours. Topics include overviews of engine operation, ignition components and systems, fuel delivery, injection components and systems and emission control devices and emerging engine performance technologies. Upon completion, students should be able to describe operation and diagnose/repair basic ignition, fuel and emission related driveability problems using appropriate test equipment/service information. ENG 110 Freshman Composition (3 hours classroom) This course is designed to develop informative and business writing skills. Emphasis is placed on logical organization of writing, including effective introductions and conclusions, precise use of grammar, and appropriate selection and use of sources. Upon completion, students should be able to produce clear, concise, well-organized short papers. MAT 110 Math Measurement & Literacy (2 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course provides an activity-based approach that develops measurement skills and mathematical literacy using technology to solve problems for non-math intensive programs. Topics include unit conversions and estimation within a variety of measurement systems; ratio and proportion; basic geometric concepts; financial literacy; and statistics including measures of central tendency, dispersion, and charting of data. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate the use of mathematics and technology to solve practical problems, and to analyze and communicate results.

Semester 3 - Summer 1st Year (half the time of fall or spring, all classes meet twice the number of hours shown)

TRN 130 Intro to Sustainable Transportation (2 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course provides an overview of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles. Topics include composition and use of alternative fuels including compressed natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, and synthetic fuels, hybrid/electric, and vehicles using alternative fuels. Upon completion, students should be able to identify alternative fuel vehicles, explain how each alternative fuel delivery system operates, and perform minor repairs. TRN 140 Transportation Climate Control (2 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course covers the theory of refrigeration and heating, electrical/electronic/pneumatic controls, and diagnosis and repair of climate control systems. Topics include diagnosis and repair of climate control components and systems, recovery/recycling of refrigerants, and safety and environmental regulations. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose and repair vehicle climate control systems. TRN 140A Transportation Climate Control Lab (2 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course provides experiences for enhancing student skills in the diagnosis and repair of transportation climate control systems. Emphasis is placed on reclaiming, recovery, recharging, leak detection, climate control components, diagnosis, air conditioning equipment, tools and safety. Upon completion, students should be able to describe the operation, diagnose, and safely service climate control systems using appropriate tools, equipment, and service information.

Semester 4 Fall 2nd Year

AUT 114 Safety and Emissions (2 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course covers the laws, procedures, and specifications needed to perform a North Carolina State Safety and Emissions inspection. Topics include brake, steering and suspension, lighting, horn, windshield wiper, tire, mirrors, and emission control devices inspection. Upon completion, students should be able to perform complete and thorough North Carolina State Safety and Emissions inspections. AUT 163 Adv Auto Electricity (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers electronic theory, wiring diagrams, test equipment, and diagnosis, repair, and replacement of electronics, lighting, gauges, horn, wiper, accessories, and body modules. Topics include networking and module communication, circuit construction, wiring diagrams, circuit testing, and troubleshooting. Upon completion, students should be able to properly use wiring diagrams, diagnose, test, and repair wiring, lighting, gauges, accessories, modules, and electronic concerns. AUT 183 Engine Performance 2 (6 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers study of the electronic engine control systems, the diagnostic process used to locate engine performance concerns, and procedures used to restore normal operation. Topics will include currently used fuels and fuel systems, exhaust gas analysis, emission control components and systems, OBD II (on-board diagnostics) and inter-related electrical/electronic systems. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose and repair complex engine performance concerns using appropriate test equipment and service information. AUT 221 Auto Transmissions/Transaxles (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers operation, diagnosis, service, and repair of automatic transmissions/transaxles. Topics include hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, and electrical/electronic operation of automatic drive trains and the use of appropriate service tools and equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to explain operational theory, diagnose and repair automatic drive trains. AUT 221A Auto Transmissions/Transaxles Lab (3 hours lab) This course is an optional lab to be used as an alternative to co-op placement in meeting the NATEF standards for total hours. Topics include hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, and electrical/electronic operation of automatic drive trains and the use of appropriate service tools and equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose and repair automatic drive trains. ENG 116 Technical Report Writing (3 hours classroom) This course, the second in a series of two, introduces layout and design of technical reports used in business and industry. Emphasis is placed on audience analysis, data collection and analysis, technical writing style and organization, oral presentation of technical data, and the appropriate use of graphics in written and oral presentations. Upon completion, students should be able to produce written and oral reports using a variety of technical communication models. PSY 118 Interpersonal Psychology (3 hours classroom) This course introduces the basic principles of psychology as they relate to personal and professional development. Emphasis is placed on personality traits, communication/leadership styles, effective problem solving, and cultural diversity as they apply to personal and work environments. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of these principles of psychology as they apply to personal and professional development.

Semester 5 Spring 2nd Year

AUT 213 Automotive Servicing 2 (3 hours lab, 1 hour classroom) This course is a lab used as an alternative to co-op placement. Emphasis is placed on shop operations, troubleshooting, testing, adjusting, repairing, and replacing components using appropriate test equipment and service information. Upon completion, students should be able to perform a variety of automotive repairs using proper service procedures and to operate appropriate equipment. AUT 231 Man Trans/Axles/Drivetrains (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers the operation, diagnosis, and repair of manual transmissions/transaxles, clutches, driveshafts, axles, and final drives. Topics include theory of torque, power flow, and manual drive train servicing and repair using appropriate service information, tools, and equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to explain operational theory, diagnose and repair manual drive trains. AUT 231A Man Trans/Ax/Drivetrains Lab (3 hours lab) This course is an optional lab for the program that needs to meet NATEF hour standards but does not have a co-op component in the program. Topics include manual drive train diagnosis, service and repair using appropriate service information, tools, and equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose and repair manual drive trains. AUT 281 Adv Engine Performance (2 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course utilizes service information and specialized test equipment to diagnose and repair power train control systems. Topics include computerized ignition, fuel and emission systems, related diagnostic tools and equipment, data communication networks, and service information. Upon completion, students should be able to perform diagnosis and repair. HUM 110 Technology and Society (3 hours classroom) This course considers technological change from historical, artistic, and philosophical perspectives and its effect on human needs and concerns. Emphasis is placed on the causes and consequences of technological change. Upon completion, students should be able to critically evaluate the implications of technology. TRN 145 Adv Transportation Electronics (3 hours lab, 2 hours classroom) This course covers advanced transportation electronic systems including programmable logic controllers, on-board data networks, telematics, high voltage systems, navigation, collision avoidance systems and electronic accessories. Topics include interpretation of wiring schematics, reprogramming PLC?s, diagnosing and testing data networks and other electronic concerns. Upon completion, students should be able to reprogram PLC?s, diagnose and test data networks and other electronic concerns, and work safely with high voltage systems.

Mark McNeill

Mark earned an Associate degree in Automotive Systems Technology here at Wilkes Community College, then went to work for Honda and Chevrolet before returning to campus as an instructor. Mark is an ASE Master certified automotive technician.

Johnny O'Connell

Johnny earned Associate degrees in Automotive Systems Technology and General Education at Wilkes Community College and worked locally for Chevrolet. Johnny is an ASE Master certified automotive and medium/heavy vehicle technician and holds the ASE advanced level engine performance certification.

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