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Automotive Technology/Ford ASSET

FAQ

FAQ

autmotive students in the shop.

Questions

Answers

HOW MUCH DOES THE PROGRAM COST?

The enrollment fee is currently $46 per unit* for CA residents. A typical full time student carrying twelve units would pay $552 per semester or $1104 per year if they were not “BOG eligible“. Compare this cost to private institutions which may range from $27,750 to $37,500. The “BOG Waiver” is a grant provided by the Board of Governors which covers full tuition costs to students who qualify. To see if you are eligible for the BOG, go to the CRC financial Aid website.

Your main expenses at CRC will be transportation, parking, and books. ASSET students have many of their automotive texts provided by Ford, reducing these costs. Books are generally the single largest expense at a community college. They often cost $80 to $100 per class so if you are taking a twelve unit load (four classes), you should figure on another $400 or so for books. Of course, if you are eligible for financial aid and the Cal Grant, all of these expenses could be covered so be sure to file a FAFSA (application) Go to FAFSA and http://www.calgrants.org/ to apply.

*Community college enrollment fees are determined by the California State Legislature and are subject to change.

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ARE THERE COSTS BEYOND ENROLLMENT FEES AND TEXT BOOKS FOR THINGS SUCH AS UNIFORMS, MATERIAL AND LAB FEES, INSURANCE, TOOLS, ETC.?

For the most part there are no extra fees, however there is a $10 lab fee in the small engine repair class (AMT 306). ASSET students are expected to begin buying tools as they move through the program since they are working in the industry while in school. They should have assembled a basic set by the beginning of the second year. Traditional students who are serious about their career will, of course, begin to buy tools also but this is not a requirement to attend CRC.

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CAN I TAKE AUTOMOTIVE CLASSES IF I DO NOT WANT A CAREER IN THIS FIELD?

Absolutely! Students take automotive classes for a variety of reasons: Due to a general interest, to gain basic knowledge, to expand a current hobby, or to pursue a career. It is important to understand though that our automotive classes are not just a “hobby shop”. You may be able to bring your own car into the shop to perform diagnosis and repair, but this is at the department’s discretion based on time and resources available and the relation of the work to current class objectives.

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I AM A WOMAN. CAN I TAKE AUTO CLASSES?

Certainly! While the field is often dominated by men, we have seen many women do very well in ASSET as well as the traditional program. The automotive industry is hungry for talent, regardless of sex. Our faculty is very good at working with all students to ensure that their class and lab experience is a positive one.

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ARE THE AUTOMOTIVE PROGRAMS ACCREDITED?

Yes.

What agency accredits the programs?
The CRC Automotive Technology program is accredited by NATEF, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. See their website to learn more about this preeminent professional organization. In addition, the Ford ASSET program is also a factory approved and sponsored AA degree program.

What does it mean to students to attend an “accredited” program?
It means that CRC automotive students follow a nationally recognized curriculum in eight critical areas. These areas are the educational foundation for the eight basic ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certifications so valued by employers. NATEF is the educational side and ASE is the certification side of the same organization; one that is totally respected throughout the industry. NATEF sent their team of experts to examine our curricula, facilities, tools and equipment, safety program, job sheets, and instructor qualifications before accrediting the program. The program is recertified every five years by maintaining currency.

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WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM STRENGTHS OR UNIQUE FEATURES? WHAT SETS IT APART FROM OTHER SCHOOLS WITH THIS MAJOR?

Factory support
Because CRC enjoys such close ties to a major manufacturer (Ford Motor Company), all of our automotive students, traditional as well as ASSET, benefit because of the factory support provided to the ASSET program. We get the latest in equipment in order to provide “new model” training. The factory provides special tools, reference books, and instructor training for the ASSET instructors.

Our traditional program students benefit from this factory support as well and have the additional benefit of a more “student driven” pace. The flexible course offerings allow them to take their coursework around their work schedules.

Alignment with the Central Valley New Car Dealers Association
Cosumnes River College’s program and staff enjoy close professional relationships with the 78 new car dealerships in this very important organization. The group provides several very prestigious scholarships each year to our students.

ASE Certified Professors.
In addition to being ASE certified, our traditional program professors enjoy factory training through many manufacturers including: Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and more. The ASSET professors not only have access to the same training, but are also required to attend continuing Ford factory training. Working in the automotive field means a commitment to constant technological change. We are constantly updating our program content and equipment to reflect current industry standards.

Our students
Many of our students are already working in the industry and they come for update training or to work towards their ASE certifications. Attending class with working technicians can be very enlightening for the aspiring auto technician.

Student success
Traditional Students can leave the AA degree program with the needed ASE certifications and one of the necessary two years of experience toward the Master Technician certification. Two years of college automotive training counts as one of the necessary two years of work experience for ASE certifications. ASSET students can actually meet all of the work experience requirements for the ASE’s because they also have a year of work experience built into their two-year program. All of this value is provided at Community college costs.

For more information on ASE certification, please visit https://www.ase.com/Home.aspx

Courses transfer to many four-year colleges
In addition, all CRC Automotive Technology courses numbered AMT 300 and above transfer to the California State University. This may not be the case for course work taken at private automotive schools and institutes.

Low cost
You will not find equivalent training at this cost. Private schools will cost many thousands more.

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DOES ATTAINMENT OF AN AA/AS PROVIDE ANY ADVANTAGE IN ENTERING THE WORKFORCE OVER A CERTIFICATE?

The short answer is yes. The industry, particularly at the dealership level, places a high value on the possession of an AA degree. It simply represents a higher set of skills that are of value to an employer. The entering technician likely has better writing, computing, general communication, and people skills than one without the degree. These “soft” skills make one more valuable and provide the basis for further training.

CRC students very often will begin their education by “front-loading” automotive coursework that can lead to one of our ten certificates. Many use these certificates to gain their entry-level employment and then start working on the required General Education courses in-order to finish the AA degree.

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IS THERE A SEPARATE APPLICATION FOR THE PROGRAM?

Only for the Ford ASSET program. See the section that describes the ASSET program for details.

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WHAT AUTOMOTIVE CLASSES SHOULD I START WITH?

Most Automotive Technology courses are numbered in the “300” range. While many automotive courses do not require prerequisites, there may be “advisories” which represent knowledge required to do well.   Generally speaking, the lower numbered courses are more entry level and have fewer prerequisites and advisories than the higher numbered courses (i.e. AMT 303 vs. AMT 340).

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HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE DEGREE OR CERTIFICATE AND WHAT IS THE SUGGESTED SEQUENCING OF COURSES?

The time depends upon whether one is pursuing the Traditional or the Ford ASSET program. There is a separate document that details the difference between the two approaches. For the ASSET student, the training is factory driven and will result in an AA degree within a two year period. The Traditional program is designed with flexibility in mind so that students can take coursework at a pace which is comfortable and practical for them.

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ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS (DAY, EVENING, PART-TIME) AS TO HOW OR WHEN STUDENTS CAN COMPLETE THIS PROGRAM?

The traditional students enjoy far greater flexibility of coursework than do ASSET students. Classes are offered on both half and full semester formats. Courses are offered during the day, evenings, and on weekends. While students can take their classes in any format and whenever offered, the department takes great pains to ensure that courses are offered so that students can graduate within a two-year period whether they are a day or evening/week-end student.

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ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL INDUSTRY CERTIFICATIONS (ASE) OR LICENSING EXAMS (SMOG) THAT GRADUATES CAN TAKE?

ASE Certifications
Students who complete the related coursework at CRC may sign-up for and take exams for ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certifications. The ASE certifications cover different technical competencies and are highly regarded in the workforce. These certifications should not be confused with the certificate programs that we offer. Our certificates will prepare the student to take different ASE tests, not give them the ASE certification (no program can give the ASE certification). Certain courses are aligned with certain ASE tests but the instructors are probably best informed to explain this to the student.

For more information on ASE certification, please visit https://www.ase.com/Home.aspx

Smog License
See the information under the following question about obtaining a smog license. This license is required to work as a smog technician in California. The basic coursework is directly related to the CRC Automotive Emissions Control certificate. Any CRC Automotive Technology course listed as a BAR A6 or A8 or L1 course serves as an alternative to the related ASE certifications only for purposes of admissions to the licensing exam.*

Are there costs associated with these?
Yes, both the ASE exams and the BAR smog technician exam have associated costs if you choose to take them. Each ASE requires a registration fee and a fee for each test when taken.

How well do CRC graduates do on these exams?
Since our curriculum is NATEF approved, they do very well. Some of our graduates have left CRC with as many as eight ASE exams under their belts, “Master Technician” status. This can really help increase wages! Additionally, we have prepared many of the practicing smog technicians in the Sacramento area.

* BAR eligibility requirements to take the SMOG license exam and become a licensed SMOG Check Technician are subject to change.  Please visit http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov for the latest requirements.

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HOW DO I OBTAIN A SMOG LICENSE?

The BAR or Bureau of Auto Repair website lays out all of the possible ways to qualify for the smog license*. Most are a combination of education, experience, and the three necessary ASE designations, A6: Electrical, A8: Engine Performance and L1: Advanced Engine Performance (which can be earned by taking our related coursework and then passing the ASE exams). In addition to the above, you will need to complete BAR certified training such as our AMT 340 course. An approved alternate to the ASE certifications mentioned above are courses known as “BAR approved alternative courses” taught by approved schools. Both CRC and American River College are approved to offer these alternative classes.

Requirements made simple:
The CRC Engine Performance certificate is most directly tied to obtaining the smog license. This might seem odd given that we also have an Emission Control certificate, but for the person with no or little experience in the industry, the Engine Performance certificate hits all of the important areas to ensure the greatest success on the smog exams and the needed ASEs. The certificate allows a choice of AMT 332, Computerized Controls or AMT 340 Emission Control Inspection and Repair. The student seeking the smog license should opt for AMT 340 as it is required to sit for the exam.

The Emissions control certificate, on the other hand, is designed with the practicing technician in mind because it skips some of the critical “engine performance” coursework imbedded in the Engine Performance certificate.

Re-licensing and update training for technicians in the industry:
CRC’s Automotive Professor Kevin Rogers has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the area of SMOG and emissions control and could really be named “Dr. Smog”. He and other colleagues teach the technician licensing and update courses. BAR requires that instructors not only be licensed SMOG Check technicians themselves, but also undergo a training and certification process to become BAR certified SMOG instructors in order to teach smog-related courses.  Several of CRC’s professors have this training and certification. Some of these courses are taught under the community services schedule and will not be found in the regular schedule. Students can contact _rogersk (at) crc [dot] losrios [dot] edu (Kevin Rogers) directly for more information.

* BAR eligibility requirements to take the SMOG license exam and become a licensed SMOG Check Technician are subject to change.  Please visit http://www.smogcheck.ca.gov for the latest requirements.

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WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE FOR OBTAINING CREDIT FOR OTHER TRAINING (MILITARY, PRIVATE VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS, APPRENTICESHIP, ETC.) OR SUBSTITUTING WORK EXPERIENCE FOR MAJOR REQUIREMENTS?

Traditional program students enjoy great opportunities for obtaining credit for previous training, certifications and experience. Counselors should initiate substitution waiver petitions and attach copies of any supporting materials such as current ASE certifications and descriptions of work experience. ASSET students on the other hand, will receive no credit for previous automotive training or experience unless it was Ford certified. CRC students who are in the traditional program and seeking entry into the ASSET Program will be required to take all of the ASSET automotive course work within the program if they are admitted, regardless of previous coursework or experience. General education courses taken elsewhere can be substituted for CRC required G.E. if deemed equivalent.

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WHAT TEACHING FORMATS SUCH AS ONLINE, TELEVISED, LECTURE AND LABORATORY ARE USED TO DELIVER INSTRUCTION?

Course content is often delivered a variety of ways. Depending on the course, we use traditional lecture in a multi-media classroom, as well as hands-on laboratory coursework, demonstrations, multimedia, online training, and more. Additionally, some courses, such as AMT 301 use the internet for a significant portion of course work.

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WHAT ARE THE INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITIES (classrooms, labs, etc.) LIKE?

The classrooms are all multi-media equipped. The lab facility is equipped with the latest in diagnostic equipment, such as above ground twin post hoists, an emissions dynamometer and several alignment racks. A full tool room and technicians support the instructional lab activities. Professional reference databases from AllDATA and Mitchell OnDemand are readily available via computer terminals in the lab. Adjacent to the lab is a combination classroom/lab for transmissions and drive train and electrical coursework. There is a separate engine laboratory in addition to our computer lab.

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WHAT GENERAL SKILL LEVELS (ENGLISH, MATH AND COMPUTER) ARE RECOMMENDED FOR ENTRY-LEVEL COURSEWORK AND TO PROGRESS SATISFACTORILY?

While there are no prerequisite skill levels required for the traditional program, this is a very technical field and requires very sophisticated analytical skills. If you like to solve complex technical problems but do not want to be confined to a desk then this may be the career for you. The modern automobile has been described as a “computer on wheels” and the training rigor reflects this fact. Basic math skills will enable the student to make critical measurements, follow logical sequences, and perform accurate diagnosis. Factory manuals are written at advanced levels so reading skills need to be proficient. Oral and written communication skills are necessary for effective customer service, accurate estimates, and warranty documentation. Training and reference materials in the automotive industry are increasingly web-based. Students, including ESL students, can succeed in our courses with lower than ideal levels of skills as described above, but will not likely succeed in the higher paying segments of the industry without working on these general skill areas.

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WHAT ARE COMMON ADVISING ISSUES IN THIS PROGRAM THAT COUNSELORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

Since, as noted previously, there aren’t many prerequisites for the traditional program, counselors should pay attention to the “advisories” and the general rule that courses numbered in the lower range of the 300 series are the best first semester classes. It is also helpful to inquire about any experience, certifications and training that the student may have already had. Then, you can do the appropriate substitutions for the traditional program. Counselors should also note the many differences between the Ford ASSET program and the traditional Automotive Technology program. When advising potential ASSET students, focus on their educational maturity and readiness to handle the heavy academic load. Many will benefit from delaying entry for a year while they build up their English and math skills. This year also gives them a chance to take some of the tougher GE classes like History and Physics on a full semester basis increasing their chances of success.

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WHAT IS THE NATURE OF ANY REQUIRED PRACTICUM OR FIELD EXPERIENCE IN THIS PROGRAM?

Only the ASSET program has a required work experience component. Each student works 4-8 hours per day at his or her sponsoring dealership for the one-half of the semester that they are not in class.   Students may start as an unpaid intern, but most students begin receiving compensation at some point during the program.  Ford believes in the ‘earn while you learn’ philosophy, but compensation is ultimately at the sole discretion of the sponsoring dealer.

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WHAT OTHER OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR INTERNSHIPS RELATED TO THIS PROGRAM?

Employers will occasionally contact one of the professors to fill a need or our Cooperative Education team will develop an internship in this area.   Work experience can be extremely beneficial to further develop skills learned through coursework and to increase opportunities for advancement.

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WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE A STUDENT IN THIS PROGRAM?

What is the classroom culture like?
It can vary. In the ASSET cohort groups, it is very much like being on a close knit team. Students will spend much of their time with the same group of people for a total of one out of two years. You will get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and make life-long friends. Professors stress proper work place behaviors such as punctuality, communication, safety, and efficiency.

The traditional program is built upon a more flexible structure. However, as noted earlier, you do have the opportunity to network with people who are already earning a living in this industry and work with many of the same students as you advance through the curriculum.  Like the ASSET program, professionalism is stressed.

How much of the instruction is “hands-on” or workplace simulation?
Most of our courses are two-thirds laboratory and one-third lecture. This fact highlights the difference between obtaining “training” versus an “education”. Training someone how to do something does not ensure that they know why they are doing it or the physical principles at play. The non-lab part of a class provides the theoretical foundation upon which the laboratory experience is based. At CRC, you will learn the foundations of your craft. The lab experiences will confirm your understanding of the basic principles involved.

What is the nature of the relationships between students and between the students and professor?
During the intense two-year period that they are with their cohort group, the ASSET professors can become like surrogate fathers for their cohort groups sharing their highs and lows. Strong and lasting relationships result from this shared experience. Instructors in the traditional program often develop close relationships also since they may see the students again as they progress throughout the curriculum. Students and professors are also often united by their common interest in the automobile since their youth.

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ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS IN THIS PROGRAM?

The CVNCDA, Central Valley New Car Dealers Association, offers multiple scholarships to deserving CRC Automotive Technology students each year.  In addition, there are scholarships available specifically for students enrolled in the Ford ASSET program.  Students in both programs may also be eligible for a host of other scholarships and grants as well.

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