Program Spotlight- Automotive Technology
Automotive Technology is a two instructor program at CPAVTS and maintains some of the largest enrollment interest. Students in this area of study learn various techniques used to maintain vehicles—from advanced emissions control systems to basic tire pressure monitoring. The program is involved in a revision period this year, which allows for advancements in their curriculum and tools of the trade.
Taking the time to speak with our instructors and a few level 3 students, we are able to get into detail and find out what it really takes to become an automotive mechanic.
TEACHER SPOTLIGHT- Mr. Comeau/AT Instructor; Mr. Bruner/AT Instructor
What is the most significant new or different aspect to your program this year?
“The automotive program is involved in a revision period this year. That means we were able to update tools, equipment and curriculum materials. Some things we added were; two new vehicle lifts, a DVOM Trainer, tire balancer, 30 chrome books, scan tools, hand tools, and a new textbook; as well as online curriculum.”- Mr. Comeau
“This year the level 1 students all participated in the Snap-On meter certification. 100% of the students who took the training passed the certification exam.”- Mr. Bruner
What are some of the more common career pathways your students take when they leave CPAVTS?
“Many of our students choose to start their career as entry level technicians. Some choose to continue their education and move on to post-secondary schools. At CPAVTS, we have articulation agreements with several different schools, which gives our students an advantage.”- Mr. Comeau
“Two year tech schools, 4 year college, military, and may also go right into the field of work.”- Mr. Bruner
What are some recent technology and/or trends with which students should become familiar?
“Students should become familiar with advanced emissions control systems (particularly diesel powered vehicles). They also have experience with tire pressure monitoring systems, hybrid vehicles and the latest in computer control systems.’- Mr. Comeau
“Students will become familiar with the increased demands for electrical diagnostics. Electronics in the automotive field advances constantly.”- Mr. Bruner
What training are employers seeking that helps students get their foot in the door?
“Employers are looking for dependable, hard workers, with good soft skills.”- Mr. Comeau
“Students must have State Safety Inspection Certification and PA State Emissions License.”- Mr. Bruner
Explain a typical day in your program.
“A typical day for level 2 & 3 students includes; changing into your uniform, completing a short warm-up exercise, answering the daily essential question, copying the agenda, ready a bit for the textbook, participating in classroom activities, demonstrating skills in the shop, and cleaning up before dismissal.”- Mr. Comeau
“Students will spend at least one period in theory and the remaining time completing tasks in the shop.”- Mr. Bruner
What unit/topic do students struggle with the most in your program and why do you think that is?
“Electrical theory seems to be a common area that the students struggle with the most. Automotive technology is incorporating more and more electrical devices in new vehicles. For that reason, we have increased the amount of time dedicated to electricity in our course.”- Mr. Comeau
“Electronics, because it is changing all the time. Students continually learn new concepts to keep up with the industry.”- Mr. Bruner
What advice would you give to students who have completed your program?
“Use the skills you learned at CPAVTS to make money in a career. There are vast amounts of good paying jobs in the transportation industry. Having a good understanding of how a car works can help you in many different career paths.”- Mr. Comeau
“To always continue learning. The automotive field changes constantly. It is very important to keep up with current technology.”- Mr. Bruner
How many years have you been at CPAVTS? What was your experience before coming to CPAVTS?
“12 years; I grew up with a fascination for anything mechanical. I bought my first car at 16 and had it running and driving shortly after. I received formal automotive technical training at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management. Throughout college, I worked as a teacher’s assistant and part-time at an independent garage as a technician. After college I worked for three years as a technician and service advisor for a European vehicle repair facility. I then made the transition to education, and taught automotive technology as a long-term substitute for six months at a different high school, before moving to a full-time position at CPAVTS.”- Mr. Comeau
“3 years; I worked as a technician at Bruner’s Service Center. I was also a Technology Education teacher at East Pennsboro High School.”- Mr. Bruner
PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT- Automotive Technology Students (Level 2 & 3)
Summarize what you learn in your program in ONE SENTENCE.
“We learn about car parts, their function and how to diagnose problems.”- Matt
What is the hardest part of your program?
“Taking the test for State Safety Inspections Certification.”- James
“Adapting to new things.”- James D.
What is the most fun part of your program?
“I have the most fun working with a friend on a task that is challenging on a vehicle.”- Jerry
“Getting my State Safety Inspection Certification/License.”- James
“The experience you have with everyone.”- James D.
What is some recent technology you are learning to use in your program that is specific to your profession?
“Scan tools, alignment racks, and the tire mount and balancing machines are some examples of our new technology.”- Jerry
“The new Snap-On scan tool and the newer style battery testers.”- James
What is your plan for after high school?
“Getting a full-time technician job and going to college.”-Dillon
“I am going to the University of Northwestern Ohio for High Performance Motorsports.”- Tyler H.
“Work at Keller Brothers Inc. in Carlisle or large truck driving.”- Tyler W.
“Go out and find a job in an ATV shop and work on four wheelers and dirt bikes.”- James
“I plan to join the Army about six months after graduation.”- Jerry
What is going to be the highlight of the year in your program?
“Safety Day and taking the State Safety Inspection Test.”- Tanner
“Finishing the NOCTI.”- Jerry
What are you proud of learning how to do in your program?
“Getting my inspection and emissions certifications.”- Tanner
“Take apart a brake drum and put it back together.”- David
“How to properly inspect a car or truck.”- James
“I’m not scared to try and fit something on a vehicle and have more confidence.”- Dillon
How is your program at CPATS different from other classes you have had in the past?
“Hands-on; everyone has the same interest and it is actually what I want to learn about.”- Dillon
“It is hands-on and you’re not just sitting and writing notes, you’re moving around and problem solving.”- Tyler W.
What advice would you give to a beginning Level 1 student who is just starting the program or to a student who is considering enrolling in the program?
“Learn as much as you can and do not be afraid to ask for help. Also, do the book work because it helps a lot.” – Jerry
“Live it up, because three years go fast! Take advantage of your teacher’s knowledge and use it when you go work.”- Tyler H.