Gearing up for a Rewarding Future

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Automotive technology offers high-performance career opportunities

Today’s cars are loaded with complex computer and electronic systems, and the technicians who work on them must be highly trained, skilled professionals who are competent in math, science and computer technology. CCAC’s Automotive Technology program thoroughly prepares students for rewarding careers servicing and repairing today’s high-tech automobiles.

The program, which is offered at CCAC’s West Hills Center, earned an “excellent” rating in a 2014 Pennsylvania Safety Inspection Academic Audit conducted by PennDOT. Students in the program become trained in the latest automotive service technologies and methods as they learn from top-notch instructors on dealer exclusive equipment supplied directly from the manufacturers.

“We probably have the most advanced, inexpensive automotive program in the state,” said Bob Koch, CCAC Automotive Technology program department head and instructor. A main reason for the program’s success is its high level of support from manufacturers, according to Koch, who has been an automotive instructor at CCAC for 27 years.

Students learn everything about service repair “from one end of the vehicle to the other,” he said. All automotive technology instructors are manufacturer trained and are Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certified master technicians with years of industry repair experience.

Students have the option to earn an Automotive Technology certificate or Associate of Science degree. The certificate program courses include technical training on current model vehicles and components with emphasis on the latest developments in brakes, steering, suspension, basic electronics, climate control, basic engine performance and emission and safety inspector certifications.

The degree program includes all of the technical information covered in the certificate program, as well as advanced automotive diagnostic and academic courses enabling graduates to enhance their communication skills and increase their opportunities for career advancement.

“If a dealer agrees to sponsor you when you start, you basically have a job when you complete the program—that’s pretty hard to beat.”
—Bob Koch, instructor, CCAC Automotive Technology program

CCAC’s automotive curriculum prepares students to earn Pennsylvania Safety and Emission Inspection Licensing and ASE Certification. Unique course sections for students whose education is sponsored by dealerships lead to manufacturer certification with either FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Ford Motor Company or General Motors Corporation.

“The manufacturer certification is valid country-wide; it goes with the graduates, so they can go to any dealer in the country,” Koch said. “There is a demand for good technicians everywhere.”

Hands-on training is emphasized at every level of the 20-month program. Students attend classes for 10 weeks and then work for 10 to 12 weeks in a co-op environment at dealerships, earning while they learn, for five consecutive semesters.

CCAC connects students with sponsoring dealerships; however, becoming sponsored is ultimately each student’s responsibility. CCAC also offers a General Automotive program for those who are not interested in sponsorship.

For sponsored students, the goal is to become fully employed by the dealership upon graduation. Pittsburgh area automotive dealers employ more graduates from CCAC than from any other school. In fact, CCAC sponsored students enjoy 100 percent employment, according to Koch.

“If a dealer agrees to sponsor you when you start, you basically have a job when you complete the program—that’s pretty hard to beat.”


Job outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022. With some employers reporting difficulty finding workers with the right skills and education, job opportunities for qualified applicants are considered very good.*

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes jobseekers who have completed formal postsecondary training programs—especially candidates with training in advanced automotive technology—enjoy the best job prospects. Those without formal automotive training are likely to face strong competition for entry-level jobs.

The median wage of automotive technicians nationally is $36,710 annually (2013).** However, the field offers a lot of potential for advancement and increased compensation. According to Koch, the average “good tech” in western Pennsylvania is making at least $45,000 annually, and several of his former students are earning more than $70,000 a year.


Here are some additional reasons why Pittsburgh area automotive dealers employ more graduates from CCAC than from any other school:

  • CCAC has 30 years of experience educating automotive technicians.
  • The program is Master Certified by the National Automotive Technicians Educational Foundation.
  • CCAC’s West Hills Center is an authorized training center for GM, Ford and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).
  • The school, faculty and students have won national performance recognition.
  • Small class sizes, with a maximum of 18 students, allow for more individualized instruction.
  • Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
  • Students earn while they learn through paid internships offered by auto dealerships.
  • Course credit may be awarded for work completed at an area career and technology center, trade school or in the military.

For more information about CCAC’s Automotive Technology program, call 412.788.7500 or visit

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