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Jennifer Eklund Women in Automotive Technology Automotive Tech Program
Evergreen Valley College CalWomenTech FAQs

Career FAQs

Academic FAQs
Childcare FAQs

Financial Aid FAQs
Career FAQs

Occupational outlook. Are employers hiring for jobs in this area?
Yes! Evergreen Valley has an excellent relationship with hiring managers in the area, including Sears, Honda, Pep Boys, Wheel Works, Goodyear Tire Stores, various automotive dealers, and many others. Employers are eager to hire students after they complete their first semester in the program! The program also has industry partnerships with Honda, the cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale, and the Northern California Automotive Dealers Group to develop career opportunities for students. These strong relationships have resulted in a placement rate for graduates of close to 100% for those requesting placement in the field.

Technology background. Can I pursue a career in this field without a background in technology?
Yes, definitely! There are no prerequisites, and you don't need a specific background in technology to enroll in the Automotive Technology program. It helps to know how to use a computer and to have basic geometry and algebra skills. If you need help, there's a Tutoring Center located near the Automotive Technology department.

Accessibility for women. Isn't Automotive Technology a tough field for women to break into?
In today's world, anyone who has the initiative can work in the automotive field. It's true that automotive technology has traditionally attracted more males than females, but that is changing. With the computer controlling so much of the automobile's functions, there is less heavy labor involved. Many of the repairs involve intricate hand work, which many women tend to do well. Also, people of smaller size find it easier to maneuver around the tighter spaces found in today's cars. It is no harder to place a female applicant into an automotive technology job than it is a male applicant.

EVC has made a special effort to recruit and retain women to meet the growing demands of this field. We have lots of support available for all our students, so female students have access to scholarships and financial aid, tutoring, internships, networking opportunities, and job placements.

Visit our Success Stories page to read how other EVC students have built successful careers in automotive technology. You'll also find e-mentoring and other opportunities to network with females working in this field.

Receptivity to hiring women. Will employers hire women into male-dominated technology areas?
Absolutely! We partner with many employers, including companies like Sears, Honda, Pep Boys, Wheel Works, Goodyear Tire Stores, various automotive dealers, and many others. The program also has developed industry partnerships with Honda, the cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale, and the Northern California Automotive Dealers Group to help develop career opportunities for our students. Visit E-Jobs for companies specifically looking to hire women.

Jobs available. What kinds of jobs can I get with a certificate and with an A.S. degree?
Graduates with a certificate can expect to obtain a position related to their study emphasis; for example, a graduate who takes the Basic Skills and Drivetrain and Chassis certificates would be eligible for employment at a tire shop, doing alignments, brakes, and minor repairs.

Graduates with a degree are eligible for more complex diagnostics and repair work as well as for management jobs in the automotive industry, such as: service writer, parts or tool distributor, a dispatcher who determines the workflow of repairs, parts manager, service manager, finance manager, and general manager.

Experienced technicians can also find employment in many other industries, including manufacturing companies with production and distribution equipment or assembly lines, elevator and escalator companies, companies with large fleets of vehicles such as UPS, copier companies, and other mechanically focused industries. Many of the machines involved are similar to those found in a car, except more distributed.

Salaries. What kind of salary can I expect?
Students are encouraged to take on entry-level jobs while in the program; these positions pay from $10 to $14 per hour. Students who graduate with a smog license and/or have gained hands-on work experience while in school can expect to earn up to $20 per hour. After four to five years of experience, workers can increase to the maximum union rate of $32 per hour. Workers who become quite fast and productive at repairs may also earn a productivity bonus for completing jobs quickly, which can raise the hourly rate significantly.

More information. Where can I learn more about technology careers and what they're like for women?
You'll find a lot of information on this website about women in automotive technology careers. For starters, you can find a female mentor at e-mentoring, join our e-mail list for women students at Evergreen Valley College, and read our Success Stories about other women in this and related fields. Also, you might want to join the Automotive Technology Club at EVC. This group provides social and networking opportunities for both male and female students who are interested in cars, and is just starting a special sub-group to address the special needs of women in the program.

Academic FAQs

Math skills. How much math do I really need?
There are no math prerequisites for the Automotive Technology program at Evergreen Valley College (EVC). However, it helps to know high school geometry and algebra. You can find out the level of your math skills by taking an assessment test through the Evergreen Valley College Assessment Center - level 2 is recommended, but not required. Call the Admissions and Records at (409) 270-6441 for an appointment.

You can also borrow software from the CalWomenTech Learning Library that helps you develop spatial relationship and math skills through compelling activities. Students can also sign up for math tutoring at the Campus Tutoring Center, which is located very close to the automotive department on campus.

Technology skills. How can I prepare for the program if I don't have a background in technology?
A background in technology is not required for the automotive technology program. However, experience with using a computer will give you a great head start for the program. It also makes sense to work on your reading, writing, and math skills, which will be useful in the program as well. Valerie Bolaris, a professor of education who runs the reading lab, is about to start a reading class focused on automotive literacy.

Studies show that improving spatial reasoning skills can help women increase their academic achievement in technology. You may also want to borrow software from the CalWomenTech Learning Library that can advance your spatial reasoning skills.

Courses required. How can I find out what courses I need to take for the Automotive Technology program?
Visit the Automotive Technology website for details about program requirements for the A.S. degree program, the Honda PACT program, and the automotive technology certificate programs.

If you are in a degree program, visit the Assessment Center to help determine the best starting place for your math and English classes. Assessment tests are available on a regular basis. Call Admissions and Records at (409) 270-6441 for an appointment. Although it is not a prerequisite, it is recommended that students in the Automotive Technology program have both reading and math skills at a level 2.

If English is not your native language, assessment tests can also help you determine appropriate courses for reading, writing, listening, and speaking. There is also a special automotive literacy reading class that is being offered.

Length of program. How long will it take to complete this technology program?
It depends on which program you enroll in, and whether or not you choose to work in the field while you are in school. EVC instructors recommend that students work at least part-time while they are in school so they can apply what they are learning in a real-world situation.

  • The A.S. degree (61-63.5 units) can be completed in two years for full-time students. To complete both an A.S. degree and all the automotive courses (90 units) typically takes three years for full-time students.
  • The Honda Professional Automotive Career Training (PACT) program (90 units) typically takes three years to complete for full-time students.
  • Certificate programs:
    • Basic Skills - one semester
    • Engine Services - one semester
    • Drivetrain and Chassis - two semesters
    • Fuel and Electrical - two semesters
    Students attending full-time (15 units per semester) can complete all of the automotive classes in four semesters, or two years.
Some students complete their programs faster by taking both day and night classes, but it is difficult to do while also holding down a job.

High school preparation. Can I prepare myself for a technology program at EVC while I'm still in high school?
Yes, you can prepare for the Automotive Technology program in several ways. Computer skills are very important in the program, so make sure to refine your computer skills every chance you get. Also, consider taking a metal or wood shop class in high school - the skills you develop will be quite useful in the program. It also makes sense to focus attention on reading, writing, and math, since you will need each of these skills in today's automotive industry.

Weight-lifting requirements. How can I prepare myself physically to meet the weight-lifting requirements for a job as an Automotive Technician?
Automotive repair work often involves hands-on repair work with some heavy lifting of up to 50 pounds. Entry level workers may do more hands-on work such as oil changes, tire rotations, and battery installations. Repair work may at times require physical strength, but assistive devices are available to help with heavy lifting and wrenching. Military research has shown women can increase their upper body strength and thus their ability for heavy lifting via physical conditioning and weight-lifting that focuses on the upper body. Should you need to increase your upper body strength, sign up for EVC's physical fitness program or go to your local gym.

Childcare FAQs

Child care. What services does Evergreen Valley College provide for students who need child care assistance?
Evergreen Valley College offers child care services for children between the ages of 22 months and five years. To be eligible, single parents must be enrolled at either Evergreen Valley College or San Jose City College. In two-parent families, both parents must be students or one parent must be a student and the other parent must be employed or incapacitated. All students must be enrolled in at least 9 units of daytime, weekday classes to qualify.

As soon as registration opens for the upcoming semester, register for at least 9 units of daytime, weekday classes. Once you are registered for classes, you can apply for child care. Students are prioritized according to income and family size, and if they qualify, will be asked to come for an enrollment appointment, bringing along proof of income. Low income students may be eligible for a state-funded subsidy to cover all or some of the costs. Students with higher incomes may be eligible on a full-fee basis.

The children are enrolled for each semester according to their parent's class and study schedule. A few slots are also available for parents who have jobs. Hours are contracted at the beginning of each semester based on anticipated class schedule.

Teachers are highly qualified and trained in developmentally appropriate practices. Since this is a lab school, San Jose City College early education students and their teachers also participate, both to learn and to help out with classroom activities.

The center also offers information about children's growth & development, discipline, literacy, nutrition, toilet training, and activities to do with your child.


Financial Aid FAQs

Finances. What services does Evergreen Valley College provide for students who need financial assistance?
First, take a look at the available sources for financial aid at Evergreen's Financial Aid office website. The Financial Aid office offers counseling and support for a broad array of financial aid resources. Types of aid include Pell grants, CAL grants B & C from the California Student Aid Commission, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work Study grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS), Stafford loans, Fastrack program, and scholarships. Review the website and your Financial Aid Handbook carefully for details, and contact the Financial Aid office for questions.

You may also want to visit icanaffordcollege.com, which walks you through the steps for applying for financial aid for any school within the California community college system. Begin by filling out the FAFSA application online. Evergreen Valley College's Financial Aid office makes computers available in the department for completing this application.


Finances. Are there scholarships available specifically for women in automotive technology?
Yes! Often, Automotive Career Associations will provide educational scholarships. See below for a scholarship specifically for women looking to study, or already studying Automotive Technology.

The Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation (AWAF) Educational Scholarship

The AWAF is a professional association of women with members in all areas of the automotive field. One purpose of the AWAF is to provide scholarship opportunities in the amount of $2500 to women entering the field of business, design or engineering, with career aspirations in the automotive industry.

Candidates can be high school seniors preparing to enter college, current college students, those starting postgraduate work, or women in the workforce looking to enhance their current positions through additional education.

The AWAF Education Scholarship is awarded jointly to the individual and the college or university. These scholarships are used to continue to promote the automotive industry as an exciting career direction for women. Applications are accepted throughout the year for consideration for the next available scholarship offering.


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