Career opportunities, economic rewards, emerging technologies. Transportation technology has it all.
The Transportation Technology programs at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges put you on track with some of today’s most promising careers.
Transportation is the movement of goods and persons from place to place and the various means by which such movement is accomplished. It also involves the diagnosing and repair of vehicles as well as their ongoing maintenance. A transportation technology professional is engaged in the business of keeping people – and commerce – moving. This may mean driving vehicles that transport goods or coordinating the delivery of goods as well as working to keep vehicles in good running condition.
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges Transportation Technology Division offers A.A.S. degrees in Automotive Technology, Auto Collision Repair, Diesel Technology and Logistics as well as a number of diplomas and certificates in related areas, including a 10 week truck driving program that prepares students for the CDL exam.
Today’s vehicles contain complex computer and electronic systems, and the technicians that work on them have to be highly trained, skilled professionals who are competent in math, science, and computer technology, notes Ken Hunter, Department Coordinator. Many of the Transportation Technology programs at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges have curriculum written to Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) standards and graduates of those programs are prepared to pass ASE certification exams in multiple system areas. “Communication and management skills are equally important for success in the field,” he adds. “You will be working with clients as well as co-workers to create a positive environment and provide good customer service. Those relationships are really key to success in this field.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of automotive service technicians, mechanics, diesel technicians, and auto collision repair specialists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2022. With some employers reporting difficulty finding workers with the right skills and education, job opportunities for qualified applicants should be very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes jobseekers who have completed formal postsecondary training programs – especially candidates with training in advanced automotive technology, such as hybrid fuel or computer systems – should enjoy the best job prospects.
A unique and long-standing feature of EICC’s Transportation Technology programs are a combination of first-rate, hands-on learning labs and availability of on-the-job training while in class. “We’ve found it’s really important to get our students out into the world of work,” says Ken. “They learn not only the nuts and bolts of the mechanical aspect of the job, but also about working with customers, time management, good communication skills and they make great connections for the future.”
While the main labs for EICC’s Transportation Technology programs are located on the main campus of Scott Community College in Bettendorf, students can take general education courses and certain other programs (like Logistics and Truck Driving) at other college locations.
So, is a Career in Transportation Technology Right for You?
Does the sound of a well turned engine make your heart race? Do you like taking things apart and putting them back together better than you found them? Then Ken says a career in Transportation Technology might be just the thing to get your career motor running. Problem solving, trouble shooting and the satisfaction that comes from making things better than you found them are also the hallmarks of professionals in Transportation Technology. An artistic eye and some creative flair can also be good skills to have, especially when engaging in collision repair. “Good mechanical sense and a desire to apply practical skills in a hands-on environment is critical,” he adds. “And we’d love to see more women enter the programs – these are great jobs that can take good advantage of fine motor skills and attention to detail. They pay well, often have very good benefits and provide a good working environment.” The programs are also proud of their outstanding placement rates – noting that the vast majority of individuals who complete the program find good-paying, local jobs.
Individuals are encouraged to contact the college for tours of the learning labs. “Once students actually come in and see all we have to offer, they are always impressed,” notes Ken. “We are happy to show potential students around our facilities and answer any questions they might have.”
For more information, visit our website at eicc.edu/transportationcareers.
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges Transportation Technology Programs:
Auto Collision Repair
The changing design of the automobile has resulted in an increased application of ultra-sensitive high-strength steel parts and the expanded use of molded composition and plastics for exterior panels. The increased use of sophisticated electronic systems has further mandated that the repair technician be skilled in a variety of areas outside of the actual collision repair phase. Electronics is playing a large role in the function of the vehicle and affects such areas as the brakes, suspension and steering. The visual aesthetics involved in painting and detailing vehicles are also key.
An automotive technician must be a versatile person willing to deal with customers as well as repair automobiles. Today’s technicians work with computers and other sophisticated diagnostic equipment. In general, professionals in this area need to have a good understanding of all the major functions of a vehicle: Engine Repair, Manual Drive Train & Axles, Brakes, Heating & Air Conditioning, Automatic Transmission/Transaxle, Suspension & Steering, Electrical/ Electronics Systems, and Engine Performance.
The diesel technician of today must be able to perform a wide variety of tasks. The diesel technician must be schooled and able to work on all systems of the over-the road truck. The technician should have a working knowledge of hydraulic systems, and computers. He or she must have good electrical troubleshooting skills. A solid working knowledge of these other functions/areas is also critical: Brakes, Diesel Engines, Suspension & Steering, Drive Train, Electrical/Electronics Systems, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning, and Preventive Maintenance Inspection.
Logistics professionals are responsible for the entire life cycle of a product, including acquisition, distribution, internal allocation, delivery and final disposal of resources. Logistics and supply chain management graduates will work in the logistics field incorporating such tasks as transportation, warehousing, inventory control, purchasing, scheduling, safety, management, electronic data interchange (RFID – Radio Frequency Identification, GIS – Geographic Information Systems), order processing, traffic management, security, packaging, and location site analysis.
American business moves by truck, and the demand for reliable drivers is always high. Drivers need to be familiar with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, vehicle equipment and operations, trip logging, trip planning, mapping, and other requirements and other expectations of commercial drivers. He or she must be good at time and business management and be committed to safe and courteous driving in all kinds of weather. Drivers must know how to navigate a route that may take them all the way across the United States, and they must know their vehicle inside and out. A local driver may be required to load and unload the trailer. Over-the-road drivers who haul palletized loads are not often required to load or unload. Different loads make various demands of the driver.