Auto, Diesel Tech Set Students on In-Demand Career Paths
November 17, 2020 — Automotive and diesel technicians and collision repair specialists are in high demand, and Midland ISD, in partnership with Midland College, is helping fill the need by offering high school students certifications in these areas.
"The demand here locally is really high," said Pete Avalos, Midland College Auto/Diesel Department Chairman. "The expected growth is about 15% over the next five years in our region alone, despite a downturn in the oil and gas industry. And considering the average age of a technician here is about 45 years old, the need for new techs in the industry is great."
High school students study auto tech and collision repair at Midland College's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) and learn about diesel tech at MC's Cogdell Center. All concentrations offer industry certifications, such as from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), that enable students to enter the workforce straight out of high school. The opportunities for students aren't limited to working on engines or popping dents, however.
"The market is broad, and not all people turn a wrench in these careers," Avalos said, himself a two-decade veteran of tech work at dealerships and in the oil and gas industry. "Students might find opportunities as service writers, managers, specialists or even as administrators."
Students don't have to be mechanically inclined to participate in these programs. All students start by learning the nuts and bolts — literally — and how to properly use tools like a hammer, "which most people use incorrectly," Avalos said. Students learn the fundamental technical and problem-solving skills they need to succeed after graduation. There are also dual-credit opportunities, which offer a head start on receiving college-level certifications.
"The more opportunities we offer our students to train them in vocational tech, the better," said Mickala Harper, Midland ISD Director of Career and Technological Education (CTE). "Vocational education keeps a lot of kids in school because they can take courses based on a hobby or an outright career plan. Ultimately, courses like auto and diesel tech and collision repair put kids on the path for success straight out of school."