Overview of Program
At CLTCC, transportation includes four programs – Certified Driver’s License, automotive technology, collision repair and outdoor power equipment. CDL and collision repair are taught at the Alexandria Main Campus. Outdoor power equipment and automotive technology are taught at the Lamar Salter Campus in Leesville.
What are these programs? In CDL, students earn a Certified Driver’s License and the opportunity to work in just about any industry. Everyone needs a driver, whether it’s hauling materials between construction sites, driving students to school or transporting items across the country in a big rig. The CDL course is 240 hours, usually completed in six weeks. Students train on a state-of-the-art, new $105,000 L3 Driver Training Solutions simulator at first. After the third or fourth week, students begin driving a real truck.
The outdoor power equipment program teaches students to repair anything from weedeaters to motorcycles and power sports equipment. The program falls under the accrediting body Equipment and Engine Training Council. If you like the unexpected, outdoor power equipment is for you. You never know what’s going to be brought in to be repaired. Every day might be different, offering a new puzzle to solve.
Automotive technology is like the big brother to collision repair. While they are similar programs, the main difference is that a collision repair technician usually sticks to repairs outside the engine. An automotive tech goes internal with the engine, gear boxes, differentials and more. It’s a little broader when it comes to trouble-shooting.
Most collision repair techs will do general troubleshooting, but the automotive program goes more in depth as automotive techs are expected to dig in deeper. A collision tech can pull or put an engine. An automotive tech can tear down and repair an engine.
The first semester students earn a TCA, or technical competency in area. Most students like to leave at the first exit point, but they can earn more if they stay longer. Usually within the first semester students can be placed at a job, instructors say. Many work in a cooperative program, working half a day and going to school the other half. They’re still learning and honing their skills. Employers report back to instructors about students’ progress.
After two semesters of any of the transportation programs, students have earned a technical certificate. This shows students are proficient. For every certificate achieved, employees generally see a raise of 50 cents to $1 an hour.
It takes two years to receive a technical diploma in outdoor power equipment, automotive technology and collision repair. A technical diploma is just under an associate’s and this program offers more extensive training, which keeps students up-to-date on the evolving transportation industry and its technology. Which in turn, makes you more competitive for employment and advancement. Students who graduate with a technical degree earn, on average, almsot as much money as those with a two-year degree. Automotive technology is CLTCC’s only transportation program set to advance to an associate’s.
Advantages of Completing The Program
2. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts job growth for most of the fields at 5 percent, so there will be jobs for a long time. And CLTCC instructors report shortages in all fields, so the need is there for skilled workers, especially in Central Louisiana.