ACtion Magazine - May 2014 - (Page 8)
New technician training
By Jacques Gordon
t most of the conventions I've attended over the past several years working tech should know, it doesn't necessarily reﬂect the skills needed
(MACS and others), an unscheduled discussion of technician for working day-to-day in a real-world shop.
training has broken out. When the room is ﬁlled with mostly
In 2011, the job of setting tech school curriculum was taken over by
techs and shop owners, the same opinion is always repeated; entry level the National Automotive Technician's Education Foundation (NATEF).
techs aren't being taught the right things. They learn a lot in school, but Previously their role was to evaluate tech school programs and award
they aren't prepared to do the work that makes money for the shop and accreditation to schools that (among other things) teach the broad-based
skills and knowledge reﬂected in the ASE exam task lists. But in July
That will begin to change soon.
of 2012, NATEF published a new model
The curriculum taught in most tech schools is
for technician education standards that are
based on the task lists for certiﬁcations issued by
The tasks are focused based not on automotive systems but on
the National Institute for Automotive Service Exthree levels of capability: Maintenance &
on vehicle service Light Repair (MLR), Automobile Service
cellence (ASE). Since 1982, ASE has been setting
knowledge standards for professional technician
rather than area of Technician (AST), and Master Automobile
certiﬁcations, and a task list outlines what a tech
Service Technician (MAST). Each succestechnical expertise sive level includes all the tasks of the previshould know and be capable of doing on speciﬁc
automotive systems; brakes, air conditioning, enous level plus additional tasks appropriate to
gine performance, etc. Those task lists are based
the more advance certiﬁcation.
almost entirely on input from techs, shop owners and others working in
This new model for training program accreditation became effective
the service industry. While that list is a reasonable description of what a on July 1, 2013. The Accreditation Standards document describes things
that a NATEF evaluation team has always inspected, like program administration, student services, the physical facility itself and much much more.
What's changed is the program instruction requirements. They still deﬁne
the number of classroom and lab/shop hours and the activities required for
each certiﬁcation, but as you might expect, the speciﬁc tasks the student
should learn to perform are focused on vehicle service rather than area of
technical expertise. For instance, under the Engine Repair task list for the
Maintenance and Light Repair certiﬁcation, the student should learn how
* Inspect, replace, and adjust drive belts, tensioners, and pulleys; check pulley and belt alignment.
* Remove, inspect, and replace thermostat and gasket/seal.
* Inspect and test coolant; drain and recover coolant; ﬂush
and reﬁll cooling system with recommended coolant; bleed
air as required.
* Perform engine oil and ﬁlter change.
There's more, but the point is this: the program should include 540
hours of instruction and practice in these and other basic tasks, so a graduate is more likely to be productive on the job almost immediately. As Donny Seyfer pointed out in the Shop Owner's Panel at our last MACS gathering in New Orleans, shop owners aren't looking for a tech who can rebuild
engines, "We want someone who can do the things we do 90 percent of
the time, and do them well." The new NATEF curriculum is designed to
produce exactly that kind of entry-level tech. The full 159-page document
can be found at: http://www.natef.org/Achieving-Accreditation/
You can reach Jacques at
ACTION * May 2014
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2014
Selling the right things
By the Numbers
Letter to the editor
ACtion Magazine - May 2014