With the fall semester just underway, most college students are busy purchasing laptops and books. But students in Anoka Technical College’s Automotive Technician program are eagerly waiting the delivery of their toolboxes filled with wrenches, sockets, ratchets, screwdrivers, digital volt-ohmmeters and torque wrenches, among other tools.
Many students, who purchased their tool sets at a college-sponsored “Tool Day” earlier this summer, expect to have them delivered the first week of classes, which started Aug. 26, said Dave Larson, one of three faculty members in the program.
At the Tool Day event, industry vendors display their tools and offer a hefty discount to Anoka Tech students. Normally these tool sets range in price from $4,000 to $8,000 with tool storage roll carts or boxes costing an additional $3,000 to $5,000. The Automotive Technician students begin using their tools almost immediately while pursuing the 71-credit associate in applied science degree or a 64-credit diploma program at Anoka Tech and continue using them after they graduate. Some students also go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree with cooperating universities and colleges.
Automotive technicians, as an industry practice, supply most of their own hand tools whether they work for new or used car dealerships, government or private fleets, national chains, small local shops or choose to open their own repair shops. It is not uncommon for a professional automotive technician to have tools valued in excess of $15,000. More than 90 percent of Anoka Tech’s Automotive students get jobs when they complete the program, said Larson.
Each instructor has decades of hands-on, industry experience, factory training and certification, and current certifications in steering and suspensions systems including four-wheel alignment, brake systems, electrical & electronic systems, engines, engine performance, heating and air conditioning systems, and drive trains (automatic and manual transmissions). Students in the program learn the theory of operation and the skills required to service and repair each of these systems.
Sales representatives from Transportation Supply Inc. (left), one of the tool vendors for the college-sponsored Tool Day, meet with new Anoka Technical College Automotive Technology student Dustin Corr (right) to help equip him for his college program and the start of his new career.