A class of 20 first-semester Automotive Systems Technology students at Forsyth Technical Community College has achieved a pass rate of 80 percent on the national Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Toyota T-TEN certification test. By comparison, the national average for first-time T-TEN students taking this exam is 30 percent. Dealership technicians with two or more years’ experience average a pass rate of approximately 40 percent on the ASE exam.
T-TEN is a training program that prepares students to work at Toyota and Lexus dealerships as certified technicians. The certification makes students more valuable to employers by offering higher-level skills, which allow students to advance more quickly in their careers.
“Our ASE pass rate makes Forsyth Tech one of the top-producing Toyota and Lexus schools in the nation,” says David Allgood, program coordinator, Automotive System Technology. “This outstanding accomplishment in an extremely rigorous program is due to our excellent instructors, Andrew Fowler, Daniel Merritt and Robert Landis, as well as our hard-working students who demonstrate professionalism and technical skill in everything they do.”
Allgood says these students will take three more certification tests this spring. Then, next fall, they will participate in the first of two internships, both of which are 320 hours each and pay $10 per hour.
“Between their two internships and summer employment between semesters, students in this program earn between $8,000 – $15,000 even before they graduate,” Allgood says. “This program more than pays for the students’ tuition, which is less than $6,000. When they begin work following graduation, they earn a minimum of $1,000 per week. Our job placement rate in the T-TEN program is 100 percent, because there is no unemployment in this business.
“When our students leave, their value to employers is immediately $20,000, because they already possess four valuable industry certifications. Dealerships must spend about $5,000 per certificate for each technician to get certified, so our students are saving their employers money right from the start.”
The college was named a Toyota T-TEN program in 2014 and an ASE testing center in 2015, the only public school in the nation that has a designated ASE testing center as part of its automotive program.
Forty-seven students have already graduated from the college’s T-TEN program. Currently there are 38 first- and second-year students enrolled.