Weber State University has one of the most respected automotive technology programs in the country.

Weber’s State’s automotive program has been in existence since 1928 and has a rich history. Certificate, associate and bachelor-level programs are available.

Associate’s degree graduates are qualified for a variety of entry-level service technician positions. This program will prepare students by teaching them how a vehicle operates, how to diagnose problems with vehicles and how to correct the problems they have diagnosed.

Students work in the Auto Technology shop.
Students work in the Auto Technology shop. (Photo by Charles Bowker / The Signpost)

“A lot of other automotive training facilities focus on maintenance and light repairs, so it’s like basic brakes, basic maintenance. You can do an oil change, rotate tires, put some brake pads on,” said Matt Stagg, instructor for the GM Training Center. “What we focus on here is called master automotive service technician.”

Dealerships use the GM Training Center at Weber State University to train their technicians to obtain the master automotive service technician level.

“If you start at the beginning of their training to (become) what’s considered a world class technician, which is master certified in all of the areas, there’s over 1,700 hours of training,” Stagg said. “You get the vast majority of that in this program before you get to the dealer.”

Jessica Slater, the office manager, said that this makes their training more practical than their competitors. The students are using the same training materials as the technicians.

“That’s why the dealers will prefer this group, because it saves them thousands of dollars on what they don’t have to train them on,” said Stagg, “because they already have it.”

In addition to the certificate and associate programs, Weber State is one of only five programs in the country offering a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. Graduates from the bachelor program are qualified for positions involving customer service, field engineering, field service testing and technical instruction.

“The fact that you have a degree shows that you can take the fun automotive classes, but you can also stick it out through the ones that aren’t that fun,” Stagg said.

In addition to automotive classes, bachelor students are required to fulfill general education requirements.

Some dealerships will not consider applicants unless they have a degree. This is because students with a degree learn how to communicate effectively.

“You got to know how to write,” Stagg said. “Customers don’t text. They want you to tell them what is wrong with their car.”

The well-rounded skills that students learn make them attractive to employers and are offered paid internships throughout their education.

The experience gained makes graduates from the automotive technology program at Weber State University well respected in the automotive industry.

“We’re more well known outside of the state because that’s where the automotive industry is,” Slater said.

Will Speigle, lead instructor of the ATEP and Ford MLR programs, said that many top technicians in Ford are graduates of the program.

“All the Ford reps in this area are Weber State graduates,” Speigle said.

Instead of the usual college student seeking out companies to work for after graduation, automotive companies come to Weber State seeking future employees.

“Some of the students they recruit that have not graduated. they sponsor them through their bachelor’s degree,” said Slater.

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