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In this program, you need to have drive
Photos and Story by James Hill
Like Kim Kittinger, to succeed in this program you need to have drive.
She is an instructor in the Automotive Service Technician program at the Sylvania Campus. Thanks to her own automotive background and a passion for fixing cars, Kittinger loves to guide students through the latest technology such as engines and electrical systems.
"I never thought I’d be teaching," Kittinger said. "I was working at a shop as a technician and had volunteered as a mentor at Mount Hood Community College. When this position became available, people told me I’d be perfect for it. So I applied and I’ve been here ever since."
That was six years ago. Kittinger, who earned her auto service technician degree from a community college in San Francisco, loves what she does. Working on cars has always been in her blood. Her father was a mechanic and she grew up in a house that had a carburetor pile next to it that she’d play in.
"It was fun to take them apart and try to put them back together again," she recalled. "I just grew up in that type of environment. It was a natural thing to become a technician."
While Kittinger has the drive for auto service, she says her students have it too. As an automotive service technician, students inspect, test, diagnose, repair and supervise the repair of mechanical and electrical systems.
The program consists of three-week instructional modules, each module being an intensive course in a specialized area. The program offers an associate’s degree and two-year certificate. But it’s the hands on aspect that the students really love.
"We try to keep vehicles here that are 10 years and newer," she said. "It keeps students up to speed with what it is out there on the road."
Automotive service technicians work for automobile dealerships, independent garages, parts houses, service stations, mass merchandisers, fleet owners, and specialty shops.
"Our students fan out into jobs all over the city," said Kittinger. "And they can work in different areas such as claims adjustment and in sales. This program is for somebody who basically has the drive to want to learn, loves the hands-on instruction and is focused. You’ll always be learning."
For more information about the Automotive Service program, call 503-977-4130.