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Thread: Thoughts on Automotive Community College Courses

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    Señor Member b3d3g1's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts on Automotive Community College Courses

    So I'm thinking about taking a few Automotive Tech classes or some fabrication classes at a local community college and I'm hoping to get some opinions on these programs. I do have a BS in mechanical engineering and I use basic machine shop tools at work when I need to drill a few holes or I can't wait a few days for the machine shop to complete my work order but I really only introduced to safety and the basics in college. I've also really only learned how to work on cars in the last 3 years through my own miata projects by reading things online and in manuals and then trying them myself. It would be nice to actually have some kind of formal education. I would be working full time and taking classes just to learn the material for my own benefit and maybe try to get a certificate if it happened to workout that way. Luckily, I do have a pretty flexible work schedule but I still have to be there during the "core hours" of the day.

    I'm fairly close to Pierce College in Woodland Hills and they offer quite a few Automotive Service Technology, welding, machining, and electronics classes. It's $46 a unit and many of the classes are offered at night. An engine rebuilding class sounds interesting to me but maybe a welding or machining class would be more beneficial. CNC programming knowledge probably wouldn't hurt my resume either.

    Anybody ever go back to college or have any experience with these kind of classes?
    -Anthony
    1991 Miata - Trogdor SuperMiata
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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Be prepared to be the "old man." I returned to college at 25, but that was to work toward my bachelor's, which was a different dynamic than what you'll be doing. It used to be called "auditing" a class. I'm sure it has another name now.

    Go for it. There is a ton of stuff to learn. I thought of taking welding classes myself, and I could really stand to study up on automotive electrical systems. Or any electrical systems for that matter. Time is at a premium these days, so if you have the time, do it. You might not have a chance to do it later. Price sure is right, too.

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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    I've thought a lot about doing some automotive classes too especially welding but as Brett mentioned, time these days is at a premium. Lincoln welders has a motor sports welding course that's a week or two long but it's in Cleveland.

    I have friends that work at United Bicycle Institute which offers different levels of bicycle mechanic classes including welding/frame building. Most courses are 2 weeks long IIRC. I thought this would be a great idea except for cars aimed at the club racer but I guess there's a much smaller group of club racers and even smaller that actually work on their cars.
    99 Mazda Miata SuperMiata #515 - AKA Sparky SOLD
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    One of the best things I ever did, took all sorts of classes at the local junior college. This also put me way ahead in my career in engineering as I had real hands on experience.

    Classes taken:
    Automotive electrical systems
    Automotive tune up and enginne anaylisis
    Auto body and paint
    Transmissions (automatic)
    Engine rebuilding/machining
    Welding
    Machining
    Big diesel truck engine rebuilding, transmissions, brakes etc.

    The only down side to all this is the information is now dated as that was a 30 years ago........... but still very useful.

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    Find a buddy with a welder who knows how to use it. You could be successfully MIG welding in hours if you have any smarts.

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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    I am taking some welding classes soon to brush up on my skills. Some machine classes perhaps, too.

    Engineers that can build earn cred in my book. I am an industrial designer and have worked with engineers with zero fab skills. It should be a requirement. Too many book smart engineers out there who can't function without their CAD.

    I learned to weld from my parents and have some mill experience. Most of my welding was for prototypes I designed, but I always wanted to be better at it. Also learned to rig stuff on my dad's rally car between stages.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    JJ1
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    I took some JC auto classes awhile back when I first started getting into cars. I've recently considered going back because I would take more from it now that I have a much better base of knowledge. The pace was a little frustrating at times because there are so many people but I'm glad I did it.

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    Señor Member b3d3g1's Avatar
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    At this point, I've pretty much decided to take a class this fall. Now it's just a matter of which class to take and which class I can get into. Over time I'm hoping to take a whole smattering of them but I have to pick a place to start.

    Machining will improve my skills and knowledge base and maybe boost my resume with some CNC knowledge.
    Welding will open up a that fabrication possibility but seems like something you have to practice a lot to get good at.
    Auto Tech will improve my diagnostic knowledge for my own car but might be a little dependent on machining skills at certain points.
    -Anthony
    1991 Miata - Trogdor SuperMiata
    2011 Ram 2500 - all the torque
    2016 Kawasaki Versys 650LT - commuter
    2016 KTM 690 Duke - parked at the dealer

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    Saddleback has a good automotive program.
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    But obviously I just dont get it. -fatbillybob

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    Faster than Oli jimt's Avatar
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    Machining would be very useful for your career, but somewhat useless at home/garage unless you have the equipment. You'd be better off taking a fabrication course that focused on sheet metal work, welding and possible some electronic packaging.

    If you want to standout from the others, take some of the composite courses at either Cypress or Cerritos.
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