(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Years ago, many motorists used a clutch to shift gears in their automobiles.
With technology growing in the automotive industry, drivers moved away from a manual transmission vehicle. But at Texas State Technical College, Automotive Technology students recently spent one day learning how to take apart a manual transmission in order to broaden their skills.
“How to take apart a manual transmission has become a lost art,” said instructor William Parker. “This is going to help our students when it comes time to interview with employers.”
The students know the importance of learning how to work with a manual transmission.
“This will give us an edge up on anyone else applying for a job,” student Trey Beavers said. “William is really good about explaining how it has to be done.”
Parker was helping each team of students if trouble hit. He picked up his tools to take the transmission apart while also offering his knowledge to get them past any sticking point.
“The main thing I wanted the students to learn from this exercise was to make sure they were calm,” Parker said. “I had to tell them more than one time to calm down and not panic. This is one important aspect of being a good mechanic. They have to be able to take apart any component of a vehicle and put it back together.”
Student Jamand Clark said it was an exciting unit for another reason.
“I pulled a manual transmission from a truck I was working on,” he said. “It definitely had its challenges. I cannot wait to get back to work on the truck after spending time in class.”
Clark said having Parker available to help paid off.
“He was there when we hit a snag, especially when we needed an extra hand,” he said. “But he also wanted us to be problem solvers so we could do this without issues.”
Student Matthew Rivera, who has some experience working on a manual transmission, also found it challenging.
“I never worked on the internal part of the transmission,” he said. “It was harder than anything I have done in this program. But it was a good experience.”
Rivera said having the hands-on experience will help each student when they are asked to repair a transmission in a shop.
“I wanted to learn how to work on a manual transmission because it will look good on my resume,” he said. “A lot of shops have people working on automatic transmissions and not the manual. If one comes into the shop, I will be ready to work on it.”
The need for qualified automotive service technicians is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to onetonline.org, Texas has more than 60,000 of these technicians employed around the state, and that number is forecast to top 65,000 by 2028. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $46,680.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Chrysler Specialization, Tesla START Technician and Toyota T-TEN Specialization, and a Basic Automotive occupational skills award, are also available, depending on campus location.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.