Automotive Program Receives National Recognition

Mar 04, 2020

Frontier Community College (FCC) was recently recognized as the “Best Automotive Trade School by Value” in an online study published by Trade School Future.  The report used a variety of criteria to determine the top ten trade schools offering an automotive program, and FCC placed at the top of the list with its Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master-accredited Automotive Technology program.

Prospective students consider multiple factors when choosing a school, such as location, cost, future job opportunities, financial aid, and more.  Trade School Future considered these factors as well as value and return on investment in order to conduct a thorough search.  The organization included only schools that offer an accredited automotive degree, and they began the search by looking first at the top overall trade schools in the nation.  Frontier would be included in the search results, as it was ranked as the 15th Best Two-Year Trade School in America by Forbes in August 2018.

Trade School Future used five criteria in their search: average cost of tuition, typical debt-load of graduates, average early career salary, average mid-career salary, and graduation rate.  Data was collected from Payscale and College Scorecard, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Education.

FCC led the group not only in ranking but also in average cost of tuition.  The annual cost for FCC’s Automotive Technology Program is approximately $2,400, which was the most affordable option on the list by over $4,000.  The report also considered the graduation rates of each college, and FCC has one of the highest “on-time” graduation rates in the State of Illinois (SE Illinois News, 2018).

The Automotive Technology Program is a two-year Associate’s Degree, and curriculum includes diagnostics and service in all aspects of vehicle maintenance and repair.  Students receive classroom lecture and hands-on training in the 38,000 square feet Workforce Development Center.  In 2017, FCC received approval from the National Coalition of Certification Centers to offer Snap-on Multimeter certification.  This certification is widely recognized in the automotive industry and gives students an advantage in seeking employment upon graduation.  The ASE Master-Accredited program also features three 2016 Toyota Highlanders that were donated by Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Princeton, Indiana.

Leading the program is Assistant Professor Rodney Maxey, who has been with the program since its inception in 2003.  Maxey has many years of teaching experience, as he taught professional mechanics at Moog Automotive for eight years and SIU-Carbondale for four years.  Ben Morgan, a 2013 graduate of the program, is the lab assistant for Maxey.  Both Maxey and Morgan are Master ASE certified.

“We started the program 16 years ago with an empty building and a goal of training our students to be successful in the automotive industry,” said Maxey.  “There have been many changes to the program since then, but the goal has never changed.  I am thrilled about this announcement, and I feel we have built a great program that puts the student’s future first.”

All schools named to Trade School Future’s list offer degrees such as automotive technology, diesel technology, engine performance, diagnostic training, collision repair, and auto body. 

Following behind FCC on the list were as follows:  North Central Kansas Technical College (Beloit, KS); Lake Area Technical Institute (Watertown, SD); Rosedale Technical College (Pittsburgh, PA); Mitchell Technical Institute (Mitchell, SD); Bates Technical College (Tacoma, WA); Salina Area Technical College (Salina, KS); Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology (Lancaster, PA); State Technical College of Missouri (Linn, MO); and Northwest Iowa Community College (Sheldon, IA).  To see the full report from Trade School Future, click here.

Frontier Community College is an Illinois Eastern Community College.  To learn more about FCC’s Automotive Technology Program, visit the program webpage or call 618-842-3711.