The Automotive Service Technology Program at Northeast Technology Center’s Pryor Campus has received accreditation by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). To achieve this recognition, the school’s automotive training program underwent rigorous evaluation by NATEF examiners using nationally accepted standards of excellence in areas such as instruction, facilities and equipment.
“This is great news for automotive-minded young people and their parents,” said Donald Seyfer, former NATEF Chair. “Because this program increases cooperation between local education and industry leaders, it gives added assurance that NTC’s graduates will be employable entry-level technicians.”
NATEF is a non-profit, independent organization that evaluates and accredits entry-level technician training programs against standards developed by the automotive industry. The purpose of the accreditation process is to assure the motoring public has access to top-notch auto repair technicians.
NTC Automotive Service Instructor Alex Schmidt just completed his first year of teaching at the NTC Pryor Campus. Previous to that, he taught the Automotive Service Technology Program at NTC Afton, and before coming to NTC, Schmidt worked as a senior master technician for Ford Motor Company. He was with Ford for 14 years working at both Jack Kissee Ford in Claremore and North Point Ford in Pryor.
“For me personally, this was the first NATEF accreditation process to go through,” said Schmidt. “I was a little nervous just because this was my first time going through an accreditation like this, but I was confident we would pass with flying colors.”
The NATEF accreditation process takes place during the school year, which means Schmidt had to juggle his classroom duties with the additional demands of the accreditation process.
“The process involves a rigorous inspection and evaluation of my program. We go through everything from safety tests and curriculum to shop equipment and tools,” Schmidt said. “Literally everything in my program has to be checked in detail to make sure we are aligned with NATEF standards and up to date with today's technologies.”
The NATEF accreditation certification will last for five years, and at the end of that time, the process will need to be repeated.
The NATEF accreditation has benefits for all parties involved in the automotive training and service industry. Students receive current, nationally standardized training, and employers are ensured a pool of well-trained job applicants.
“I feel like NATEF is a good asset to our program,” Schmidt said. “They make sure we meet the highest standards of automotive education programs in the nation, and it increases professionalism within the industry.”