Elizabethton student's ultimate goal: her own auto repair shop

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College of Applied Technology
Kelly Young in TCAT Elizabethton's automotive shop

Kelly Young of Carter County is driven. She plans to become a master automotive technician when she graduates in December 2017 from the ASE-certified program at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Elizabethton.

Young said she grew up never thinking she wanted to become an automotive technician. But at a very young age, she said she used to take everything apart “just to see how it worked” so she could put it back together, or to see if she could fix things that were broken, like her bike, or a toaster.

“Once I started driving and had to have repairs on my vehicles, it started to make me want to be able to do it myself so I didn't have to depend on a shop to fix any issues that came up -- plus I thought it would be neat to be able to show my children everything," she said.

“I would be learning as my children got older, and it would give us something to do together even as they got older. But since I've been taking the automotive class, I've realized that it's something that I really enjoy doing and would love to turn into a career."

Young said the most difficult part of the training for her was “learning the electrical (systems). The easiest has been brakes and suspension. My goal is to eventually have my own shop, maybe specialize in transmissions, but be able to do any repairs needed.”

The training includes computerized engine analysis, heating and air conditioning, electrical and electronic systems, brake repair, front-end alignment, manual and automatic transmissions, and chassis and steering, among others. All units of study are accredited and certified by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation. The program is taught by Jacky Livingston, a Certified ASE Master Technician with more than 21 years’ experience at TCAT Elizabethton. ASE is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a non-profit organization that tests and certifies automotive professionals.

TCAT Elizabethton offers both day and evening automotive classes. Currently the program completion rate is 100 percent and the job placement rate is 96 percent. Twelve months of training, tuition and fees total $6,132, books and supplies $4,949.  Financial assistance, up to $7,775 per year, is available to qualifying students.

Applications are now being received at TCAT Elizabethton for the fall trimester that begins Sept. 5. For additional information, contact TCAT Elizabethton at 423-543-0070 or visit www.tcatelizabethton.edu.