Clemson University leaders say the school’s Automotive Technology Certificate program is the first of its kind in the country. In its second year, the program offers automotive engineering certificates for students pursuing jobs in South Carolina’s growing automotive sector.
That same industry influenced Clemson to add the program to its Department of Automotive Engineering.
“The growing enterprise of the automotive ecosystem within the state of South Carolina, we feel, as a land-grant institution, that we have the responsibility to provide the workforce or train the workforce in the fields that are growing,” program director Srikanth Pilla said.
Since the Department of Automotive Engineering offered only graduate-level classes, Clemson wanted to make the department’s state-of-the-art expertise and technology available to other students.
“They have been hiring a lot of engineers, industrial science engineers,” Pilla said. “They do have all the required theoretical background but they don’t have the automotive experience or the information or knowledge about the automotive field.”
Clemson undergraduates can obtain a certificate if they complete 12 credit hours of courses. Operations manager Cristina Meers said the Department of Automotive Engineering hopes the program encourages undergraduates to pursue graduate studies, but non-Clemson students interested in learning more can also enroll.
Students can select four of six courses available to complete their certificate. Those courses include: advanced and electrified powertrains, vehicle dynamics, automotive tools and prototyping, autonomous vehicles, automotive digital manufacturing, vehicle testing and characterization. Additional courses will be added.
“This is a program that’s pretty unique in the country,” Pilla said. “We have a mission to meet the needs of the state.”