Clemson University’s Automotive Technology Certificate program is the first of its kind in the country. In its second year, the program offers a certificate in automotive engineering for students pursuing jobs in the growing automotive industry in South Carolina.
That same automotive 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,” said Srikanth Pilla, professor, Clemson Department of Automotive Engineering and Program Director of the Automotive Technology Certificate program.
“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.”
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.
“We have a great facility here,” said Cristina Meers, Operations Manager for the Department of Automotive Engineering. “We have a great facility. Great equipment. And we wanted the undergraduates at Clemson to be able to experience that. So this is a way for them to come out, take 17 credit hours of courses and obtain a certificate.”
Meers said they hope the program encourages undergraduates to pursue graduate studies at the Department of Automotive Engineering, but non-Clemson students interested in learning more can enroll, too.
The program is in its second year. 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.
“We’ve seen some success already from the students who have taken part,” Meers said.
“This is a program that’s pretty unique in the country,” Pilla said. “We have a mission to meet the needs of the state.”