Automotive Program is NATEF Accredited

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
TMCC Automotive Student at Work Image

TMCC automotive students competing in SkillsUSA regionals.

There is power in knowing how to repair a vehicle.

The Automotive Program at Truckee Meadows Community College fired up in 1972, according to research by the TMCC Library Technician and historian Cameron Carr. It has come a long way since the time of Motor Trend’s Car of the Year and the Citroen SM.

The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) accredits TMCC’s Automotive Program. It first attained accreditation Sept. 29, 1994, and successfully renewed their accreditation for the fourth time, as of Dec. 14, 2017, according to NATEF.

Indeed, the program has a great deal of horsepower. The average full-time-equivalent (FTE) number of students enrolled averages about 70 each semester, said Barbara Walden, Director of Applied Technologies. The program has a solid frame, as well. “It’s all about the consistency of our product, the quality of students we turn out,” said Clifford Bartl, Automotive Program Professor.


NATEF accreditation review and re-accreditation happens every five years. The program accreditation process involves five steps:

  1. Fill out necessary documents and forms.
  2. Complete a self-evaluation and submit application.
  3. NATEF reviews application and determines eligibility.
  4. On-site evaluation by National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master-certified Evaluation Team Leader (ETL).
  5. Receive five-year accreditation.

Professor Bartl took the lead in the re-accreditation application, and fellow instructor Paul Seybold assisted him. Automotive Instructors Sam Byington and Wyatt Ziebell also contributed to the multi-step approval process.

Site Visit Day

The Evaluation Team Leader for this recertification cycle was Martin Kamimoto, Automotive Department Chair of Fresno City College. Kamimoto traveled to Reno for the required site visit on Oct. 20.

“Some community members came in too, including Greg Overby, the service manager at Reno Buick GMC Cadillac,” Seybold said. “He audited the tools and equipment needed. Part of the accreditation is that outside members come in and conduct audits. He’s also part of the TMCC auto advisory board.”

TMCC was rated highly for the following points:

  • Well-organized
  • Good housekeeping, clean
  • Good administrative support
  • Large student enrollment, and large demand by employers

“He liked the way the whole program runs, the standardization of our course syllabi, and a good division of instructional duties,” Bartl said. “Our facility has a great set-up, and we use new technology and equipment.”

Instructional updates recently made as part of the instructors’ continual improvements to the program included the uploading of NATEF task lists and grading rubrics to TMCC's Canvas database. Canvas is the platform for online instruction at the College.

Seybold added that the region’s automotive community is highly supportive of TMCC’s Program, including the following dealerships:

  • Dolan Toyota Scion
  • Reno Mazda Kia
  • Mercedes-Benz of Reno
  • Lithia Hyundai of Reno
  • Reno Buick GMC Cadillac

Collaboration with Other TMCC Departments

Bartl is appreciative for the efforts of TMCC Facilities Operations and Capital Planning staff members, who show over-and-above support and dedication to the program’s students. “I want to thank what Facilities did—painting or striping walkways, vehicle travel pathways, posting safety signage, and they provided electrical test equipment; again for safety,” he said.

The College’s transportation programs also include Diesel Technology, Aviation and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Programs.

For more information about automotive classes or studying any of the Transportation Technologies at TMCC, please call 775-856-5300.

Donation of Vehicle Needed

The community can help jump-start the Spring Semester for students in TMCC's Automotive Program with a vehicle donation. Each donation of a vehicle, model 2008 or newer, provides students with practical experience that allows them to enter the workforce fully trained in the latest technology and equipment, as it relates to the modern vehicle.

To learn more about donating your used vehicle to the Automotive Program at TMCC, please contact the TMCC Foundation at 775-673-8262.