This article will focus on training in the field of auto mechanics, and why, in the age of computerized vehicles, it is a great choice for a career. Cars today are manufactured with computer systems on board that run major systems, so learning to repair them has become more complex and requires specific training. Fifty years ago, a motor was a motor, and the challenge was in diagnosing which system was involved–then deciding on the best path to repair it. Today, mechanics must operate and use computer-based diagnostic technology. At Thompson High School, the auto mechanics coursework prepares the student for the new age.
If you want to learn a trade and love cars, getting as much education as you can early in life is ideal. Thompson High School offers a superior auto mechanics program. We explain the advantages of choosing Thompson High School.
Types of Courses
Thompson High School has an excellent reputation for college readiness with a state-of-the-art campus constructed in 2017 and over 100 new classrooms. Serving over 2000 students, all coursework offered is high quality. Many high schools today do not offer courses in the trades, so students must graduate before gaining necessary training and certification. Since public high school is free, it is smart to take trade classes or classes that prepare for trades during high school. Along with auto mechanics coursework, however, basic math and English courses are required.
What Makes Thompson High School Unique
Thompson has several characteristics that shoot it beyond the competition when it comes to comprehensive secondary education. The school is large, new, and has the facilities necessary to offer hands-on training in auto diagnostics and repair. Classroom courses are combined with labs so students can get plenty of exposure to classes that go beyond reading, writing, and mathematics. Although Thompson High School has no specific courses in auto mechanics, the classes in engineering, physics, math, and English are all applicable to laying the foundation necessary to excel in automotive diagnostics.
General Coursework Ratings
Thompson High School rates highly in graduation rate (95%) and in the number of students who pass AP tests (near 50%) and is considered a performing school with A and B ratings in all major categories. It is rated safe by students and administrators and is located in a growing area in Alabaster, Alabama. The school has a large student body, so there are many opportunities for all types of students. Diversity is high and representative of a wide range of ethnic groups.
Parents may not be aware that not all high schools are created equally when it comes to programs designed for those students who defer or decline the pursuit of college. Larger schools and those with more resources have a wider range of programs for students seeking training in computers, electrical, mechanics, and other trades such as plumbing or HVAC. Even schools with an impressive offering of trade programs can struggle with specialty offerings. In addition to coursework to educate in basic and advanced auto mechanics, Thompson High School offers a highly rated JROTC program for students who want to enlist.
Preparation for Auto Mechanics
If you are considering choosing Thompson High School for its auto mechanics program, it is necessary to complete several basic math classes. This includes pre-algebra and math for business; both of these are foundational courses. It is unnecessary to complete algebra, but they recommend it since mastering algebra is necessary before completing geometry. Both math and English courses are necessary to perform well in the auto mechanics program, which is competitive.
Basic or “Business” Math
In high school, any math that precedes pre-algebra is called “basic math,” and the focus is on mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division along with the order of operations, fractions, and percentages. These are important topics to conquer in order to succeed at pre-algebra. Without mastery of multiplication, all math can be a slow and painful process. Inability to calculate fractions is problematic because using decimals, percents, and fractions is fundamental to comprehending how amounts relate to one another.
Most students complete pre-algebra by 8th grade. Pre-algebra coursework is designed to prepare students for the specific concepts of algebra, which are new and require a level of abstract thinking students may not be familiar with. The main concepts in algebra involve the use of variables (x, y) to stand in for unknown quantities. Algebra also includes the introduction to graphing lines which covers quadrants, intersections, and basic geometric shapes. In pre-algebra, equations using variables are practiced.
Typically, students complete algebra in 9th grade and geometry in 10th. Algebra is the basic language for all high maths, including trigonometry and calculus. Without algebra, high math is difficult but sometimes (for example, calculus) still possible. But with no algebraic background, it is difficult to get beyond basic math skills. In trades, algebra is used on a practical level but is fundamental to solving mathematical problems that include unknown quantities.
Geometry is helpful because it focuses on using logic to solve problems, improves understanding of spatial relations, and helps prepare for high math courses. But geometry is uniquely applicable to all trades because it involves measurement. Although most high school geometry courses will emphasize logic and proofs, some high school classes will include applications of geometry. In geometric equations, like finding a missing angle, algebra may be applied. For that reason, algebra is always taught before geometry.
To earn a living in the auto mechanics industry, it is necessary to read at a high level. For individuals who become airplane mechanics, for example, most programs require reading at a 12th-grade level, and some require 14th grade-level reading. These levels of reading are only possible by mastering the skills taught in high school English classes, which include reading comprehension, vocabulary, and expressive language (writing). All high schools require four years of English, and Thompson High School is no different. Students must take four years but can choose AP options for more of a challenge.
Advanced Courses (STEM)
At Thompson High School, students who are taking courses in engineering or auto repair are also able to choose coursework in higher mathematics. There are no restrictions on the type of courses available to students who choose a non-college track. Trigonometry, functions, and calculus, as well as statistics, are available for all students and some of these carry college credit. In addition, pre-engineering coursework, like mechanical drawing, can be useful for those interested in auto mechanics.
Thompson High School is known for its engineering program and has received media attention for community volunteering projects the students have completed. Four engineering courses are offered and can be completed as electives or science courses. The engineering program is a good match for students interested in auto mechanics since it lays down the foundation for mechanical relationships and integrates maths such as algebra and geometry into problem-solving in the real world. Engineering courses are available from day one, so freshmen can register for introductory courses.
For a foundation for a career in auto mechanics, Thompson High School offers science coursework in physics. The laws of movement, acceleration, and the relationships of non-quantum mechanics are all applicable. Students who are interested in trades should take at least one physics course in order to prepare themselves for using math to solve problems.
Auto Mechanic Courses
Students who take the full course load offered for auto mechanics must still complete four years of math and four years of English as required by federal law. Students choosing the path to a trade and attending Thompson High School will take all electives in coursework that support the trade they have chosen. Some science classes (two years are required to graduate) can substitute for automotive classes, such as engineering or robotics. Examples of typical courses for auto mechanics education include:
Leaving the Campus
Thompson High School is committed to offering a wide array of courses. Credit can be achieved by taking courses that are offered through other institutions. Many of the auto mechanic courses available are completed at other partnering institutions. If they are AP courses, this may require a fee to pay for the college credit. In the case of trades courses, partnering technical colleges are where the actual course is offered. Parents are encouraged to get details about how to guide their scholar to complete the best pathway for finishing academic and trades-based coursework. In some cases, it may require off-campus transportation.
Thompson High School is a public school funded by the state of Alabama. It admits any student who lives in the area (Alabaster) and has graduated 8th grade. There are no special admission requirements to attend thi school, but parents must complete appropriate paperwork on time.
The forms necessary to enroll in Thompson High School are standard. Parents will need to have a birth certificate or social security card on hand plus proof of residency. We recommend that parents complete all necessary requirements a month or more before the school year begins in August. They must submit paperwork in person, and this will allow parents to visit the school campus. The key part of the paperwork is the registration packet which can be downloaded from the school’s website.
Thompson High School’s website will provide all details necessary for enrolling and will outline all coursework available to students. Once parent and student have reviewed the website, it is time to come up with a plan for elective courses. If the student has the interest and motivation in trade courses, an excellent first course is auto repair or wood shop. Both are an introduction to hands-on learning, in which some students will excel.
High School Orientation
For new students who are beginning 9th grade, all freshmen have an orientation. Do not skip this step! The orientation takes students on a tour of the whole school and explains their coursework options. In addition, the orientation educates students on what requirements they need to meet to graduate and what electives they can choose. In freshman year, the school allows two electives, and it’s important to emphasize making practical choices for students who want to work in the trades eventually.
There is no education requirement necessary to work as an automotive technician or mechanic in the state of Alabama, and that is true of most states. However, with over 8,000 individuals employed in auto mechanic jobs, certification can be helpful for career promotion and, sometimes, gaining the first job. Certification is offered through secondary institutions, but the process of gaining certification happens more quickly if basic automotive classes are completed. It is possible to gain much of the coursework necessary by taking several automotive mechanic classes at Thompson High School.
To prepare for certification in auto mechanics, it is necessary to complete mandated courses. Community colleges and technical colleges offer the full array of coursework necessary, but preparation in high school is a must. Many community colleges will test students, typically in math to the level of algebra and writing, in order for admission. Most community colleges will accept students who don’t pass the math or language requirement but will require an English 101 or Introduction to Algebra course for the first year. Check local options for technical colleges, which may have less stringent academic requirements.
Thompson High School is an excellent choice for completing coursework necessary for certification in any trade, but especially for auto mechanics because of the range of institutions they partner with. The auto mechanic classes, combined with English and math necessary to complete more complex automotive training beyond high school, are accessible to all students. Thompson High School allows students to combine challenging, competitive academics with practical classes that point toward certification and a career. Its world-class engineering program is a bonus for students interested in mechanics.