Getting Paid for Loving Cars

Jonathan Zamora, 19, loves everything about cars. When he graduated from Capital High School, he was planning to go to college in Farmington to study automotive technology. Then he heard about the new Automotive Technology Program at SFCC and was thrilled to begin his studies in his hometown.

His dream was to work in the area. After starting at SFCC last fall, he became a full-time lube technician at Toyota of Santa Fe in January. He is continuing to take classes and plans to earn his degree. In addition to offering an Associate of Applied Science degree, the Automotive Technology Program offers seven certificates: automotive engine repair, auto maintenance and light truck repair, automatic transmission transaxle, automotive heating and air conditioning, brakes, manual transmission and drive train, as well as steering suspension.

Gilbert Sena, associate professor and director of the program, brings a wealth of experience to the college. Not only has he taught college-level classes in automotive technology for 13 years, he also owned an automotive repair business and has worked as a service manager and service technician at dealerships around the state.

“There’s a huge demand for individuals who have specialized training and certifications,” Sena said. “Every auto technician needs proper tools and our corporate partner Snap-On Tools helps students get those tools at a greatly discounted rate.” According to New Mexico employment wage statistics, experienced technicians can earn about $46,000, while master technicians earn double that figure or more.