July 5, 2011


Engineering Technician Program Gearing Up for Fall

Northeast Alabama Community College is gearing up to offer a new degree program in the Fall. The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Engineering Technology is the college’s newest degree program. Established from a need to prepare technicians to support the work of engineers, this program will rely on a strong background of math and science coupled with excellent technical skills.

The program is designed to support a variety of engineering specialties. Degree options in Industrial, Electrical/Mechanical, and Energy & Conservation have been approved. According to Dr. Mike Kennamer, NACC’s Director of Workforce Development, the first option that will be offered will be electrical/mechanical, which will support almost any type of industry. Industrial and Energy & Conservation options will be developed over the next few years to meet emerging industry needs. Additional options may be added as industry needs arise. 

The program will be located in the college’s new Industrial Systems Technology Building. The curriculum has been established, and the process of hiring an instructor is currently underway.

“We at Northeast think that this program is ideally suited for our service area,” stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell. “There are many opportunities in engineering in Huntsville, of course, and with the strong possibility that Bellefonte is going to be restarted it appears that there will be some great career opportunities for engineering and engineering technician jobs there.” Campbell added that engineering technician jobs already exist with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and other area industries that are not contingent upon Bellefonte being restarted. “TVA does their own training,” Campbell added. “But an associate degree in a technical field like Engineering Technician is a first and required step in getting accepted into one of the TVA training programs for many fields. In fact, we worked with TVA Workforce managers in developing this program.”

The NACC program was approved by the State Board of Education December 9, 2010 and by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education at its December 10, 2010 meeting.

So what does an Engineering Technician do? According to the United States Department of Labor, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technicians assist engineers in designing, testing, building, operating and maintaining computer-controlled manufacturing systems, including industrial robots and conveyor systems.

The job market for engineering technicians is expected to be strong both locally and nationally over the next several years. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, “employment of engineering technicians is influenced by economic conditions similar to those which affect engineers.” As a result, a need for engineers in a particular geographic region reflects a similar need for engineering technicians. The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations predicts that there will be 455 new engineering technician job openings in the state each year through 2016. And of the 77 fastest growing occupations requiring postsecondary training or an associate’s degree on America’s Career InfoNet, at least 10 are in an engineering technician field. 

Northeast currently offers programs in a number of related fields including Industrial Electronics, Industrial Systems/Maintenance, and Drafting & Design Technology. The Engineering Technician program will further expand the college’s ability to meet the specific needs of emerging industry.

“This is one of the many career/technical programs that we have added at Northeast over the past several years,” Campbell added. “We have attempted to expand the mission of the college by establishing more career/technical programs that lead to good jobs that are attainable locally. We are pleased to do this for the community.” 

On campus early registration at NACC will be held July 18-19, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Regular Registration will be August 17-18, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. with Late Registration August 19, and August 22-25, 2011. In order to get the classes and class times that they want, students are encouraged to register as early as possible. 

Students who wish to enroll may contact the college’s Admissions Office (ext. 222 or 325) at (256) 228-6001 or (256) 638-4418. For more information about the program, visit the college’s website at or contact the College Career Planning Center at the preceding numbers, ext. 315. The college’s Office of Workforce Development can also provide information at ext. 254.