Tuning up

At least one Glen Rock student won’t be attending a traditional university next year. That doesn’t mean he isn’t driving toward a different passion.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Driving Your Performance, Gas Engine Construction and Operation, Electrical Systems, Air Conditioning and Electrical Accessories, Automotive Brake Systems, Automotive Steering and Suspension Systems are the courses offered to receive the total 29.5 credits in an Automotive Mechanics Program.

by Julia Rooney, Managing Editor

Amidst a roomful of seniors anxiously applying to colleges all over the country sits Theodore Geiger. His mind is not focused on any University: in fact, he is hardly focused on traditional school at all.

Geiger is on a different post-graduate path than the majority of his peers. In the fall, he began a course in automotive mechanics with Lincoln Technical Institute through a partnership they have with Glen Rock High School.

Guidance Counselor Theresa Caren explained that students who do not wish to pursue a college career following high school graduating have the choice to go to technical school, go into the military, get a job, or take a gap year.

“Theodore’s experience is unique in that it gives him the opportunity during high school to receive occupational training during his senior year,” Caren said. “He can then decide if this is something he wants to do post-graduation.”

As soon as the opportunity to work with automobiles, while working towards a high school diploma, presented itself to Geiger he knew it was something he couldn’t pass up.

“Certain certification or degrees you need in order to get that job you’ve been waiting for your entire life,” said Geiger.

After graduating the Automotive Mechanics auto101c–certificate Program, Geiger will be qualified to enter into an automotive service career field as an eligible mechanic. The process will take two additional years.

To be able to perform more complex tasks, Geiger plans to work up to a higher certification. His goal is to make a salary as high as some college tuition costs.

“You can work your way up and get a higher form of certification leading to a higher income. It’s about $30,000 for each year,” said Geiger. “When people get out of college, they’re usually in a lot of debt.”

Being qualified for a successful career in under four years with no college education is a dream of Geiger’s, one he’s being instructed for over 700 hours to achieve.

The course requires students to work outside of classes as well. The extra hours are well worth it to Geiger when compared to paying tuition for four years of homework.

Dedicating his time to automotive research and hands-on activities, Geiger can be found on the Mahwah campus, Monday through Friday, over a span of 28 weeks.

Lincoln Tech of Mahwah is known for holding the highest graduation rate for all campuses, 87 percent. The auto technician graduate rate is over 90 percent.

Heading into this program, the success rates appealed to Geiger. He was confident that he’d made the right choice to follow his dream rather than the common path of a college degree.

“Every situation is different and everyone does not need to go to college today. We need more people in the trades, and they can make a lot of money by being specialized,” Caren said.