Thomas Nelson Adds New Degree for Fall 2014 to Prepare Students for Various STEM Careers

A new degree program at Thomas Nelson Community College slated for fall semester 2014 will give students the broad skills today’s industries demand. Thomas Nelson’s new Associate of Applied Science degree in Technical Studies with a specialization in Industrial Technology will prepare students for a range of careers in industrial automation, industrial mechanics, electrical and electronic equipment, renewable energy, fiber optics, and process controls.

The program gives students a comprehensive set of skills that employers require when selecting operators and technicians such as programming, repair, installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance. It incorporates basic manufacturing techniques, skilled mechanical and electrical principles and emerging advanced manufacturing technologies. “Employers are looking for skills beyond basic career knowledge, and that is what this degree will provide,” said Jean Frank, an Electronics Technology Instructor in Thomas Nelson’s Science, Engineering and Technology division.
“The program is built around the demand in [certain] occupations and designed for the required skill set, and to teach students how to communicate, collaborate, think critically and solve problems,” she said.

Frank said the new degree is ideal for students who may not meet math requirements for programs in Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Engineering Technology. The new program will expose students to a myriad of Science, Engineering and Technology offerings in their first semester as they take courses such as Introduction to Engineering Technology, Engineering Drawing Fundamentals I and Electronics Fundamentals. “Students who remain in the Industrial Technology program can complete all the courses with MTH 103 Applied Technical Math, which is the same math requirement for HVAC and Automotive Technology. Both HVAC and Automotive Technology have demonstrated increased enrollments in previous years, indicating a need for degree programs in the trades,” she noted.

“This program was developed in response to industry needs and to the Skills to Succeed Inventory of the Virginia Peninsula Career Pathways in Advanced and Precision Manufacturing Technologies,” said Frank. The Skills to Succeed Inventory is a comprehensive study of the Virginia Peninsula’s manufacturing sector that indicates more than 11,000 job openings are expected in the top 11 careers through 2016.

Completers of the new degree at Thomas Nelson will also be equipped for careers as electrical technicians, maintenance technicians, hydraulic and pneumatic controllers/operat
ors/technicians, alternative energy installers/technicians, materials and process technicians, composite technicians, telecommunication technicians, broadcast technicians, and electrical commercial and industrial installers/repairers.

For more information about the College’s offerings in Science, Engineering and Technology, visit