TNCC Instructor Passes Autodesk Exams to Bring Certification Prep Courses to Computer Aided Drafting Students and Instructors

Published: February 5, 2009

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) is the new hot spot for computer aided drafting instructors in Virginia thanks to Computer Aided Drafting and Design Program Head Tom Pringle. In January, Pringle passed the associate and professional Autodesk Certification exams for AutoCAD 2009 and Inventor 2009, two industry-revered drafting, modeling and digital prototyping software applications. Currently, he is the only instructor in Virginia qualified to teach the certification test prep courses for programs. He hopes to use his certification to help other instructors offer the prep course to their students.

TNCC became an official Autodesk Certified testing center in December.  Pringle works in conjunction with TNCC, the U.S. Department of Education and Ron Williams Ltd., a company that provides educational tools and training for secondary and higher education institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region, to proctor the test in Virginia. Establishing “the testing center, to me, was the smallest part. The bigger part was being able to teach the exam prep course,” Pringle said.

Pringle facilitated his first Autodesk Certification test prep course in January for 13 instructors from high schools, technical centers and community colleges in Virginia. One participant drove an hour from the Richmond area to spend the day at TNCC. Another made a five-hour trip from Blacksburg to take the class and the one-hour, 30-question, multiple choice exam. “The questions are insanely difficult,” Pringle said.

Pringle set aside two hours per week for three months to prepare for the test. He enjoys helping other instructors prepare for the Autodesk Certification exam, but he’s more excited about facilitating the prep course for TNCC students. “It’s still a fairly new test and it’s a really difficult test and if we can start getting the students certified, that’s a really good thing on the resume,” Pringle said.

Although there are several certifications for computer-aided drafting students, Pringle says Autodesk Certification will put students on the radars of job recruiters. “When you receive the certifications, you’re entered into a national database so an employer can search that database for people that are certified in their area,” Pringle said. “The Autodesk test is very respected by industry, so it’s much better for the students.”

Pringle holds an Associate’s Degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design from ITT Technical Institute and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from American InterContinental University.

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