TNCC’s Electronics Engineering Technologies Head Receives Solar Thermal Certification

Published: July 12, 2010

HAMPTON, Va. –- Thomas Nelson Community College’s Deborah Lichniak, Head of Electronics Engineering Technologies, recently completed the Solar Thermal Course – Train the Trainer program during the Southern Mid-Atlantic Provider of Solar Instructor Training at North Carolina State University. The two-week training was open to community college representatives from Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina as part of a grant to enhance education about solar products at community colleges.

“TNCC wants to be at the forefront of green technology and being able to help students understand alternative energy concepts and incorporating them here at the school will only enhance both of these avenues further,” Lichniak said.

Lichniak said the highlight of the experience was being able to install a Solar Thermal system on an actual roof. The hands-on training she received will help her prepare TNCC students to work with local installers, become certified installers and start businesses of their own. According to the Green Careers Guide, the job opportunities in the solar thermal field are excellent. Currently, certified installers are in demand and earn up to $19 per hour.

She said the training course also provided the foundation she needs to enroll in North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Solar Thermal Certification Program, which provides a set of national standards and skills that set program certified individuals apart from others in the industry. Lichniak plans to use these standards to place TNCC students at an advantage. “[This is] important in [solar thermal] instruction and how we develop courses to support it. Too, the rationale behind providing certification programs and licensing is that many power and complex solar thermal systems have been installed in ways which virtually guarantee poor system performance or worse – failure which, in turn, threatens our vibrant and growing industry. ” she said.

Lichniak joined the TNCC faculty nearly two years ago and is dedicated to providing students with exceptional educational opportunities in the engineering and electronics fields. TNCC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees in Electronics Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, Electromechanical Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. Career Studies Certificates are available in the following areas: Electronics Technology, Electronics Maintenance Technician and Electronics Production Technician.

For more information about these programs, please call 825-2778 or visit


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