Until now, Tesla has mainly been recruiting technicians who have been working for other automakers or coming out of training programs where they mainly worked on internal combustion engines.
Of course, electric cars have several components in common with gas-powered cars, but the powertrains are completely different and it requires a significant amount of training to service them even for an experienced auto technician.
Tesla has been conducting that training internally for all its service technicians across over 100 service centers around the world.
Now the automaker is partnering with colleges to offer the training to students before starting to work at Tesla.
A spokesperson told Electrek today:
“We’re working with some of the best automotive education programs in the country to educate students on electric vehicle technology and our unique approach to customer service to prepare them for a career at Tesla. Students graduate with a full time job, certification and the skills necessary to succeed in the growing electric vehicle industry.”
The 12-week long training program is already underway at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the first class fo 13 students are going to graduate next week, and at Rio Hondo College in Whitter, California.
After the program, Tesla helps place graduates at service locations across North America.
The automaker currently has over 150 service technician jobs opened on its website – many are for “mobile technician” jobs as part of Tesla’s growing mobile service program.
Here’s Tesla’s list of requirements for the Tesla START program:
• Valid driver’s license, clean driving record with at least 2 years of driving experience and insurable
• Great work ethic & team player
• Ability to lift 50 – 60 pounds
• High School Diploma or GED and post-secondary automotive education level acceptable to Tesla
• Maintained a minimum of 3.5 grade point average in post-secondary education
• Achieve a documents minimum 95% attendance during their post-secondary education
• Be willing to relocate
• Accept employment at a Tesla Service Center within 30 days of graduation from the program for a period no less than 2 years
• Pass a written general automotive exam not specific to Tesla vehicles
• Some professional experience of working in the automotive service environment required
• Minimum 40 hours a week dedicated to training and service center support
• Maintain a 100% attendance percentage throughout the 12 week program
You can apply through Tesla’s website where they are also taking applications from colleges to be part of the program.
Other automakers have launched similar programs to train technicians specifically for their vehicles, but Tesla’s vehicles are arguably much more different overall which can specifically make this program more interesting to students.
I’ve talked to a few veteran service technicians who ended up working at Tesla and while they admitted that things can get crazy busy at times, they also say that the overall experience is completely different from your average auto dealer.
Of course, there’s the lack of oil changes, fuel filter, spark plug replacements, emission checks, etc, but there’s also the fact that Tesla’s vehicles are highly connected and can offer some advanced diagnostic tools.
They can focus on more interesting issues and now there’s also the mobile service which can offer an interesting change of pace for technicians.
From Tesla’s perspective, it’s certainly a smart move to get trained employees from the start and expand their training program.
By Fred Lamber at Electreck