Return to Headlines

Automotive Students Earn Record Number of Certifications

Automotive Students Earn Record Number of Certifications
County CTE program sees 21 students receive 64 ASE certificates

MICHIGAN CITY – December 15, 2022 – Twenty-one students in the Automotive Technology program at the A.K. Smith Career Center are wrapping up their first semester of this school year with a combined total of 64 certifications through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Steve Barnes, instructor for the Automotive Technology program, said this sets a new record for his students. Typically, about half of the students enrolled in the program receive ASE certificates, he said. With 38 students this year, Barnes was pleased with the number of students who passed these tests – some earning as many as eight certifications already this year.


There are 10 entry-level certificates available with area-specific tests – one for each major automotive system, as well as a Maintenance and Light Repair test that covers all eight areas plus topics such as shop safety and pollution control. Students can also test in Automotive Service Technology, a more intense certification that covers all eight areas plus work ethics and professionalism.

“I let students choose where they feel strongest,” Barnes said. “We test for three days, so if they fail, they can try again. If they pass, they can try for additional certificates.”

Barnes also uses the ASE certification process as a final exam in his class. If a student receives certification in an area, they receive an “A” grade on the final. He also offers a written final exam for students who do not pass certification.

Certifications received by students will last for two years, as opposed to four-year certifications held by technicians already working in the automotive field. But these ASE certificates certainly have value for students looking to join the workforce.

“As an entry-level technician, a certification tells an employer, not only that they are a trained, experienced tech, but that they are trainable and have the drive and discipline to do the job right the first time,” said Barnes. “Coming out of this program holding certifications helps assure an employer that they don’t have to spend as much time and money training a new hire, making that employee more valuable.”

Students receiving certifications are: Michael Clark, 2 certificates (La Porte); Adam Magill, 4 (La Porte); Robert Lanchsweerdt, 8 (New Prairie); Allen Troxler, 3 (La Porte); Elliott Stanford, 2 (Michigan City); Jonathan Serrano, 8 (Michigan City); Zane Foster, 1 (La Porte); Fransisco Garcia 2 (La Porte); Austin Bryan, 1 (La Porte); Brandon Bubalo, 3 (La Porte); William Marshall, 7 (Westville); Nicholas Smith, 2 (Westville); Ayden Griffin, 2 (LaCrosse); Alejandro Mota-Lopez, 7 (Michigan City); Jackson Kutkiewicz, 1 (LaCrosse); Payton Lijewski, 3 (New Buffalo); Jonathan Luna, 3 (La Porte); Holden Sikora, 1 (Westville); Andrew Nelson, 1 (La Porte); Christopher Lichkay, 2 (New Prairie); and Harry Bernstein, 2 (Westville).

More information on the Automotive Technology program through La Porte County Career and Technical Education is available at