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Graduate Stories

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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work for Lexus Technician Raymond Rodriguez

"Learn as much as you can, especially if they offer ASE training or testing. Definitely get into that because that will help a long way for you to move up in your certification level."


For Raymond Rodriguez, going to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) was a communal experience. He became friends with many of his classmates. After school, students would hang out, work on each other's cars and give each other advice on how to improve the work they were doing.

Today in his full-time position as an automotive technician for Lexus of Edison in New Jersey, Raymond is again surrounded by car enthusiasts. Working in a collaborative environment at UTI prepared Raymond for his current work environment.

“It prepares us by getting ready for the team set-up in a dealership,” says Raymond. “It helps with asking other technicians for help or getting another one involved with the work you're getting. It helps you communicate a lot better.”

Raymond says he loves coming to work because he gets to continually learn more, progress and accomplish his mission of bettering himself as a technician.

“I wanted to be a technician because of my passion for cars,” says Raymond. “I knew I wanted to go deep into it and pursue more about it.”

Raymond is from New Jersey and attended UTI in Exton, Pennsylvania, before the Bloomfield campus was open. He says when he was at UTI, that's when everything started to kick in about the career journey he wanted to take.

An Automotive Deep Dive

Raymond took the core Automotive Technology Program and learned basic maintenance. Then, he took the Toyota Professional Automotive Technician (TPAT) Program. TPAT, a manufacturer-specific advanced training (MSAT), teaches students about both Toyota and Lexus systems, preparing students for career opportunities at dealerships.

Raymond says TPAT prepared him for electrical, alignments and under-car experience, as well as upselling. He learned about hybrid systems in TPAT, as well.

Today, Raymond is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in electrical. He is studying to get more ASE certifications, including a certification in brakes. He encourages UTI students to complete ASE certifications if they can, as well.

“Learn as much as you can, especially if they offer ASE training or testing,” Raymond says. “Definitely get into that because that will help a long way for you to move up in your certification level.”

How to Become an Automotive Technician

UTI's core automotive program provides those with a passion for cars a way to achieve an entry-level position in the industry. Students learn skills like how electricity functions in a vehicle, professional automotive service writing, automotive engines service and repair, climate control systems and repair, and much more.

Students who want to work with specific automotive brands, like Raymond does with Lexus, can look into MSAT courses for more than 20 brands offered at UTI. UTI offers MSAT courses for brands including:

  • BMW
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Nissan
  • Porsche
  • Volvo
  • Fiat
  • Dodge
  • Jeep
  • Chrysler

Class sizes in MSAT courses tend to be smaller than the core automotive course. Students get extensive hands-on experience working with the brands they're most passionate about.

As UTI students prepare for graduation, they can talk with UTI's Employment Assistance student services for career help. Employment Assistance can help students prepare a résumé, look for jobs in the area of their choice, and connect with employers they want to work with.

Raymond says Employment Assistance helped him get to where he is today.

“Definitely talk to employment services, so that they'll see what's available and what you're comfortable with,” Raymond says. “That's how I started off here at Lexus of Edison. I really like it here.”


To get information on UTI's automotive technician training, request info here.


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