LUBBOCK – Marc Wischkaemper, assistant professor of automotive technology at the South Plains College Career and Technical Center, attained World Class Technician status from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in January.

The status identifies automotive technicians who have attained 22 ASE certifications: A1-A8 (automotive), T1-T8 (medium/heavy truck), B2-B5 (collision repair), and L1 and L2 (advanced), according to the ASE website. Since 1986, only about 2,000 technicians have attained the status.

About a year ago, Wischkaemper said he only lacked the four collision certifications needed for World Class status. He said the last test he needed to pass was the hardest one.

“I knew nothing about auto body,” the Lubbock native said. “I had to study like crazy.”

Wischkaemper, who has been in the automotive field since 1982, said he had most of the required certifications for most of his adult life. After about forty years of working in the automotive field, he decided to pursue the other certifications.

“I’m going to do it for me just to prove that I can do it,” he said regarding the mindset he had at the time.

Wischkaemper said his background in the automotive industry started when he worked on vehicles at independent shops and worked on heavy equipment at Caterpillar. In 1999, he opened Master Auto Repair Center (an acronym for Marc) in Lubbock, which was a dream of his since he was a kid. After 15 years, he closed the shop.

“There were lots of really good years and then lots of not-so-great years dealing with problems,” he said. “I really got burned out toward the end.”


After closing the shop in 2014, Wischkaemper said he moved to Hawaii, where he worked as a master technician at a brand service station on the island of Maui. While he was living in Hawaii, an automotive teaching job opened at the SPC Plainview campus. At first, he was reluctant to apply, as he did not have any teaching experience, but his wife encouraged him to go for the position.

Wischkaemper said he waited several weeks after applying and later received a call from Rob Blair, SPC dean of technical education, about interviewing for the position. Wischkaemper made the trip to Texas for the interview and later received the job.

“It has been the best move I’ve ever made,” he said regarding his return to Texas.

In Spring 2015, Wischkaemper started his teaching position at SPC but not at the Plainview campus as was originally planned. A week before the semester started, Blair informed him that he would start teaching at Levelland to fill in for another faculty member. The following summer, Wischkaemper moved to Lubbock to serve in a teaching position at the SPC Career and Technical Center.

Wischkaemper, who thrives in the rapidly changing automotive industry, said SPC has provided him with training opportunities. Once a year, the college sends him to Kansas City, Missouri for the VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo, where he learns about the latest technology and brings his newfound knowledge back to his students.

“When they leave here, they are definitely above anybody else in the industry,” he said regarding his students, who have access to various technologies in the SPC automotive program.

In addition to providing students access to the latest technology, Wischkaemper said the automotive program encourages students to get ASE certifications. Program faculty will prepare students by reviewing the ASE study guides during classes. Students who want to attempt the certification tests will take a student version and can earn full certifications when they later gain work experience.

“Our students go through the same certification process at the end of the semester,” he said. “We get them ASE-certified, and we have over a 90-percent pass rate with our students.”

ASE-certified students tend to have an easier time finding a job in the industry, Wischkaemper said.

“I really push it because it makes you look like a person that actually cares about yourself and your skills,” he said.

While prepping for the certification tests, Wischkaemper said he asks for the students’ feedback on questions. He said he is always surprised by the different perspectives students have on automotive issues.

“It’s the most challenging and rewarding job I've ever had in my life,” he said regarding his time as a faculty member. “There’s nothing like teaching a group of people that are really interested in what you do, and they finally get it.”