Engineering Technology (ET) is the applied aspect of engineering; it is the profession in which technology, applied science, and mathematics are applied to hands-on engineering solutions. The Associate in Science in Engineering Technology degree program with specialization in Mechanical Design and Fabrication is designed to meet Florida's and Polk County's need for a highly skilled, well-trained, and technically-competent manufacturing workforce, and to meet the challenges of ever changing and increasingly complex manufacturing processes. The Mechanical Design and Fabrication specialization of the program focuses on material fabrication using manual and computerized machining processes, solid-modeling design and programming, and computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programming.
The AS in Engineering Technology degree can serve as either a terminal degree, or as the first step of a Florida university system 2+2 program leading to a bachelor's degree in a technical area or in management.
The Engineering Technology Program prepares students with skills in production processes, quality systems, and maintenance awareness for modern manufacturing processes, safety, and automation (including Programmable Logic Controls). It emphasizes the development of proficiencies related to instrumentation, device networking, and systems functions required by today's manufacturing processes. Process improvements, including total predictive maintenance, lubrication technology, vibration, and alignment, as well as quality work practices utilizing Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma, are also emphasized in the curriculum. This program develops the technical skills and management competencies needed to advance efficient and effective performance strategies within advanced manufacturing entities.
The Engineering Technology Program requires an 18-credit ET core, a 12-credit Mechanical Design and Fabrication specialization block, 12 elective credits, and 18 General Education credits, for a total of 60 credits of career preparation. The method of instruction used in program core and specialization courses is referred to as "competency-based individualized instruction." Instead of teaching the course through traditional lectures and laboratory sessions at scheduled times, all of the material is formatted into self-study modules, called "units," that contain both theory and hands-on components. Units provide information on significant applied engineering competencies, components, circuits, mechanisms, and equipment that are widely used in manufacturing facilities. Several units make up one course.
The Engineering Technology lab and classroom facilities at the Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center in Bartow consist of high-quality laboratory equipment for numerous hands-on activities that develop the skills required to construct, operate, analyze, and program a wide range of circuits and equipment used in this field. Each student is assigned to a specific instructor. The instructor monitors the student's progress, grades exams, and determines the final letter grade for each course completed. The assigned instructor also assists the student in selecting appropriate courses to progress through the program. Classes are scheduled during the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Certain courses in this program require placement at the college level or satisfaction of developmental education requirements in reading, writing, and mathematics.