Arlen Crabb
Senior Automotive Instructor
Lincoln College of Technology

What is your position in the industry?

I'm a Senior Automotive Instructor at Lincoln College of Technology. I also have been an ETL for the ASE Education Foundation for more than 5 years.

Tell us about yourself. What made you decide to become a service professional?

I started working on cars when I was in my teens. After graduating high school I took some college courses on automotive. I joined the United States Army was a wheeled vehicle repairman. While serving for 20 years in the Army, I discovered that I enjoyed teaching and passing my knowledge on. When I retired from the Army I went to work for Ford Motor Company as a heavy truck tech, but I was not happy. The military transition office told me about a teaching position at Lincoln Technical Institute in Landover, Maryland. I was hired in May of 1995 and have been teaching since. I am in my 27th year of teaching.

Where/How did you get your training to get the knowledge you have today?

My basic knowledge of automotive principle I learned in High Shop class and the local community college. The United States Army increased my knowledge over the years through hands on courses and on line courses. I attended courses with AC Delco, Caterpillar, Detroit Engines, Automatic Transmissions Service Group, Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association, Ford, MOPAR, Mazda, General Motors, and the United States Army Ordinance School.

How long have you worked as a service professional?

20 years with the United States Army, retired at the rank of Sergeant First Class. 1 year with Ford. 27 years with Lincoln College of Technology.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?

To maintain my teaching position I must hold a Master Certification. As an Instructor, I feel I should hold the standard that I want my students to achieve.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?

I am a Master Automotive Technician holding A1 to A8. I am also L1 and G1 certified.

What are some of the top challenges you do/did face as a service professional and how do/did you overcome them?

Some of the greatest challenges is maintaining certified in my field. I attend over 30 hours of in person and on line classes to stay proficient. The most recent challenge is hybrid and EV technology training and the availability of classes. The COVID restrictions have not helped in obtaining in person training. It's hard to learn from a video or teams call.

Do you have any advice for today’s students who might be thinking about entering the automotive industry or becoming a service professional?

I normally tell students that it takes a commitment of time to learn the automotive field. It is a career, not a hobby or pastime. Put down the cell phone and take notes. YouTube will get you in trouble with the short cuts. Work on the vehicle like the manufacturer intended.

What do you like most about being an automotive service professional?

The best part about teaching automotive is when your graduate returns to the school after years in the field to thank you for teaching them. Or that student that goes to work for or with one of your graduates that opened their own shop

Are there any additional comments you would like to add?

We need to pass our information and knowledge to the next generation. We also need more women in the field.