Engineering Technology Associate in Science Degree Program with Alternative Energy Systems Option

Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne, Florida

The Engineering Technology (ET) Associate in Science degree program’s Alternative Energy Systems Option at Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) was created to meet the recent interest by both consumers and industry in the renewable energy fields.

The program was developed over the course of three semesters by Bruce Hesher, with help of EFSC’s Sheryl Awtonomow and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE).   A National Science Foundation grant, shared between EFSC, the State College of Jacksonville, and Tallahassee Community College was used to develop this two year college level program in Florida. The Southeast Solar Training Network provided training for faculty who would be leading classes in both solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies.  SSTN also provided technical, educational, and laboratory development advice.

The program’s first year core courses provide training and skills needed in any engineering technology related industry.  The content also prepares students for nationally recognized certifications.  Second year students choose from one of three options: Electronics, Advanced Technology, and for our interest Alternative Energy Systems.

The Engineering Technology AS program also encompasses a college credit certification program for those interested in a certificate versus AS degree.  See Certificate and Diploma Programs for more information on the EFSC Alternative Energy Systems Specialist certificate program.

Program Description

The Engineering Technology (ET) Associate in Science degree program provides the training necessary to work in the high-tech job market in the Florida Technology Corridor. Students enjoy hands-on learning, attentive instructors and fully equipped labs with the most up-to-date equipment.

The Engineering Technology A.S. Degree prepares students for an entry position in a wide range of manufacturing and electronics organizations by learning the fundamentals appropriate for all types of manufacturing. This program also provides supplemental training for individuals previously or currently employed in the manufacturing industry. After completing the first year of core courses, students are prepared to take the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) test. The options available in this degree allow the student to seek employment in different occupations in the high-growth manufacturing and advanced technology industries.

First year core courses provide training and skills needed in any industry and include: safety, quality and manufacturing methods. The content prepares students for nationally recognized certifications.

Second year students choose one of three options:  Electronics, Advanced Technology or Alternative Energy Systems.

Program Attributes

  • The Engineering Technology A.S. degree is the original blueprint for engineering programs adopted by many community/state colleges in Florida.
  • Engineering Technology AS– Applied Technology Specialist CCC – Manufacturing Skills Standards Council – Certified Production Technician (MSSC-CPT) –  Final Perkins IV Technical Skill Attainment Inventory (By College Credit Program)
  • NABCEP Entry Level Program Provider

Case Study Interview

1. What inspired you to spearhead the effort to integrate solar content into your courses, curriculum, or programs?

Eastern State (formerly Brevard Community College) and the Florida Solar Energy Center already started this effort prior to my joining the Electronics (now Engineering Technology) program at BCC.   Also, recognition that the renewable energy field was reaching the stage where it is becoming economically viable in the marketplace.   This means there will be jobs available.  Also, knowledge of renewable energy systems is a good thing for every energy consumer; since it promotes independence and self-reliance.  As such I promote ETP1401 Alternative Energy Technologies as a way for students to reduce their electric bills without reducing their lifestyle.

2. What major obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?

Finding a good text for some of the courses.  I am still shopping around for a better text for:

    ETP1420 Solar Thermal technologies – current text is ok.

    ETP1400 Distributed Electrical Power generation and Storage – current text is poor.

    ETP1401 Alternative Energy Systems – current text is ok.

3. What were the keys to successfully achieving solar content integration (e.g., support of a person or persons; part of a planned curriculum improvement project; recommendations from industry or an advisory board; etc.)?

Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) – They are an excellent resource for the creation and coordination of curriculum development.  Adding an “Alternative Energy Systems” 2nd year option to the Engineering Technology program helped both integrate into our curriculum and gave/gives it a lot of good press.

4. How long did the process take from initial concept presentation or proposal to implementation?

About 3 semesters.

5. Was this primarily a one-person effort, or did you have one or more partners who shared a significant portion of the workload?

Partners.  Sheryl Awtonomow and the FLATE ET forum helped a lot.

6. What products or services from your Regional Training Provider (RTP) and the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) were most useful to you in achieving solar content integration at your institution?

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) was very helpful by proving training for our faculty and materials to teach with.

7. Are there other products or services that you would suggest for the RTPs and/or the SITN to offer that would be helpful in the process of implementing solar content integration?

8. Would you be willing to share course proposals, curriculum improvement proposals, and/or curriculum outlines for the courses, curriculum, and programs that you used as part of the solar content integration process?

Yes, the curriculum has been added to the Florida state educational frameworks.

9. If yes, would you agree to have these materials available on the IREC web site (with links from the RTP web sites)?

Yes, see question 8.

10. Would you be willing to be listed as a contact person on the IREC web site to share your solar content integration experience with other interested parties?


11. Would you be willing and able to specify all occupations for which the training that you offer applies (e.g., this program trains students for these occupations/jobs)?

As with most training the occupations go beyond what we recognize up front.

12. Was specific funding appropriated for solar content integration into related course, curriculum, and/or program development?

See question 13.

13. If special funding was available, would you be willing to share the amount of funding on the IREC web site?

We received an NSF grant to establish an Alternative Energy training program at the 2 year college level in Florida; which has been done.  The grant was $400K and shared between 3 schools: BCC (EFSC), The State College of Jacksonville, and Tallahassee Community College.  The grant period ended last year but we were given a 1 year extension.

Course Listings

Credits Needed:15

SPC 2608 Fundamentals of Speech Communication | 3
MAC 1105 College Algebra | 3
ENC 1101 Communications 1 | 3
Social/Behavioral Science Requirement | 3
Humanities Requirement | 3

CORE COURSES (required for all students and appropriate for any semester of the program).
Credits needed: 20

EET 1084 Introduction to Electronics | 3
ETDC 2320 AutoCAD Fundamentals | 4
ETI 1701 Industrial Safety | 3
ETI 2110 Introduction to Quality Assurance | 3
ETIC 1830 Materials and Processes | 3
ETIC 2851 Applied Mechanics | 4

Credits Needed: 25

EETC 1025 Circuit Fundamentals | 4
ETP 1400 Distributed Electric Power Generation and Storage | 3
ETP 1401 Alternative/Renewable Energy Technologies | 3
ETP 1420 Solar Thermal Technologies | 3
ETPC 2410 Photovoltaic Technology | 3
Technical Electives | 9

Courses in the options above may be used as technical electives as long as they are not being used to fulfill an option requirement. The following electives are grouped by focus area. However, students may take any technical elective they choose.


CETC 1123 Microprocessor Fundamentals | 4
EETC 2245 Instrumentation Systems | 3
EETC 2325 Electronic Communication Systems | 4
EETC 2724 Schematic Capture and Modeling | 3
ETIC 2464 Advanced Composites  | 3

ETP 1550 Alternative Fuels and Electric Vehicle Technologies | 3
ETS 1810 Energy Efficient Buildings | 3

ETD 1931 Special Topics | 3
ETD 2941 Internship | 3

Total Credit Hours | 60  


60 credit hours


Prepare students to meet the industry-specific skills needed for technicians in the new and emerging alternative and renewable energy fields, including occupational titles such as Electrical Technician, Industrial Engineering Technician, Solar Photovoltaic Installer and Solar Power Plant Technician, Solar Thermal Installer and Technician, Energy Auditor and Smart Grid Technician. This program also provides supplemental training for persons previously or currently employed in occupations related to energy production, distribution and storage.


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