ThinkBig - Cat Technician College Program

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Think Big Program

CAT Dealer Academy

Career opportunities in construction equipment, truck engine, material handling and commercial engine fields are rewarding, challenging, and the people that can do the work are in demand. Carolina CAT, in conjunction with the Caterpillar dealers of North and South Carolina and Florence-Darlington Technical College, has developed the Caterpillar Dealer Academy (CDA) to train individuals in the specific needs of Carolina CAT and Caterpillar. The Caterpillar Dealer Academy is a cooperative two-year college level student technician education program, which leads to an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science.

As a Cat® Dealer Service Technician, you'll work on some of the biggest, hardest-working machines in the world. As a graduate of the Caterpillar Dealer Academy, you'll be a highly skilled, technically trained, in-demand member of the worldwide Cat dealer family. Our two-year, college program teaches you how to service Cat equipment using cutting-edge diagnostic and maintenance systems, advanced technologies, and high-tech tools. The program combines classroom and hands-on learning. No more sitting in class wondering if you're going to use what's being taught, you'll get to use what you've learned and you'll know why it's important.


The purpose of the program is to upgrade the technical competency and professional level of incoming Cat Dealership service technicians. It trains the students to analytically diagnose, service and maintain Cat products using recommended procedures, special tools, and service information. It provides course content that will enable successful graduates to advance in position after additional experience, and to understand new systems and components as they are introduced.

Carolina CAT takes the hiring process seriously. Not only do we make sure you are right for this program, you need to make sure this program is right for you. So, ask as many questions as you like and we'll get the answers for you. If you have the right attitude, work ethic, and skills, it's time you think big about your future.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where will the training be held?

Your training consists of two parts:

  1. Classroom training at Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC). FDTC is located in Florence, SC with an annual enrollment of several thousand students. Approximately 40 weeks out of the two years will be spent in Florence, split between five eight-week semesters.
  2. Paid internships at Carolina CAT help you put your education to work. This is one of the most important elements of the program. The current Carolina CAT branches that sponsor students are Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Monroe and Hickory.

Where will I live while I complete the program?

While attending FDTC, we have made arrangements with a local apartment complex to offer low-cost, convenient housing for students in the Caterpillar Dealer Academy. In this dorm-like atmosphere, four students share a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. Rent covers all utilities including local phone, cable, and electricity. The apartment is completely furnished - you don't have to worry about hauling furniture back and forth to and from your home town when you go on your internship. In addition, there are no connection fees to pay, no leases to sign, and you pay ONLY for the time you live in Florence.

While performing your internship responsibilities, your local sponsoring branch will try to get you as close as possible to your home town.

What is included in the curriculum?

Your core Caterpillar classes include diesel engines, hydraulic systems, fuel systems, electrical systems, undercarriage/final drives, diagnostic testing, fundamentals of transmissions and torque converters, welding, and diesel air conditioning. The CDA has two dedicated, full-time training instructors that teach most classes in a "lab" atmosphere.

TechniciansClassroom and lab training are held in FDTC's state-of-the-art classrooms and computer labs. New Cat machines are loaned to the school every semester including wheel loaders, track-type tractors, backhoes, challenger agricultural tractors, and excavators. The school has all up-to-date training aids, tools, and simulators and all the latest Cat diagnostic and operational computer software.
Our commitment to your development does not stop when you graduate. We are constantly updating our classes and offering our experienced technicians new training to make sure they remain some of the most knowledgeable technicians in the industry.

Because you will be earning an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with a major in Cat Service Technology, there are some general education requirements such as English Composition, Math, Sociology, Technical Communication, Public Speaking, and a Fine Arts Class. What is great about these classes is that most are taught as part of an integrated curriculum. This means classroom instruction is related to real on-the-job topics, issues and discussion.

What will I do during my internship?

During your internship you will work directly with machines and engines, assist trained technicians, and learn how it feels to be a valuable member of the Carolina CAT family. You will work with mentors in all areas of the dealer service department including the main shop, specialization shop, field service, welding shop, and more. Students work while classes are not in session at FDTC. This includes opportunities for extra hours and income during semester and holiday breaks when available.

What tooling do I need to acquire?

We want to make sure you have the personal tooling necessary to start a career as a Cat Dealer Service Technician. A starter set of tooling is provided at the beginning of the program to each student. The tools are available for minimal purchase, provided you complete the CDA and are still employed with Carolina CAT after a period of three (3) years.

What are the requirements for admission into the program?

The requirements for admission are as follows:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.5
  • Possess a basic mechanical aptitude
  • Have earned or will earn a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be 18 years of age or older by the time of your first internship
  • Be able to meet FDTC admission requirements, which include placement testing and an application and interview process with the school and Carolina CAT
  • Pass a background check
  • Pass a drug screening and physical

You must be accepted by both Carolina CAT and FDTC to be a member of the Caterpillar Dealer Academy.

What should I know about Carolina CAT?

It's important to know about the company you work for and the industry you work in. As the Cat heavy equipment and engine dealer for Western North Carolina, Carolina CAT has enjoyed a reputation for quality service and high integrity. We believe in Customer Satisfaction, doing the right thing, and working as a team. We work hard, but have fun doing it.

The heavy equipment and engine industry is growing fast, is highly technical, and offers many different opportunities from sales to service to support areas. Markets served by the equipment Carolina CAT sells and services include construction, earthmoving, forestry, mining, paving, and industrial applications as well.

What is the cost of the program?

Carolina CAT will pay for the following costs associated with the program:

  • Hourly wage for all hours worked in the sponsoring branch - There are opportunities to make enough money during internships to pay for many of the costs associated with the program, including living expenses in Florence
  • Training aids and equipment for classroom and internship instruction
  • Uniforms and safety glasses
  • Annual replacement of Safety Shoes
  • All uniform cleaning in Florence and at the dealership
  • After applying for Financial Aid through FDTC, Carolina CAT will provide Tuition Assistance, (equal to ½ of your tuition expense) - Payment is made directly to the school on your behalf (Must maintain a 2.5 GPA)
  • Full-time hired employees are reimbursed the balance of the tuition over a three (3) year period of time after their start date
  • The student will pay for the following costs associated with the program:
    • ½ of the tuition expense. All students pay the in-county tuition rate (15% off). (see above on reimbursement opportunity for the student paid portion)
  • General Education textbooks - All Caterpillar class textbooks and materials are provided by the school and Carolina CAT
  • Housing (if necessary) - $550.00 per semester, Four students per two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, includes bedroom and living room furniture, TV, and kitchen supplies. You pay only for the time you are in Florence. The $550.00 per semester cost includes all utilities such as local telephone, cable, and electric. You will not pay any connection fees

What is the student selection process?

Students who wish to become members of the Caterpillar Dealer Academy should make application early in the spring semester (January - March) if possible. This will allow time for processing financial aid packages, identification of preparatory class needs, sponsorship acquisition, etc. The application process includes the following: (visit FDTC website for forms and details)

  1. Complete Florence-Darlington Technical College Application for Admission.
  2. Complete the student assessment process. (Includes placement testing (SAT), mechanical aptitude and writing tests.)
  3. Submit a current official driving record.
  4. Complete preparatory class needs prior to the start of the program.
  5. Sign and return the Caterpillar Dealer Service Technician Program Release of Information Form.
  6. Students who successfully complete the Admission process are eligible to interview with Carolina CAT Equipment Company. The interview will take place at the branch and participant's goals should be discussed. All students must have a dealer sponsor before enrollment can be completed.
  7. After acceptance by Florence-Darlington Technical College and Carolina CAT the student will be formally admitted into the Caterpillar Dealer Academy.

Who do I contact for more information?

For more information about the program:
Visit the Florence-Darlington Technical College website at

For general questions:
Contact the Carolina CAT Recruiter at (704)-731-7263.

Apply now


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Phone: (704) 598-2200  |  Fax: (704) 597-7875

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