Transmission Repair and Rebuilding
|Program Levels||Associate's and bachelor's degrees|
|Field(s) of Study||Automotive technology|
|Prerequisites||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Program Length||2 years for associate degree, 4 years for bachelor's degrees (or 2 years with an associate degree)|
|Possible Specializations||Field service, automotive systems, or repair|
|Online Availability||Hybrid online and classroom options|
|Licensure/Certification||Licensure may be required in some states; voluntary ASE certification available|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||5% growth (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
|Median Annual Salary (2016)**||$18.00 per hour|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Some programs include transmission repair and rebuilding training in conjunction with automobile manufacturer's mechanic or management programs, providing practical learning experiences. These programs are available at the associate and bachelor's degree levels. Graduates may qualify to test for national certification after completing work experience requirements.
Often these degree programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED. At the bachelor's degree level especially, students also may get training in business and management skills. Career options extend beyond automobile repair to industrial vehicles or other fields within the automotive industry.
Associate degree programs in automotive technology offer courses in transmission repair and rebuilding, and some might include additional electives for students wishing to specialize in this particular aspect of vehicle repair. These programs typically take two years to complete. Some schools limit instruction to passenger vehicles, while others provide a broad education on cars, trucks, and industrial equipment. Several colleges partner with automobile manufacturers to split training between general automotive education at the campus and mechanic instruction at a dealership.
Course topics study the components of electrical, fuel, braking, and power train systems, as well as manual and automatic transmissions. Most curricula offer a broad overview of vehicular components, teaching students how things work and how to fix them. Some also include instruction on body repair and might offer general education courses online. Course topics typically include:
- Engine rebuilding and performance
- Diagnostics and repair
- Transmission for fuel-injected and hybrid cars
- Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation
- Shop and environmental safety
- Welding and body work
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Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology
A four-year bachelor's degree program offers more extensive knowledge of engineering principles and hands-on practice with cutting-edge equipment. Bachelor's degree programs might allow students to participate in an auto manufacturer's management training, such as Honda's Management Action Program. Some schools offer degree-completion options to applicants that have earned associate degrees in the field, conferring a bachelor's degree with only two additional years of study. Students might find schools that offer coursework online, though most require some on-campus attendance.
Many schools include internships within a bachelor's degree program to offer interaction with real-world situations and equipment. Advanced coursework divides focus between automotive service instruction and business management. In addition, students might study the following topics:
- Diagnostics of contemporary transmissions
- Hybrid and alternative fuel systems
- Automotive trends and technologies
- Hazardous materials handling
- Automotive marketing methods
- Business communications
Employment and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automobile service technicians and mechanics were expected to experience about average employment growth between 2014 and 2024, though graduates of training programs and certified ASE technicians may have better job prospects. The BLS predicted a 5% increase in demand for automotive service technicians and mechanics, stating that positive influences on job opportunities resulted from an increased number of vehicles that will need repairs and longer life spans for late-model vehicles. PayScale.com reported in January 2016 that transmission mechanics earned a median wage of $18 an hour.
Graduates with two years' experience can earn certification through the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE). Some states might also require mechanics to become licensed in order to perform diagnostics and repair services. For graduates seeking more in-depth education or career advancement, some associate degree programs offer transfer options to a bachelor's degree program in automotive technology.
Automotive professionals must continually update their knowledge as car manufacturers make improvements and upgrade technology in vehicles. Many schools and automotive organizations offer continuing education courses and certificate programs for mechanics to update their skills. Graduates interested in researching improvements to transmission systems and automotive components could also continue their education to earn a master's degree in automotive engineering.
An associate degree program prepares students for entry-level work as an assistant mechanic or automotive technician. Career options include:
- Auto repair shop owner
- Rental fleet mechanic
- Dealership technician
- Repair estimator
Transmission repair and rebuilding programs are often included as part of a larger automotive technology program. These programs are available at both the associate's and bachelor's degree levels.