Auto Mechanic Vocational and Trade Schools in the U.S.

Auto mechanics provide vehicle maintenance and repair services to car owners. Training and certification programs take 1-2 years to complete and are offered at vocational and trade schools throughout the U.S.

How to Select an Auto Mechanic Vocational or Trade School

Hands-on training is the most important part of an auto mechanic school program. Individuals selecting an auto mechanic vocational or trade school should look for a school that has an on-site garage or a good relationship with local dealerships. Taking applied classes or interning with local mechanic shops give students the skills needed to service vehicles.

The most common auto mechanic programs award a certificate and can be completed within one year. However, there are a growing number of 2-year programs that offer an associate's degree in auto technology. Coursework in a 2-year auto mechanic program differs from the certificate curriculum by including general education classes. Students enrolled in an associate's degree program take classes in math, computer applications and speech, in addition to their technical course requirements. Core classes in an auto mechanic program include engine repair, automatic transmissions, brake systems and steering and suspension.

Graduates of an associate's degree or certificate program are qualified to work in dealership service centers, auto repair stores or as individual contractors. Although certificate and 2-year degrees provide the same career options, individuals who complete an associate's degree program have an edge when it comes to career advancement. Individuals with degrees may be promoted faster to a senior technician or management position. Additionally, holding a degree counts toward earning the ASE certification, an industry credential for auto mechanics.

Some auto mechanic vocational or trade schools offer students the option to participate in manufacturer-specific training, which is sponsored by local dealerships. Manufacturer-specific training may make it easier for graduates to get jobs at local dealerships but can also limit students hoping to work at general auto repair shops.

Schools with the Largest Overall Student Enrollment

College/University Student Population Institution Type
Houston Community College System 48,169 2-year, Public
Northern Virginia Community College 42,663 2-year, Public
Lone Star College System 41,345 2-year, Public
College of Southern Nevada 40,310 4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Tarrant County College District 39,596 2-year, Public
Riverside Community College 36,146 2-year, Public
Austin Community College District 35,798 2-year, Public
City College of San Francisco 34,868 2-year, Public
American River College 34,610 2-year, Public
Pima Community College 34,136 2-year, Public
East Los Angeles College 34,065 2-year, Public
Santa Ana College 33,916 2-year, Public
Broward College 33,448 2-year, Public
Salt Lake Community College 29,396 2-year, Public
El Camino Community College District 27,098 2-year, Public
Long Beach City College 26,927 2-year, Public
Tidewater Community College 26,898 2-year, Public
Palomar College 26,805 2-year, Public
Pasadena City College 26,713 2-year, Public

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