Future BMW mechanics typically complete associate degree programs. These are available as general automotive repair degrees that include BMW-specific electives or as specialized degree plans offered in conjunction with BMW.
Upon graduation, high-achieving students who desire advanced training can apply to BMW's Service Technician Education Program (STEP). This selective, tuition-free program teaches students the basics of diagnosing, maintaining and repairing BMW automotive systems.
Associate's BMW Program
This 2-year BMW mechanic program typically confers an Associate of Applied Science. These programs combine a liberal arts core with specialized training in BMW vehicles. Students learn to use BMW tools and diagnostic equipment and study documentation practices important to BMW vehicle warranties. BMW training classes include:
- Vehicle suspension systems
- Ignition and fuel systems
- Fiber optic systems
- Certified pre-owned inspection
- Specific model maintenance (MINI)
Service Technician Education Program (STEP)
BMW's 6-month scholarship program is a highly selective program open to individuals who have graduated from a college-level vehicle tech program. In order to qualify for this tuition-free program, individuals must meet minimum GPA and attendance requirements, have instructor recommendations, possess a valid driver's license with a clean driving record, pass a written test and complete a formal interview. They must also be re-locatable and be able to cover their own living expenses while in training. This program is available through cooperating community colleges or directly with BMW. Some course topics might include:
- Warranty documentation
- Fiber-optic systems
- BMW group system and DMS tools
- Advanced electronic systems
- Wheel alignment proficiency
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Automotive service technicians make a median annual wage of $37,850, according to the BLS as of 2015. The employment for this career from 2014-2024 is expected to grow 5%, according to the BLS.
In addition to BMW training, service technicians can obtain voluntary certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (www.ase.com). ASE grants certification in a variety of specialized service areas, such as engine repair and brake maintenance. Although ASE certification is not mandatory, job prospects are often better for ASE-certified technicians, especially in urban areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
BMW vehicle organizations may sponsor 1-2 day seminars on various topics of interest to BMW technicians and vehicle enthusiasts. Automotive shows, conferences and conventions, which may run for 1-2 weeks, are another way to learn about trends in BMW research and development. BMW mechanics can search the Web for relevant discussion forums where they may be able to get tips from other industry professionals. Some sites also post videos of parts repairs for specific BMW models. BMW repair handbooks may also prove helpful. Furthermore, to learn more about the history as well as the future of BMW, technicians may decide to visit the U.S. BMW manufacturing plant and Zentrum display building located in South Carolina.
Aspiring BMW automobile technicians most commonly take BMW-related courses offered through automotive technology associate's degree programs. After completion, there is the option to apply to BMW's Service Technician Education Program or pursue continuing education through a variety of industry seminars, conventions and publications.