As they prepare for entry-level work, enrollees learn automotive technology in the classroom and through hands-on experiences. Candidates may need to have their own work tools and pass an entrance test to be considered for admission. Students interested in a broader degree program that covers general automotive repair may pursue an associate's degree in automotive service technology.
As a result of studying engine repair and brake systems, participants might eventually qualify to become automotive service technicians. Graduates who have successfully completed either of these programs and accumulated at least two years of experience might qualify for a professional certification.
Technical Certificates in Automotive Brake or Chassis Systems
For basic training in common brake repair issues and the technical skills needed for work in a brake specialization repair shop, a student might pursue a technical certificate in automotive brake or chassis repair. Studies focus on brake systems, drive trains, suspensions, and shop safety. In general, applicants must pass a qualifying exam demonstrating their abilities in math and English, as well as meet with a college adviser prior to matriculation.
Courses emphasize hands-on, practical skills in brake repair and automotive systems. Students often practice skills learned in the classroom in a shop under the supervision of an instructor. Common courses include:
- Automotive technology
- Fuel lines and systems
- Automotive electrical systems
- Brake system and chassis repair
- Alignment and suspension repair
Associate's Degrees in Automotive Service Technology
Students that desire to work as a general automotive service technician may pursue an associate's degree in automotive service technology. Typically completed in 2-3 years, this degree program provides a thorough overview of automotive structures and their repairs from engines to brake systems. Students explore automotive construction, common maintenance, and multiple vehicle service including diesel, domestic, hybrid, and imported cars. Most schools desire that applicants earn a high school diploma or pass the General Educational Development (GED) examination prior to enrollment.
Following completion of general education requirements, coursework focuses on the technical skills needed for automotive repair, as well as hands-on experience in shop safety and repair techniques. Several schools offer certificates of completion in a sub-specialization of auto repair within this degree program. Automotive repair coursework may include:
- Welding techniques
- Brake system design
- Automotive computer systems
- Small business management
- Automatic transmission systems
- Suspension and steering
Popular Career Options
Students that complete this technical certificate program are qualified for entry-level work in an automotive repair shop or may choose to further their education in automotive service. Common career options include:
- Auto brake parts sales clerk
- Brake parts manufacturing representative
- Automotive brake technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the BLS, employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics was expected to increase by 5% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Many of these jobs were predicted to be in independent repair shops or automotive dealerships, according to the BLS. Repair technicians who had advanced automotive training were predicted to be in higher demand. The BLS also reported that automotive service technicians and mechanics, in May 2015, earned an annual median wage of $37,850.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is becoming standard for most automotive mechanics (www.bls.gov). Those wishing to specialize in brake systems may complete the ASE brake systems certification. To become certified mechanics must hold two years of experience and/or postsecondary education, as well as pass one of eight ASE exams. Those that pass all eight exams are certified as a Master Automotive Technician.
Certificate or associate's degree training teaches auto repair technicians who want to specialize in brake or chassis systems the skills they need to enter the automotive industry. Graduates can pursue ASE brake system certification to prove their competency to prospective employers.