Automotive repair certificate programs can be completed in one year or less and prepare students for entry-level positions at auto repair shops or dealerships. Programs may be general and cover many different systems and parts within a car, or they may be specific to a particular automotive system, such as engines or electrical systems. Applicants need only a high school diploma or GED to enroll.
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Certificate in Automotive Technology
Automotive repair is a hands-on profession that involves elements of diagnostics, electronics, heating and emissions. Certificate programs in automotive technology or related fields prepare graduates for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exams. These programs are often two semesters in length.
Generalist training programs prepare individuals for entry-level positions performing service operations and basic maintenance. Some certificate programs cover specific automotive systems. Coursework teaches students to understand and repair automotive problems in:
- Air conditioning
- Electrical systems
Graduates of certificate programs can find work at automotive repair shops and car dealerships. Possible entry-level titles include auto mechanic, car repair technician, parts specialist, service manager, diesel service technician, and small engine mechanic.
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an average annual salary of $40,720, as of May 2015. Workers in this field were projected by the BLS to have an average job growth rate of 5%, from 2014-2024.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
ASE offers more than 40 certifications in collision repair, automobile service and heavy-truck repair, among others. Along with passing at least one of the written ASE certification tests, candidates must have at least two years of relevant work experience. Substitution of up to one year of professional experience is allowed; two years of relevant, formal education counts as one professional year. Applicants who pass multiple tests may be eligible for master technician status. Re-certification is required every five years.
Individuals interested in continuing their studies may consider certificate programs in related fields, like motorcycle repair. Other options include enrollment in associate's or bachelor's degree programs in automotive technology management or automotive engineering technology. Earning a degree may help prepare graduates for management-level positions.
Within one year or less of training in an automotive service certificate program, students will gain access to a favorable job market expected to grow 5% over the next decade. To improve job and salary prospects, students can pursue more than 40 professional certifications offered through the ASE.