Besides classroom work, students in automotive technology associate's programs must complete a number of hours working on actual vehicles. Some programs include internships at local automobile dealerships or repair shops. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and some schools recommend that applicants also take classes in workshop technology, science, algebra and English.
Automotive Technology Associate's Degree
Associate's degree programs in automotive technology provide students with a technical understanding of various automotive systems. Students learn how to recognize the many components that go into making automobiles run and how to use this knowledge to diagnose and repair malfunctions. Automotive technology degree programs are often broad-based and include courses in a variety of automotive systems.
Specific coursework may include:
- Brake systems
- Manual transmission
- Automotive electrical systems and steering systems
- Fuel and emission control systems
- Engine repair
- Automotive air condition
Popular Career Options
An associate's degree in automotive technology can prepare graduates for several entry-level positions in the fields of automotive repair, maintenance, sales and manufacturing. Specific jobs may include:
- Mechanic and automotive technician
- Dealership service specialist
- Automotive manufacturing technician
- Automotive repair shop operator
- Automotive parts department manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics were projected to see a 5% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. The median annual wages for these workers were $37,850 in May 2015.
Certification may not be required for a career in this field, but many mechanics and technicians voluntarily earn certification to prove their competency in specific areas of repair. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers a number of certifications for professionals (www.ase.com). ASE certifications include collision repair, automobile service and underbody specialist. Certification candidates must pass an examination based on their specialty and have a specific amount of work experience.
Aspiring automotive service technicians and mechanics can pursue an associate's degree in automotive technology to learn about the various systems in automobiles and how to fix them. Certification is not required in order to work professionally, although many mechanics gain voluntary ASE certification to prove their skill level to prospective employers.