While in an automotive technology certificate program, students utilize a variety of professional tools, including lathes, grinding machines, welding equipment, and engine analyzers through hands-on training in automotive shops. Students learn to quickly diagnose problems and accurately recommend repair. Since automotive professionals may be required to drive other people's vehicles, some schools prefer applicants with valid driver's licenses and clean driving records.
A high school diploma or equivalent, as well as good math and computer skills, are required for entry into the program. The program length varies from several months to one year. There may be some online courses, but much of the training is hands-on.
Certificate Program in Automotive Technology
Students are instructed in the principles of fundamental engine repair, suspensions, brakes, heating, air conditioning, and engine performance. Course topics may include:
- Electrical systems
- Performance and diagnosis
- Engine theory
- Emissions systems
Popular Career Options
Students who complete this program may attain entry-level employment in a variety of occupations, including:
- Service technician
- Small engine mechanic
- Diesel mechanic
- Repair service writer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2018, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an annual mean salary of $40,710, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2018-2028, -1% job growth was predicted by the BLS for this occupation.
Although certification is not required, it may be beneficial. The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) credential is considered the standard for service technicians nationwide. The ASE offers certification in eight service categories, including engine repair, suspension and steering, heating and air conditioning and brake systems.
Interested professionals who want more preparation for the ASE exam beyond the training they received in the certificate program may enroll in various workshops and courses. A range of organizations, from car manufacturers to colleges, typically offers these courses (www.ase.com).
Students who earn an automotive technology certificate may be prepared for entry-level positions as automotive technicians and mechanics. Graduates can pursue voluntary ASE certification in a few different specialties, which can enhance career opportunities.