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Engine Building School and Training Program Information

While many engine building jobs relate to the automotive industry, graduates of engine design programs may also be qualified to work in aviation or heavy industry, depending on their program of study. Those interested in engine building have the option of diploma programs at or undergraduate programs in mechanical or automotive engineering.

Students looking for hands-on work in building engines can enroll in accredited trade or technical school programs that will train them to be technicians or mechanics. Programs specifically designed for engine building are not readily available, but programs in engine machining and automotive technology provide relevant education, as do some engineering programs.

10 Schools with Automotive Technology Programs

Automotive technology programs are available at trade schools and 4-year institutions throughout the U.S. Ten schools that students may want to consider are:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered In-state Tuition (2015-2016)*
Clemson University Clemson, SC 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $9,220 (graduate)
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $13,856 (undergraduate); $20,966 (graduate)
Kettering University Flint, MI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $13,248 (graduate)
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 2-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate certificate $2,753
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Undergraduate certificate $10,970
Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,580
Austin Community College Austin, TX 2-year, Public 1-2 year certificate, Associate's $9,210
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-year, Public 0-1 year certificate, Associate's $2,046
Rockland Community College Suffern, NY 2-year, Public Associate's $4,654
Lansing Community College Lansing, MI 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $5,660

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Important considerations for prospective engine building students include:

  • Programs should have been certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) to ensure the quality and uniformity of the coursework.
  • Coursework in technical and trade schools will revolve around the different components of an engine, such as the block and the pistons, while engineering curriculums deal more with the functionality and efficiency of the engine as a whole.
  • Students who are interested in engineering may want to give preference to engineering programs that have been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
  • Some schools may offer internships or other opportunities to gain hands-on experience.

Engine Machinist and Automotive Technician Diploma or Certificate

Most diploma programs can be earned in less than a year. Automotive technician programs cover other automotive systems, such as braking or transmission systems, in addition to engines. Many programs require basic writing and math courses for completion.

Engine Machinist and Automotive Technician Associate Degree

These 2-year programs combine courses and labs with extensive time spent gaining hands-on experience in a shop setting. Students will take sequences in engine systems and different types of machining. Many associate's degree programs prepare students to take the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exam.

Automotive Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology Bachelor's Degree

These programs combine automotive technology or mechanical engineering with courses in product design and materials science. The engineering track courses are in addition to advanced math requirements, often a calculus sequence, and science requirements that include chemistry and physics. Many programs culminate with the completion of a senior design project.

There are many options for students interested in learning how to build engines, ranging from shorter-term certificate programs to doctoral degree programs. Diploma and certificate courses will adequately prepare students to work as automotive technicians.

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