Extensive hands-on experience requirements mean a degree or certificate in automotive technology cannot be earned entirely online. Several schools offer hybrid programs that allow students to complete some courses through distance learning and complete others on campus. Bachelor's degree programs offer general training in automotive technology and prepare students for professional certification. After earning a degree in automotive technology, individuals interested in NASCAR technology can go on to earn a certificate in high performance motorsports.
It takes three or four years to earn a bachelor's degree in automotive technology. Students should look for a program that leads to National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. A bachelor's degree program covers all aspects of automotive mechanics and repair. Students also learn managerial skills, such as business finance and decision-making techniques.
A certificate program in high-performance motorsports vehicles usually requires less than a year to complete and builds on a student's previous automotive knowledge. These programs focus on hands-on experience, so online courses usually are not offered. Students gain experience in all aspects of working on racecars, including mechanical and body work. There are other certificate programs offered from for-profit institutions that prepare students to become automotive technicians in as little as six months.
Automotive Technology Bachelor's Degree Programs
Online automotive technology degree programs prepare students to work in a number of jobs in the automotive industry. Most bachelor's degree programs that offer online options do so in the form of hybrid programs. Lab experience, where students complete hands-on automotive work, is typically a necessary component of automotive technology programs, but certain theoretical courses can be delivered online.
Program Information and Requirements
Students enrolled in automotive technology bachelor's degree programs receive training in business management, automotive repair, engine operation, and automotive customer service. These programs cover automotive research methods and data analysis that will help students to diagnose and solve mechanical problems in various vehicles. Laboratory work covers repair techniques and procedures, mechanical and electrical systems and vehicle analysis. Online courses deal more with the managerial side of the industry, dealing with personnel management, financial procedures and safety regulations.
Students will complete coursework that covers theories and techniques in automotive repair and configuration. Typically, students choose whether they want to pursue a path as a repair technician or mechanic or work on the managerial side of the automotive industry, and select their classes accordingly.
This course studies operational procedures and customer relations within the automotive industry. Students will examine topics dealing with legal issues, warranties, customer service and human resources.
This course studies principles of internal combustion engines, including topics in two- and four-stroke cycles, valve systems, cooling and lubricating. Students will learn techniques in precision measurement and in engine disassembly and assembly.
This course covers theories in removing, repairing, replacing and adjusting body panels of an automobile after they are damaged by impact. Students will also get an introduction to cutting and welding steel.
High Performance Motorsports Certificate Programs
Students interested in pursuing a career as a NASCAR technician, or in other high performance motorsports, may want to consider a certificate program in the field. High performance motorsports certificate programs typically take around a year to complete. They are usually highly focused on high-performance vehicles, so students without prior automotive repair experience may wish to enroll in a general automotive technology degree program before pursuing a high-performance motorsports certificate. Such programs typically require hands-on work, which is why online courses typically aren't available.
Program Information and Requirements
Students will learn the science of high performance automobiles, and receive the proper training needed to work as an automotive technician on racecars and similar vehicles. Due to the necessity of learning how to properly weld, build and fabricate engines, and how to work on components including electronics, steering and suspension, most courses require some sort of hands-on lab work.
Students learn how to build and test high performance engines, as well as how to build a racecar chassis. Courses provide students with techniques needed to diagnose and tune automobiles to improve the vehicles' performance.
Race Engine Assembly
Students learn how to properly build and assemble an engine, and maximize its power and durability. This course provides hands-on experience in the disassembly and reassembly of engines.
Race Engine Dynamometer
This course provides students with hands-on experience in dynamometer setup and operation. Students also learn the proper maintenance needed to keep the dynamometer running well.
Race Engine Design
Students will work in teams to design, assemble and test a V-8 engine. Students will test the engine on an engine dynamometer, and are graded on its torque and horsepower.
Many people who earn their degree in automotive technology go on to become automotive service technicians and mechanics. As of May 2018, the average annual wage for someone working in the field was $43,730, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that between 2018 and 2028, job opportunities in the field are expected to have little or no change. With an additional certificate in high performance motorsports, graduates of automotive technician programs can be prepared to work in race settings, including on NASCAR crews.
High performance motorsports certificate programs are meant to prepare students for work in the field as members of pit crews, with the ultimate job being a spot on a NASCAR crew. According to BLS, the automotive service technician and mechanic industry will have 648,050 jobs in 2018. Most of these automotive technicians, high performance or otherwise, earn a yearly salary of $23,420-$66,950
Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is typically necessary for someone who wants to work at any level as an automotive technician. Two years of work experience and training in the form of school programs or an apprenticeship are prerequisites for the certification test. The ASE certification test requires a person to pay the necessary fees, choose the discipline for which they want to earn certification then complete a multiple-choice test covering theoretical knowledge.
The automotive technology field is very hands-on in nature, meaning that online programs are hard to find in this discipline. However students are able to pursue some hybrid programs online at the bachelor's level or may choose to pursue a certificate in a specialized area.