School and Ranking Information
Students interested in becoming auto mechanics can choose from four options, three of which are public schools within a 25-mile radius of Orlando, FL. Based on graduation rates and program variety, the best automotive technology schools are:
- Winner: Technical Education Center - Osceola offers certificate programs and has the highest graduation rate.
- Runner-Up #1: Mid Florida Tech also offers certificate programs and its automotive programs are approved by National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and certified by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
- Runner-Up #2: Seminole State College of Florida offers certificates and an associate degree program. According to the school, graduates of the associate's degree program have a 100% job placement rate.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Technical Education Center - Osceola||Mid Florida Tech||Seminole State College of Florida|
|Location||Kissimmee, FL (18.1 miles from downtown Orlando, FL)||Orlando, FL||Sanford, FL (16.6 miles from Orlando, FL)|
|School Type||2-year, public||2-year, public||4-year, primarily associate degrees, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$4,800 (undergraduate)*||$5,619 (undergraduate)*||$3,131 (in-state, undergraduate)
$11,456 (out-of-state, undergraduate)*
|Automotive Technology Award Levels Offered||Less than 1-Year and 1-2 Year certificates||2-4 Year certificates||Undergraduate certificate and associate degree|
|Automotive Technology Certificate or Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||16*||16*||32*|
|Most Popular Automotive Technology Program in 2011-2012||1-2 Year Certificate (15 awarded)*||2-4 Year Certificates (16 awarded)*||Associate degree (21 awarded)*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time)||83% for 2009 Entering Class||35% for 2009 Entering Class||32% (13% transfer-out rate) for 2006 Entering Class|
|Noteworthy||Students may earn a high school diploma and earn credentials in a technical program at TECO through Professional and Technical High School (PATHS)**||N/A||Graduation rates for Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and certificate students higher than statewide averages for ten consecutive years***|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Technical Education Center - Osceola, ***Seminole State College of Florida.
Winner: Technical Education Center - Osceola
- Applied Academics Lab available to provide students with academic support.
- Internships available through some programs.
Technical Education Center - Osceola (TECO), the only adult education center in Osceola County, is a public school with fewer than 1,000 students. TECO's automotive technology program, which offers OCP (occupational completion points), is both ASE- and NATEF-approved. Students gain knowledge in various areas of automotive technology, such as engine repair, engine performance, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, heating and air conditioning, electrical systems, front end, and brakes. To successfully complete this program and earn a certificate, students complete 1,800 hours of training. The training helps students prepare for ASE certification exams. TECO has an articulation agreement with Valencia Community College.
Runner-Up #1: Mid Florida Tech
- Student-faculty ratio is 15:1.
- Automotive programs are approved by NATEF and certified by ASE.
- Mid Florida Tech also offers corporate and community training such as OSHA training, workplace education and continuing education.
Located in Orlando, Mid Florida Tech is a small, public school that offers various types of career training. Mid Florida Tech offers a curriculum that provides students with hands-on training, while also helping the student gain both critical thinking and technological skills. The Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Division at Mid Florida Tech offers an 1,800-hour automotive technology program. To successfully complete this certificate program, the student will demonstrate proficiency in several areas of automotive service and repair.
Mid Florida Tech also offers a 2,400-hour advanced automotive technology Toyota T-Ten program. This program prepares students to work in Toyota or Lexus dealerships. The classes are held in the classroom or lab four days a week, while one day a week the classes are online. Florida requires that students in this program meet certain requirements, such as proof of valid driver's license, drug screening and criminal background check clearance; applicants must also be high school graduates at least 18 years of age. Students must pass at least two ASE certification exams.
Runner-Up #2: Seminole State College of Florida
- According to the school, graduates of automotive technology associate degree program have 100% employment placement.
- State-of-the-art training center for automotive students.
- Automotive technology associate degree program voted #1 in the country, according to the school.
Seminole State College is a 2-year public school that operates four campuses throughout the Orlando area. In 2010, Community College Week Magazine ranked Seminole State College no. 55 of the Top Associate Degree Producers. The Transportation and Energy Department offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Automotive Technology and an automotive technology certificate program. The 1-year certificate program combines classroom and hands-on lab coursework. Students use computerized work stations and simulators to study engine operations, transmission fundamentals, brake servicing and air conditioning maintenance. The program emphasizes working on late-model cars.
Students in the AAS program may focus their studies on Ford, General Motors or import vehicles, but to do so must have a dealership sponsor; the department is also able to connect students with a sponsor. This 74-credit hour program consists of general education and automotive technology-specific courses. It includes online assignments, which students must access through a computer. Automotive technology courses cover parts and servicing, heating and air conditioning systems, engine diagnostics, brake operations, automotive electrical programs and manual transmissions. The curriculum includes instruction in maintaining alternative energy systems, such as those found in hybrid or hydrogen fuel vehicles. Students also complete a minimum of ten credits of part-time work with a local dealership or auto repair shop.