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Auto Mechanic College and School Program Summaries

Read about college programs designed for the aspiring auto mechanic. Learn about levels of study, what is taught in each program and what continuing education options can be considered by graduates. Also get details concerning job growth and average earnings for auto mechanics.

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Auto mechanics could receive on-the-job training at auto repair shops or through programs offered by specific manufacturers. However, they can also pursue their initial training through a certificate, diploma or associate's degree program at a technical or community college.

10 Schools with Auto Mechanic Programs

These schools offer auto mechanic programs at varying levels and include hands-on experience.

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,046 in-state, $7,830 out-of-state
Austin Community College Austin, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,550 in-district, $9,210 in-state, $11,340 out-of-state
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,753 in-state, $8,875 out-of-state
Linn-Benton Community College Albany, OR 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $4,265 in-state, $9,313 out-of-state
Northampton Community College 2-year, Public Diploma, Associate's $3,990 in-district, $8,700 in-state, $12,840 out-of-state
Metropolitan Community College Omaha, NE 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,745 in-state, $4,005 out-of-state
College of Alameda Alameda, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,156 in-state, $6,316 out-of-state
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate's $2,664 in-state, $8,808 out-of-state
San Bernardino Valley College San Bernardino, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,238
Delaware Technical Community College Georgetown, DE 2-year, Public Diploma, Associate's $3,632 in-state, $8,522 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Students may consider the following when choosing a school:

  • Students interested in focusing on a certain vehicle system might want to look for programs with specializations in areas such as brake systems, transmissions.
  • Students should look for programs that emphasize hands-on training.
  • Students who want to work with a specific type of car can also find programs sponsored by manufacturers, such as BMW.
  • Programs should prepare students to pass the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification tests.

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Automotive Electrical Technician Certificate

A 1-year certificate program for automotive electrical technicians is designed for students who seeking entry-level jobs. The program focuses on automotive electrical systems, automotive engines, fuel systems and system electronics. Most schools require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students with some auto repair experience may receive extra consideration.

Continuing Education

Completion of a certificate program prepares students for entry into associate's degree programs. Auto mechanic students can also opt for specialized certificates for specific manufacturers, such as Ford, GM and Chrysler. Graduates may also want to seek certification in specific areas, such as brake systems and engines. Certification is available from many agencies, including the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology

A step up from a certificate program, the associate's degree gives the student more in-depth training and can lead to more job opportunities. The focus of this program is on automotive systems in general, with students learning about automotive engines, brake systems, suspension, steering, power trains and alignment. Coursework in an automotive associate's degree program is designed to give the graduate a clear understanding of the automotive industry and the duties of an automotive technician.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The employment outlook for auto mechanics is average, with a growth of 5% projected for the period from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Independent auto repair shops and car dealerships employ the most auto mechanics. The BLS reported that automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a mean hourly wage of $19.58 in 2015. However, auto mechanics employed in the natural gas distribution industry earned mean wages of $33.15 an hour, per BLS figures.

Auto mechanic programs are available at the certificate, diploma and associate's degree levels. Prospective students should consider the specializations a school offers as well as whether it prepares students for the ASE certification tests.

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