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.
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.