Individuals who live in Illinois and who are seeking employment in the automotive repair field have many different educational options. A number of 2-year colleges provide certificate or associate's degree programs, although some baccalaureate programs are available at the 4-year university level, as well. Various specializations may be offered. Students might have opportunities to gain hands-on experience by participating in automotive internships.
Students who complete these programs are generally qualified to take the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exams, which lead to certification in various areas of automotive repair. Ten of the largest schools in Illinois offering auto mechanic courses are profiled below, along with a comparison table describing each college's degree programs and tuition prices. Programs of study include:
- Automotive Service Technology
- Transmission Technician
- Automotive Air Conditioning and Heating Specialist
- General Motors Automotive Service Education Program
- Automotive Fundamentals
- Automotive Driveline Specialist or Brake and Chassis Specialist
- Engine Performance
- Auto Body Repair Business Operations
College of DuPage
The College of DuPage is a two-year, public college located in Glen Ellyn, attended by about 26,200 students. The 46-credit automotive technology certificate program teaches the basics of automotive repair and automotive technology, and those completing the program are prepared to enter or advance in the automotive service field. Coursework includes engine design and operation, drivetrain and axle systems, suspension and steering systems, air conditioning systems and automotive service. Within the 68-72 credit associate's program, students complete coursework in operations, systems and service topics, such as basic automotive electricity, engine controls and emissions, braking systems and automatic transmission, as well as general education courses.
College of Lake County
Serving the far northern suburbs of Chicago, the College of Lake County (CLC) has three campuses, including the main campus in Grayslake, and offers certificate and associate's programs in automotive technology. Two main associate's programs are available through the school: under hood technician and under the car technician. The 67-credit under hood degree program focuses on the engineering, transmission and electrical components of automotive repair. The 61-credit under the car degree program trains students in repairing brakes, suspension and drivetrain axles. CLC also offers a number of certificate programs ranging from 14-50 credit-hours in different automotive specializations, including automotive fuel systems, air conditioning and oil change.
Illinois Central College (ICC)
Illinois Central College's East Peoria campus is attended by over 12,200 students in the greater Peoria area. This school offers an associate's degree in automotive technology and a 24-credit certificate program in automotive fundamentals. The ASE-certified associate's program consists of 70 credit-hours and prepares students for ASE exams, which qualify individuals to be trained technicians in states all around the country. Additionally, students can complete a 72-credit general motor automotive service educational program. ICC has a partnership program with General Motors in which students can train exclusively in repairing GM vehicles and spend half their education in the classroom and the other half gaining hands-on experience in GM dealerships through internships.
Joliet Junior College
Located in the far southwestern suburbs of Chicago, Joliet Junior College operates three campuses in and around the Joliet area. The college offers an associate's degree in automotive service technology. Students in the 66-credit-hour program are required to take classes in electric fundamentals, manual transmissions and automotive engine rebuilding. In addition to the degree program, students can complete certificate programs in brake and chassis specialist, automotive driveline specialist and automotive service technology.
Moraine Valley Community College
Located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago in Palos Hills, Moraine Valley Community College currently has over 18,100 students attending classes and offers certificate and associate's programs for automotive mechanics. The 61-credit automotive technology associate's program includes coursework in electrical and electronic systems, automotive brake systems and automotive engine reconditioning, as well as an elective internship. Students can enroll in the school's Mopar college automotive program, which trains students specifically in repairing and maintaining Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles and requires students to complete 1,280 internship hours. Certificate programs are also available in automotive climate control, automotive service, brake and chassis, drivetrain and engine driveability.
Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College offers both an associate's and certificate program in automotive technology at its Des Plaines location. The 36-credit certificate program includes coursework in electrical systems, basic automotive engines and automotive air conditioning. The 60-credit associate's program includes general education courses and major requirements in automotive technology, engine performance, automotive engines and transmissions. Oakton also offers a certificate in automotive service excellence, which is a 16-credit-hour program designed to provide more entry-level education.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Southern Illinois University is a four-year, public university that offers associate's, bachelor's, master's and advanced degrees in Carbondale, including a bachelor's degree in automotive technology. Students learn the basic theories and practical realities of automotive operations, electrical systems, engine systems, drivetrains, brakes, steering and suspension. Students have the freedom to choose their advanced courses and can specialize in their area of greatest interest, such as automotive business operations or technical education. The program combines a thorough knowledge in automotive technology with management, business and communication skills. Students may complete a capstone or non-capstone option.
Southwestern Illinois College
Southwestern Illinois College is a two-year school serving the Metro East suburbs of St. Louis from its Belleville campus. The school offers an associate's program in automotive collision repair technology, which includes coursework in welding, automotive refinishing and suspension maintenance. It consists of 67 credit-hours, and students can complete an optional internship. Students interested in more entry-level education could also enroll in the school's certificate programs in non-structural repair, structural repair, automotive refinishing or mechanical systems.
Located just to the northwest of Chicago in River Grove, Triton College is a two-year, public college that offers associate's and certificate programs through its School of Business and Technology. Students can complete an associate's degree in automotive technology or automotive service management, which is certified by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation. Triton also has a partnership with General Motors and AC Delco that allows students to train exclusively on GM vehicles or AC Delco parts and gain on-the-job training at a GM dealership or AC Delco shop during their education. Several certificate programs are also offered, including programs in brakes and suspension, engine performance and engine repair.
Waubonsee Community College
More than 10,700 students attend certificate or associate's programs at the Sugar Grove campus of Waubonsee Community College. The auto body repair program focuses on maintenance and repair of external automotive parts and requires students to learn skills in welding, painting, refinishing and glass service. An associate's degree (consisting of 61 credit-hours) and two certificates are available in the discipline. The automotive technology program focuses more on the technical and mechanical aspects of automobiles, providing coursework in automotive power trains, ignition systems and fuels and electricity. A wide array of smaller-scale certificate programs are also offered.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Auto Mechanic Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|College of DuPage||Two-year, public; large suburb||Automotive Service Technology Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Service Technology
| $4,080 (in-district)
|College of Lake County||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Under Hood Technician, Transmission Technician, Under the Car Technician, Automotive Air Conditioning and Heating Specialist, Automotive Electrical Specialist, Automotive Fuel Systems, Automotive Service Specialist, Automotive Brakes and Suspension Specialist, Automotive Oil Change Specialist or Automotive Transmission Specialist;
Associate in Applied Science Under Hood Technician or Under the Car Technician
|Illinois Central College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Automotive Fundamentals Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in General Motors Automotive Service Education Program
| $4,500 (in-district)
|Joliet Junior College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement in Automotive Service Technology, Advanced Automotive Service Technology, Automotive Driveline Specialist or Brake and Chassis Specialist;
Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Service Technology
| $4,380 (in-district)
|Moraine Valley Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Automotive Climate Control Technician, Automotive Service Technician, Brake and Chassis Technician, Drivetrain Technician or Engine Driveability Technician;
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology
| $4,356 (in-district)
|Oakton Community College||Two-year, public; small city||Automotive Technology or Automotive Service Excellence Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology
| $3,985 (in-district)
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||two-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology|| $14,704 (in-state)
|Southwestern Illinois College||Two-year, public; rural|| Non-Structural Repair, Structural Repair, Automotive Refinishing or Mechanical Systems Certificate;
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Collision Repair Technology
| $3,660 (in-district)
|Triton College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Automotive Brake and Suspension, Automotive Engine Performance, Automotive Engine Repair, Automotive Transmission or Automotive Technology Certificate;
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology, Automotive: General Motors/AC Delco or Automotive Service Department Management
| $4,170 (in-district)
|Waubonsee Community College||Two-year, public; rural fringe|| Certificate of Achievement in Automotive Maintenance, Automotive Brake and Suspension, Automotive Electrical, Automotive Transmission and Driveline, Engine Performance, Basic Auto Body Repair, Advanced Auto Body Repair or Automotive Recycling;
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology or Auto Body Repair Business Operations
| $3,264 (in-district)
Source: *NCES College Navigator