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Auto Repair Schools and Colleges with Program Overviews

Aspiring auto mechanics have the option of enrolling in either a certificate or associate's degree program. Both require that students participate in hands-on exercises, but differ in length.

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Prospective students must first decide how much time and money they are willing to commit to learning the auto repair profession. Both certificate and degree programs emphasize diagnosis and repair skills, but the associate's degree covers additional topics, and there may be professional considerations as well.

Schools with Auto Repair Programs

Auto repair colleges can be found around the country. These private and public schools mainly offer programs at the associate's and certificate levels to provide you with the necessary education to enter the auto repair field. Read more about a few institutions below:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered In-State Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Arkansas State University-Beebe Beebe, Arkansas 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's Degree $3,480
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, Georgia 2-year, Public Certificate $2,746
Beaufort County Community College Washington, North Carolina 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's Degree $2,368
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology Boston, Massachusetts 4-year, Private Certificate, Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree $16,950
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Martinsburg, West Virginia 2-year, Public Associate's Degree $3,696
Central Carolina Technical College Sumter, South Carolina 2-year, Public Certificate $5,075
Dodge City Community College Dodge City, Kansas 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's Degree $2,850
Oakland Community College Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's Degree $5,235
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, Virginia 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's Degree $5,138

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics

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College Selection Criteria

Associate's degree and certificate programs provide the foundation for a career in automotive repair. With so many programs throughout the country, there are several factors to consider when looking for your ideal school:

  • Students should think about the time commitment they're willing to make: a certificate program can be completed in as little as two semesters, while associate's degrees require 2 years to complete.
  • Graduates of associate's degree programs are best suited to reduce the work experience requirement for certification, which is worth considering for students who want ASE certification as soon as possible.
  • Mechanics must learn about the latest diagnostic tools and technology, so up-to-date training equipment and facilities at a school are important.
  • Look for schools that offer internships as part of the program, since hands-on, real-world experience is critical.

Certificate Program

Most auto repair certificate programs can be completed in two semesters. Classes include a laboratory component where students have the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience. Courses cover the major areas needed to perform basic engine diagnosis and repair functions. Some of the topics covered include precision tools, automotive brake systems, heating and air conditioning, suspension and steering and automotive technology theory.

Associate's Degree Program

Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in auto repair are required to complete general education courses in addition to courses in auto repair. Much like a certificate program in auto repair, students develop repair and diagnosis skills in a garage. Additional topics covered in an associate's degree program include engine performance analysis, electrical lighting, manual drive train and axle, engine removal and installation and automatic transmission. An internship may also be required to complete the degree.

Students interested in professional work in auto repair can choose from programs at the certificate or associate's degree levels. Professional certification through the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence can give you an extra edge in the job market, so potential students may want to seek out a program that helps them prepare for certification.

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