Students in the state of Washington can pursue automotive training by enrolling in certificate and associate's degree programs at technical and community colleges throughout the state. In addition to educating students through lectures and hands-on training, some programs offer an opportunity to intern with automotive dealerships. The schools in this article feature programs such as:
- Automotive Technology
- Basic Automotive Technician Skills Certificate
- Toyota Technology
- Automotive Drive Train Technician Certificate
- Automotive Electrical and Air Conditioning/Heating Certificate
- Honda Professional Automotive Career Training
- Automotive Parts Specialist
- Automotive Front End and Brakes
Clark College is located in Vancouver and offers automotive technology programs at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Students can pursue certificates in basic and advanced automotive technician skills. The college also offers three automotive technology degrees.
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program requires 115-122 credits, while the Associate of Applied Technology (AAT) degree requires 109-113 credits. Students in both programs take courses in automotive basics, chassis systems, engine performance, and transmissions. They also participate in cooperative work experiences. The school offers an associate's degree program that includes a specialization in Toyota automotive technology that requires 115-122 credits.
Clover Park Technical College
This Lakewood school offers a National Institute for ASE-certified associate's degree program; students can also pursue a transfer degree option. The curriculum requires the study of brake, suspension, and steering systems; wheel alignments; electrical systems; ignitions; transmissions; and transaxles. Students also take general education courses in subjects like communications and social sciences; co-op work experience is also required. Shorter-term certificate programs in specific areas of automotive technology are also available in automotive drive train; electrical and air conditioning/heating; engine repair; front end and brakes; hybrid alternative fuel maintenance; and Ford Motor Company maintenance and light repair.
Columbia Basin College
Columbia Basin College is based in Pasco and offers an automotive technology associate's degree and three certificates in the field. The college offers short-term hybrid and high voltage vehicle maintenance and basic automotive technician certificate programs of 15-18 credits in length.
Students can complete a 43-credit automotive technology certificate or 112-116-credit associate's degree in automotive technology. Courses in these programs include suspension and steering, brake systems, engine repair, and vehicle maintenance. The associate's degree program also includes a capstone project. Many of the classes require lab sessions. The associate's degree program also prepares students for professional ASE certification.
Green River Community College
Based in Auburn, Green River Community College features several automotive certificate of proficiency programs and an automotive technology associate's degree program. The certificate programs range from 7-16 credits and are available in brakes, steering and suspension; electrical systems; engine performance; heating and air conditioning; and transmissions and transaxle.
The automotive technology associate's degree program is 97-106 credits in length. Students take courses in shop procedures, brakes, engine performance and repair, welding, and automotive leadership skills. An auto work experience is also part of the curriculum. This is an ASE-certified training program.
Shoreline Community College
In Shoreline, students can pursue one of six automotive programs through Shoreline Community College's Professional Automotive Training Center. While students can complete a 45-credit general service tech certificate of proficiency program, the college also offers dealership training associate's degree programs in partnership with Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota. In addition to their training, students sponsored by the dealership programs are able to participate in paid internships and learn how to service specific vehicle models. Automotive specialist certificates of completion are also available.
Skagit Valley College
Skagit Valley College is based in Mount Vernon and offers certificate and associate's degree programs in automotive technology that have been accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Certificate programs include automotive electronics and diagnostics specialist, alignment and suspension/brake specialist, automotive service advisory, automotive parts specialist, and transmission specialist.
The associate's degree program is 90 credits in length, and students study fuel systems, suspensions, alignment, brake systems, air conditioning, electrical systems, transmissions, engine tune-ups, and auto parts. The college features an 18-bay repair shop where students can gain hands-on experience.
South Puget Sound Community College
Based in Olympia, South Puget Sound Community College provides NATEF-accredited entry-level automotive technology training through beginning, intermediate, and advanced certificate of proficiency programs and an associate's degree program. The beginning certificate is 37 credits (616 hours) in length; the intermediate certificate is 32 credits (638 hours) in length; and the advanced certificate is 32 credits (528 hours) in length.
The associate's degree program requires 119-121 credits, and students in the program learn how to use automotive hand tools and diagnostic equipment. Courses focus on engine performance, steering and suspension, brakes, drive train, and electrical/electronic systems. Hands-on learning takes place at the South Puget Sound Community College Automotive Shop. Co-op work experience is also available.
South Seattle College
South Seattle Community College is located in Seattle, and students can complete a NATEF-accredited general service technician certificate or automotive technician associate's degree programs. Students can also pursue several sub-certificates in introductory automotive, brakes and suspension, transmissions and transaxles, electrical/electronics and HVAC, engine repair, and engine performance; they are 15-16 credits in length.
The general service technician certificate program is 30 credits long and includes courses in steering and suspension, tires and wheel alignment, brake systems, and drivability. In addition to the courses in the sub-certificate programs, students in the 114-credit associate's degree program must complete courses in computer applications, applied composition, math, and psychology. An automotive technician AAS-Transfer degree is offered for students who want to continue their education at the bachelor's degree level.
Spokane Community College
Located in Spokane, Spokane Community College offers several types of automotive training programs. In addition to a 1-year automotive technology certificate, students can earn short-term certificates in brakes and suspension, engine repair, electronics/electrical, engine performance/air conditioning, and automotive transmissions/transaxles. The school also has a Toyota T-TEN (Technical Education Network) track available for interested students.
The automotive technology associate's degree program is 116 credits and can be completed in six quarters. After completing an associate's degree or equivalent coursework, students can pursue a specialized 16-credit class in high performance or hybrid cars.
Walla Walla Community College
Walla Walla Community College is located in Walla Walla and features NATEF-accredited certificate and associate's degree programs in automotive technology. The certificate program is 78 credits long and requires courses in brakes, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, electronics, engine performance, and welding; it takes a year to complete. The 2-year associate's degree program includes an additional 70 credits for a total of 148. Courses include engine rebuild, transmission, drive train, and alignment.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifies auto mechanics. Certification is available in eight different areas. Those who work with refrigerants are required to hold additional licensing, earned after passing a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exam. Following are descriptions of auto technology programs that are offered at ten of Washington state's schools. A table that compares tuition rates is also included.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Automotive Technology Programs||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Clark College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Basic Automotive Technician Skills Certificate,
Advanced Automotive Technician Skills Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology,
Associate of Applied Technology in Automotive Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Toyota Technology
| $3,456 in-state;
|Clover Park Technical College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Automotive Drive Train Technician Certificate,
Automotive Electrical and Air Conditioning/Heating Certificate,
Automotive Engine Repair Certificate,
Automotive Front End and Brakes Certificate,
Ford Motor Company Maintenance and Light Repair Certificate,
Hybrid Alternative Fuel Maintenance Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science - Hybrid Alternative Fuel Maintenance,
Associate of Applied Technology in Automotive Technician
| $5,382 in-state;
|Columbia Basin College||4-year, public; small city|| Automotive Technology Certificate,
Basic Automotive Technician Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology
| $4,194 in-state;
|Green River Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate of Proficiency in Brakes, Steering, and Suspension,
Certificate of Proficiency in Electrical Systems,
Certificate of Proficiency in Engine Performance,
Certificate of Proficiency in Heating and Air Conditioning,
Certificate of Proficiency in Transmissions and Transaxle,
Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology
| $4,344 in-state;
|Shoreline Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Automotive Specialist Certificate of Completion,
General Service Technician Certificate of Proficiency,
Associate in Applied Arts and Science - Chrysler College Automotive Program,
Associate in Applied Arts and Science - General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program,
Associate in Applied Arts and Science - Honda Professional Automotive Career Training,
Associate in Applied Arts and Science - Toyota Technical Education Network
| $3,730 in-state;
|Skagit Valley College||2-year, public; small city|| Automotive Electronics and Diagnostics Specialist Certificate,
Alignment and Suspension/Brake Specialist Certificate,
Automotive Service Advisory Certificate,
Automotive Parts Specialist Certificate,
Transmission Specialist Certificate,
Associate in Technical Arts in Automotive Technology
| $4,200 in-state;
|South Puget Sound Community College||2-year, public; small city|| Beginning Automotive Technology Certificate of Proficiency,
Intermediate Automotive Technology Certificate of Proficiency,
Advanced Automotive Technology Certificate of Proficiency,
Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology
| $3,957 in-state;
|South Seattle College||4-year, public; large city|| Introduction to Automotive Certificate,
Certificate in Brakes and Suspension,
Certificate in Transmissions and Transaxles,
Certificate in Engine Repair,
Certificate in Electrical/Electronics and HVAC,
Certificate in Engine Performance Driveability,
Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technician,
Associate of Applied Science - Transfer in Automotive Technician
| $4,130 in-state;
|Spokane Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Brakes and Suspension Certificate,
Engine Repair Certificate,
Engine Performance/Air Conditioning Certificate,
Automotive Transmissions/Transaxles Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology
| $3,388 in-state;
|Walla Walla Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural|| Automotive Repair Technology Certificate,
Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences in Automotive Repair Technology
| $4,203 in-state;
Source: *NCES College Navigator