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Car Mechanic Colleges and Institutes with Program Overviews

The minimum amount of education needed to become a car mechanic is a certificate in automotive technology. However, some aspiring car mechanics choose to enroll in an associate's degree program. Car mechanic courses cover topics such as brakes, electrical systems, steering and engine diagnosis. Graduates of car mechanic programs may seek certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

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Two basic educational programs prepare students for careers in automotive technology. The first is a certificate program and the second option is an associate's degree, both of which are offered by community colleges as well as vocational schools and institutes.

10 Schools with Car Mechanic Programs

These schools offer car mechanic training programs at both the certificate and associate's degree level.

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Houston Community College Houston, TX 2-year, Public $1,632 in-district, $3,360 in-state, $3,756 out-of-state
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA 2-year, Public $5,138 in-state, $11,055 out-of-state
Lone Star College System The Woodlands, TX 2-year, Public $1,504 in-district, $3,184 in-state, $3,544 out-of-state
Tarrant County College District Fort Worth, TX 2-year, Private $1,320 in-district, $2,064 in-state, $4,920 out-of-state
Riverside City College Riverside, CA 2-year, Public $1,426 in-state, $7,366 out-of-state
Austin Community College Austin, TX 2-year, Public $2,550 in-district, $9,210 in-state, $11,340 out-of-state
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, SF 2-year, Private $1,598 in-state, $7,554 out-of-state
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public $1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state
Pima Community College Tucson, AZ 2-year, Public $1,974 in-state, $8,610 out-of-state
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-year, Public $2,753 in-state, $8,875 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Students should keep these considerations in mind when choosing a school:

  • Programs should prepare students to pass the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification tests.
  • 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 a school that offers internship programs.
  • Some programs may be sponsored by car manufacturers, allowing students to get hands-on experience working with that type of car.

Undergraduate Certificate in Automotive Technology

Certificate programs in automotive technology are offered at the basic and advanced levels. A basic certificate program covers the knowledge and skills needed to perform common car mechanic functions at a garage. An advanced certificate program builds on that foundation and includes topics such as engine installation and removal, engine performance analysis, transmissions and electrical lighting.

Associate's Degree in Automotive Technology

An associate's degree program in automotive technology combines car mechanics classes with some general education requirements. These programs tend to emphasize hands-on practical exercises, which accompany class discussions on the components of a car, as well as how they function in relation to each other and what common operational issues may arise. The opportunity to complete an internship is also a determining factor when choosing an appropriate car mechanic school. Cooperative education classes are more commonly found in associate's degree programs and provide students with an opportunity to gain real-world, automotive service experience.

Prospective auto mechanics should look for programs that will prepare them to become certified and provide them with hands-on training. Other considerations include the availability of internships and specializations.

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