Students in a car repair certificate program study car engines and various automotive systems. They are expected to gain expertise with the latest technology used to install and troubleshoot high-tech devices, such as audiovisual accessories and GPS. A major emphasis of car repair certificate programs involves directly working on cars, gaining practice with both universal repair practices and variations based on make and model.
Prerequisites for certificate programs in car repair include a high school diploma or its equivalent and an aptitude for math, science and mechanical reasoning. Some courses may be offered online.
Certificate Programs in Car Repair
Coursework is divided between classroom study and hands-on experiences. Students learn how the individual elements of cars function and apply those theories to practical car repair. Classes may address:
- Fundamentals of automotive technology
- Basic automotive electrical systems
- Brake and hydraulic systems
- Car repair shop business practices
- Car engine performance analysis
- Suspension, alignment and steering
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
Car repair technicians may find work in car dealership service centers, local repair shops and maintenance centers. Others work in stores selling car parts, tires and other accessories. Employment for automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow 5% from 2014 through 2024, which is about as fast as average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job openings are often seen in independent repair shops and automotive dealerships, two of the largest employers of mechanics and technicians. As reported by the BLS, automotive service technicians and mechanics in 2015 had mean hourly wage earnings of $19.58.
Professional Certification Information and Continuing Education
The most common professional certification for car repair technicians is conferred by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. This certification, though widely seen as standard, is not mandatory for work in car repair. ASE certification is available in up to eight specializations within automotive service; these include brake systems, car engine repair and suspension systems. Applicants must pass certification exams. Though two years of hands-on, full-time experience in the car service industry is required to become ASE certified, it's possible to register for and take the exams before completing the work experience. One of the required two years of experience may be substituted for by coursework completed in high school or college.
Through hands-on training and classroom study, students in a car repair certificate program learn how to repair, install and maintain different automotive systems. Time spent in the program may be substituted for experience requirements when applying for ASE certification, a voluntary but standard certification for car repair technicians.