Cleveland Auto Mechanic School Overviews with Program Overviews

Sep 07, 2018

The Cleveland area has at least 11 schools, all within 50 miles of the city, that offer auto mechanic programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools to make an informed education decision.

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Comparison of Cleveland Auto Mechanic Schools

Students interested in becoming auto mechanics have several school options in the Cleveland area. This article examines three schools that are no more than an hour from downtown Cleveland. It includes details about all the automotive technology programs they offer, as well as a table of information that prospective students should know, such as school size, costs and graduation rates. Also included at the end of the article is some information about a few other schools in the Cleveland area that offer similar programs.

  • Auburn Career Center, about 30 miles from downtown Cleveland, offers an automotive technology program and individual learning modules.
  • Cuyahoga Community College has a short-term certificate program in automotive maintenance & general service, a certificate of proficiency program and an Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology program. Its main campus is less than a mile from downtown, while its Parma location is about 12 miles from downtown Cleveland.
  • More than 48 miles from the heart of Cleveland, Portage Lakes Career Center offers an automotive service technician certificate program taught by ASE master-certified instructors. The program can prepare students to take ASE certification exams.

Comparison of Schools

Students looking for an automotive technician program should be aware of many factors when choosing a school. The following table offers a convenient way to compare the institutions profiled in this article.

Auburn Career Center Cuyahoga Community College Portage Lakes Career Center
School Type Less-than-2-year, public 2-year, public Less-than-2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 98* 23,900* 107*
Campus Setting Rural fringe Large city Large suburb
Tuition (2017-2018) $1,950* $3,136 (in-district), $3,953 (in-state), $7,648 (out-of-state)* $7,995 (specific tuition for automotive mechanic program)*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 73%* 78%* 81%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - open admissions* N/A - open admissions* N/A - open admissions*
Retention Rate (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017) 89% (full-time students), 86% (part-time students)* 58% (full-time students), 46% (part-time students)* 67% (full-time students)*, 50% (part-time students)
Graduation Rate 74% (students who started in Fall 2014-2015)* 15% (students who started in Fall 2014); 29% (transfer-out rate)* 72% (students who started in Fall 2014-2015)*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics.

Auburn Career Center

Originating in 1965, Auburn Career Center was the state's first career and technical career center. The school's industrial department offers 6 different automotive modules or one complete course that includes all 6 modules.

Automotive Technology Course

The automotive technology course includes the following 6 modules: engine repair, engine performance, heating and air conditioning, electrical and electronics, routine maintenance and brakes, and suspension and steering. The courses teach students the basics of automotive diagnostics, maintenance and repair. The course can also count as ½ year of credit towards ASE certification. The course also includes a 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) General Industry Certification exam. Students are required to provide their own tools, which could add to the cost of the program.

Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga Community College offers certificate and associate degree programs for prospective automotive mechanics. The certificate programs typically take 1 or 2 semesters to complete, and the associate's program is designed to be completed in 4 semesters. The associate degree program is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) in the eight categories recognized by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Automotive Maintenance & General Service Short-Term Certificate

This 12-credit-hour, short-term certificate program prepares individuals for entry-level work as general service technicians or maintenance technicians. The curriculum includes classroom studies and lab experiences. Students learn to obtain important vehicle information, perform general maintenance using appropriate tools, read repair orders and perform safe work practices. Course topics include automatic braking systems, automatic alignment, steering and suspension, automatic service procedures and automatic electrical fundamentals.

Certificate of Proficiency in Automotive Technology

This certificate program requires 30 credit-hours and offers advanced technical training and self-management instruction. Students can expect a combination of classroom and lab training, and all of the credits earned in this program can be applied towards the associate program. The program requires courses in automotive service procedures, alignment, steering and suspension, automotive electrical fundamentals and automotive braking systems.

Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology

Cuyahoga Community College's automotive technology associate degree program is offered at the school's Advanced Automotive Technology Center, located at the west campus in Parma, OH. This 61-credit-hour program includes a blended curriculum of classroom work, laboratory studies and field experiences. In addition to automotive courses, students must also complete general education courses. Students in the associate program are provided with tools and have access to a 12-bay service area.

The college also offers the General Motors (GM) Automotive Service Education Program, a 2-year program developed through a joint agreement between the college, GM and ACDelco. Students attend classes while working at a GM dealership. Participants can learn to repair and service vehicles using the same tools and equipment used at the dealerships. Students in the GM program are required to have their own set of hand tools.

Portage Lakes Career Center

Portage Lakes Career Center offers an automotive service technician program designed for students hoping to work in auto repair or current mechanics who are seeking ASE certification. The program includes a core curriculum that meets NATEF standards.

Automotive Service Technician Certificate Program

The 600-hour program prepares students for entry-level employment as automotive technicians, service managers, auto mechanics, specialty shop technicians and service writers. This program can be completed in 36 weeks through evening classes held 4 days each week. Students learn about engine repair and performance, brake operation and repair, front wheel and four wheel alignment, testing equipment and automotive diagnostic computers. Applicants must take a pre-entrance exam and possess a valid driver's license and proof of insurance. Class sizes do not exceed 15 students, and admission is determined by pre-entrance exams and available space.

Other School Options

Lorain County Joint Vocational School District, located 35.9 miles from downtown Cleveland, offers an automotive technology program through its Adult Career Center. Polaris Career Center, located 15.8 miles from downtown Cleveland, has automotive technology programs for adults and high school students. The programs are based on student interest, so courses may not be available every semester.

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