Schools offering distance learning options for auto mechanics include technical colleges and private online career schools. These certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs are typically designed to prepare students for professional certification, advance their skills or get them ready to take on managerial roles in an automotive service setting.
The nature of automotive technology often requires campus-based instruction and access to vehicles and tools on campus. However, some certificate and undergraduate degree programs offer fully online coursework.
Many online degree programs in this field require some previous relevant education earned elsewhere. For instance, a bachelor's-level program may only offer an online degree completion option to those who have already received an automotive-related associate's degree.
In all of these programs, students access a virtual classroom through their schools' websites at a time convenient for them; these contain lectures, learning aids and assignments.
Online courses in this field may require students to have access to tools and vehicles in order to complete practice exercises and gain hands-on experience. In some cases, this may be available at the school, which would require on-campus sessions. Some schools require distance learners to have their own auto mechanic tools and supplies, which may be available for purchase at the institution's student store.
Common Coursework by Degree Level
The following list provides details on the kind of distance learning programs available to those interested in obtaining or advancing in an auto mechanic career.
A certificate program prepares students to take the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification tests. Previously certified technicians looking to improve their knowledge in certain areas or those looking for a refresher in preparation for ASE recertification can also benefit from these courses. The program lasts approximately six months.
An auto mechanic certificate program provides an overview of the structure and operation of automobiles. Courses cover each major part and system found in modern vehicles, and students learn to diagnose and repair problems with these parts. Online class subjects include the following:
- Automotive hand tools
- Gasoline injection systems
- Electrical systems
- Engine classification
- Wheel alignment
Associate's Degree Programs
A student who has previously earned ASE certification can qualify to enroll in an online associate's degree program in automotive technology. The ASE experience counts towards the automotive credits in the program, leaving the student to complete the degree's general education requirements online. This program is suggested for certified technicians who may benefit from increased job opportunities or higher salaries with an associate's degree.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Those who have completed an associate's degree can complete another two years of work from home to earn a bachelor's degree. An online bachelor's degree covers repair shop operation and management. This education can prepare graduates to work as shop supervisors or managers, or to open their own businesses.
A bachelor's degree program features courses in business topics such as economics, accounting and business law. In addition, students take online classes in repair shop management subjects such as:
- Customer service
- Personnel management
- Finance for automotive businesses
- Occupational health and safety
Auto mechanic training is available online at the certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Some of these programs are available fully online, but many require on-campus instruction. Bachelor's degree programs might include business courses to prepare students for management and supervisory positions.