Trade Schools with Automotive Technology Programs
- Jefferson County Joint Vocational School
- Portage Lakes Career Center
- Pinellas Technical College
- New England Institute of Technology
- Houston Community College
- Wharton County Junior College
- Ashworth College
- Arizona Automotive Institute
- Advanced Technology Institute
- Automotive Training Center
- South Texas Vocational Technical Institute
- Southern Careers Institute
- Penn Foster College
- Porter and Chester Institute
- IntelliTec Colleges
- J-Tech Institute
- Lincoln Tech
- Pennco Tech
- Stratford Career Institute
- UEI College
- Universal Technical Institute
Those who enjoy repairing or restoring vehicles should consider an automotive technology education. Upon finishing classes, students become service technicians, and maintain cars and trucks for public use. During inspections, they look for things such as fluid leaks, worn out hoses, fuel pump issues, and much more.
Why Should You Attend an Auto School?
As the demand for skilled auto mechanics grows, more and more people are choosing to attend an auto mechanic school. Auto mechanic schools provide you with a fast-paced, hands-on learning experience that is designed to prepare you for entry-level positions as an automotive technician.
Many students who attend an auto mechanic school will go on to work in the automotive industry as technicians or trainee mechanics. Some students may choose to become managers at a dealership or start their own business. Others may choose to continue their education and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, automotive technology, or other related fields of study.
The benefits of attending an auto mechanic school include:
The first benefit of attending an auto mechanic school is that it opens the door to various career opportunities for you. You can work as a technician, repairman, or even as an inspector. The job market is vast and you will have no difficulty finding employment if you graduate from an auto mechanic school.
Earn More Money
Another benefit of attending an auto mechanic school is that it will help you earn more money than if you were only self-taught. This means that you will be able to make more money through your skills and expertise as compared to someone who has not attended any kind of course or program on how to fix cars.
Students will learn about various types of vehicles during their time at an auto mechanic school. They may also be able to take classes that cover specific types of vehicles such as trucks or motorcycles. This knowledge will help them when they start working as professional mechanics
Get Real Experience
An individual must have hands-on experience when learning how to repair vehicles. Auto mechanic schools will allow students to gain this type of experience. This will help them when they go out into the real world and start working on cars.
Work as a Team
Auto mechanic schools teach students how to work together in a team environment. They will learn how to communicate with each other, share ideas and resolve conflicts when necessary. This is an important skill for anyone who wants to work as an auto mechanic because these professionals often have to work with other mechanics on a project or repair job.
How Long Does it Take?
This depends on the type of program you choose and how much time you have available for studying. Some programs can be completed in as little as 18 months while others may take up to five years before graduating. If possible, try taking classes online or at night because these types of programs tend to be less expensive than day schools and are easier on your schedule too.
How Much Should You Expect to Spend?
The cost of auto mechanic school varies, depending on the type of school you choose and whether or not you receive financial aid. Some programs offer scholarships based on financial need and academic performance.
Most programs last between 18 months and two years, but some can be completed in as little as nine months. The tuition is usually around $5,000-$20,000 per year.
What Kind of Classes Will You Take?
The courses you might take in an automotive technician education program include:
Instrumentation and Electrical Systems
This course teaches students how to troubleshoot and repair electronic systems, such as ignition systems, fuel injection systems, and emission controls. Students learn to use various meters and test equipment, as well as to interpret wiring diagrams and service manuals.
Basic Engine Repair
This course covers simple engine repair including replacing valves, timing belts and seals, cylinder head gaskets, intake/exhaust manifolds, spark plugs and ignition coils. Students learn about common problems with each of these types of engines.
Advanced Engine Repair
This course focuses on more complex repairs such as rebuilding or replacing the entire engine or transmission; this could be done by taking an additional course or by completing an apprenticeship program after graduation from a technical school or college.
Transmission courses teach students how automatic transmissions work, how they can be repaired and rebuilt, and how they differ from manual transmissions (which are also covered in some programs). Some programs also cover four-wheel-drive vehicles’ transfer cases (a specialized type of transmission used only in four-wheel-drive vehicles)
Automotive Electrical Diagnostics
This course teaches you how to identify electrical problems in vehicles, including how to test for loose connections and bad grounds. You’ll also learn how to inspect wiring harnesses for damage, including frayed insulation or broken wires.
A certificate program is a great option if you’re looking for a quick way to get your foot in the door. Most certificate programs take less than two years to complete, which means they can be completed while working full-time as an auto mechanic.
A diploma is similar to a certificate, except that it requires more time and work (usually two years), and it’s offered by community colleges, technical schools, and sometimes universities. These programs are designed for students who have little or no experience with cars or auto mechanics, but they still provide valuable knowledge and practical training on how to repair vehicles properly.
An associate degree is also a good choice if you’re looking for more than just basic training. It will typically take between two and four years to complete, depending on the program and school where it’s offered.
Most associate’s degrees include courses such as automotive technology, engine repair and diagnostics, electrical systems, engine overhauling, and preventive maintenance techniques. Some programs may also offer opportunities for specialization like diesel engines or transmissions.
What Is Automotive Technology?
Automotive technicians troubleshoot problems with cars. Their job involves many tasks dealing with repair and maintenance, including tire rotations and oil changes. To protect themselves from legal issues, workers keep detailed archives of test results and repair reports.
Workers replace old or broken parts, swapping out filters and checking fluid levels as needed. They review checklists to make sure they have inspected every aspect of a vehicle’s systems and parts. Auto techs offer advice on repair options, explaining issues to car owners in easily understood terms.
When a client comes to them with a check engine light on, mechanics use computers for an initial diagnosis. This usually brings up an error code that reveals the nature of the problem. Issues often involve oil tanks, transmissions, or exhaust systems. Associates need enough knowledge to procure replacement parts and install them properly upon arrival.
What Are Automotive Technology Job Duties?
Colleagues work alongside senior mechanics and managers to perform a variety of tasks. With the guidance of manuals and charts, team members replace fuel pumps and install drive belts. They build and attach subassemblies such as engines, braking systems, and transmissions.
When performing inspections, auto techs utilize checklists to avoid missing components. They check transmission and steering systems for faults, making note of clutch problems or low fluid levels. Associates have to maintain vehicles according to manufacturer specifications.
Mechanics must keep up with new technology found in modern vehicles. They may service accident-alert sensors, digital displays, or cars that run on alternate fuel. Additional automotive tech duties often include the following:
- Replacing rear-facing cameras
- Running tests on parts and systems to guarantee working order
- Swapping out faulty sensors
- Explaining the nature of problems to clients
- Taking payments from customers
- Spotting misalignments that cause electronic or mechanical failures
- Using diagnostic computers to pinpoint problems
- Following manuals and charts to design work procedures
- Replacing worn wheel bearings and brake pads
- Performing general car maintenance, care, and washing
What Types of Skills Should Auto Techs Possess?
The ideal auto tech has knowledge of both mechanical and electronic car systems. Recruits need skills to repair components like engines and transmissions. They must also know how to service onboard displays and computer units that regulate things like spark plugs and fuel injectors.
For some repairs, it is necessary to disassemble a car’s engine. Servicemen and women must understand the various parts and functions to fix problems and put the engine back together properly. Mechanics inspect and replace worn out serpentine belts that help to power multiple auto components.
Many mechanics prefer to use their own tools while on the job. This helps them maintain a sense of familiarity and gives them quick access to gear while on the go. These laborers must avoid mixing up personal equipment with that of their employer.
Heavy parts like body panels, engines, and rims require physical strength to maneuver. Prospects should know that constant bending and lifting are everyday parts of the job. Automotive technology careers demand physical and mental strength from workers. They must have the stamina to excel in high-paced situations, meeting stressful deadlines while properly completing work.
Auto techs listen for unusual sounds when detecting the cause of a problem. For example, high-pitched squeaking after turning the ignition can signal a loose or damaged drive belt. Loud humming when hitting the gas could mean the car’s muffler needs replaced.
How Do Auto Techs Maintain Their Workspace?
For safety purposes, service techs need to keep their work areas organized. Serious injury can occur on jobsites in many ways. Improperly secured equipment might fall from shelves or wall mounts. Tools left on the ground may cause workers to stub their toes or trip. Cuts, burns, and smashed fingers can result from ignored protocol or careless use of equipment.
Accountability of parts and tools is another reason why service techs need to maintain orderly workstations. When disassembling engines and other car parts, they must keep track of all components, castings, and screws.
Why Do Auto Techs Need to be Honest?
Most people who bring their cars to auto mechanics lack automotive knowledge. To earn extra cash, dishonest workers can talk clients into unneeded upcharges. Shops will quickly lose clientele if customers begin to suspect this activity.
What Are Common Automotive Technology Tools?
Service technicians work with many tools when dealing with grease-covered auto components. They also use alignment equipment and wheel balancing machines to restore suspensions, ensuring that axles and wheels move in the same direction. An automotive technology certificate prepares students to work with the following tools:
- Welding torches
- Jacks and hoists
- Digital diagnostic devices
- Ratchets and sockets
- Pliers and hand wrenches
- Tools powered by air compressors
What Are Useful Qualities for People in This Field?
- A deep understanding of how vehicles work
- Dexterity for working in awkward positions
- Stamina to complete physical tasks like assembling components
- Discipline for showing up to work on time and maximizing output
- Customer service skills for discussing repair options with clients
- Detail-oriented work ethic for spotting hard-to-find defects
- Analytical thinking abilities for troubleshooting issues
- Courtesy and the ability to quickly answer customer questions
Are There Special Requirements for Automotive Technology Jobs?
Interested recruits should prepare by taking high school classes in vehicle repair, computer technology, and electronic sciences. While new hires often undergo on-the-job automotive technology training, any prior experience helps. Also, knowledge in mathematics is great when measuring fluids, calculating torque, and selecting bolt or nut sizes.
To gain essential skills, many prospects take one or more automotive technology classes. These can include vocational studies, trade school programs, and college courses. College-bound students usually study for associate’s automotive technology degrees. These intensive programs take about two years to complete.
Some people choose to enter the field because of the attainable education requirements. To earn the needed skills, students on a budget can spend two years taking trade classes or earning an associate’s degree. Automotive technology scholarships will further reduce the financial burden for job hopefuls.
Some employers require colleagues to earn industry certifications. This process usually takes place after prospects have already landed jobs. In many cases, companies pay their workers to undergo accreditation through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The following subjects are available for ASE certification:
- Steering and suspension
- Heating and air conditioning
- Electronic systems
- Engine performance
- Automatic transmission and transaxles
- Manual transmissions and transaxles
- Engine repair
- Light vehicle diesel engines
What Is the Outlook for
Automotive Technology Jobs?
There are over 749,000 mechanics working in the United States. Job growth is at 6%, which means good-paying positions will be available well into the future. Also, the number of vehicles on the road is increasing, providing added job security.
The typical automotive technology salary is about $19 an hour. Over the course of a year, this creates a sum around $40k. Based on work ethic and reputation, experienced top earners can receive up to $65k and beyond.
Most mechanics find full-time employment. They work nights and weekends when necessary, giving them overtime pay in the process. Typical job benefits include the following:
- Medical insurance
- Life insurance
- Paid time off
- 401(k) retirement plans
- Tool and uniform reimbursement
- Discounts on car parts and machinery
- Reimbursement of ASE certification costs
What Should Workers Expect?
Graduates of automotive technology school should expect physically demanding labor where injury is a constant concern. Exposure to chemicals such as carbon monoxide and asbestos is common, and exposure to fume buildup is a daily occurrence.
Where Can Prospects Find Work?
Candidates have many options when searching for employment. They often find jobs in auto workshops, garages, or repair shops. Other popular employers include car parts and tire stores. Mechanics also work for the following employers:
- Auto dealerships
- Transportation agencies
- Vehicle rental outfits
- Railroad stations
- Car restoration companies
Can You Work Remotely?
Entrepreneurs can open their own repair shop after earning a business license. Becoming self-employed allows them to choose their work hours and even specialize their clientele base. Laborers will need to market themselves through newspaper ads, social media, and positive customer reviews on the internet.
Do Auto Techs Have Any Other Options?
Diagnostic techs inspect and repair all types of engine problems. They know the ins and outs of emission systems, ignition processes, and fuel intake frameworks. Workers use scan devices to run tests on vehicles in order to identify issues. On average, associates earn yearly salary packages in excess of $45k.
What Are Alternate Careers for Auto Techs?
Those who enjoy repairing things should consider becoming small engine mechanics. They work in shops and make house calls when necessary, bringing stalled power equipment, such as lawnmowers, back to life. Associates earn around $37k per year by running engine tests, installing spark plugs, and restoring service to inactive motors. Small engine mechanics also work on the following devices:
- Dune buggies
- Jet skis
- Electric scooters
- Hover boards
Interview with an Automotive Technician
An interview with Johnny Harrah, an automotive Technician for Lunt Motor Company. Lunt Motors is Chrysler dealership that offers both mechanical and auto body services.
Q: How long have you been working as an automotive technician?
A: Ten years.
Q: Do you like repairing automatic transmissions?
A: I do, they are perhaps one of the most challenging parts of automotive repair and not everyone can do it. It takes a combination of skill and knowledge that many techs don’t have the patience to learn and it feels good knowing that I am counted on for a very important job.
Q: What kind of previous education or training for the job did you undergo?
A: I apprenticed to my father and worked for another dealership before moving to Lunt Motor Company.
Q: What are your likes and dislikes about the job?
A: I like the work, I truly enjoy working on cars and fixing them. I don’t like the pay rate at the moment and feel I should be paid more given that I am an ASE certified master technician.
Q: What about your work environment?
A: I have to say that I like some of the people I work with. However, there are some people I don’t get along with because they don’t really seem to want to work.
Q: You mention other technicians. Do you have an opinion on what makes a good one?
A: Well, I think that there is a huge difference between a mechanic, or technician if you want to get all fancy, and a parts changer. A true mechanic knows why the part broke and can diagnose the underlying problem with the vehicle. A parts changer on the other hand will just keep putting in new parts hoping that the problem will go away by itself.
Also, a good mechanic is willing to try and solve problems in creative ways if needed. I have had to create special tools to get to problem areas on a car. A lot of other mechanics will give up and say they can’t fix a car without really trying.
Q: Can you provide a description of your typical day?
A: Go to work, check to see if any parts I ordered are in so I can finish any work that was left incomplete the day or days before. Finish pressing jobs and work on whatever comes my way.
Q: What kind of breaks do you have at your job?
A: Well, I really don’t keep track of my breaks. I make sure to eat lunch, but for the most part I only take breaks when there is no work or I am waiting on a parts delivery. When I do take breaks I tend to go home or help another tech out.
Q: What do you think your next career step will be?
A: I am hoping to eventually open my own shop where I feel I will have a little more control over my own destiny.
Q: What previous job history prepared you for becoming a mechanic?
A: I worked for a Ford dealership in the early 90s and before that for myself.
Q: What types of benefits do you receive?
A: I receive medical coverage for myself, my wife, and my children. I also have a retirement fund.
Q: How much do you earn as an auto mechanic?
A: I currently earn around twenty dollars an hour if you include my benefits as part of my earnings.
Q: Do you think this is a fair pay rate?
A: Well, the shop I work at charges seventy-five dollars an hour for labor. I feel that I should be paid more because even after taking insurance into account they make well over half off of my labor. I know they have expenses but it just does not seem fair. I also think they should provide their mechanics with a tool fund. Over time my tools can break, get lost, or in some cases get stolen, and it really hurts my paycheck to have to replace my own tools.