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Auto Mechanic Degree
Schools that offer an auto mechanic degree program will assist those wishing to learn the intricacies of automobile repair, automotive technology, mechanic certification, and auto restoration. Courses in automotive tech are available in high school, vocational school, community college, trade school, online auto mechanic program, state university, technical institute, and career college.
A degree, high school diploma, nor certificate may be required to work on automobiles. However, those who pursue an education in automotive technology will be better prepared in the work in the automotive industry and equipped to become ASE certified automotive technicians.
The typical academic requirements for colleges offering an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs for automotive technicians are a high school diploma or equivalent. Mechanic training programs as an automotive service technician prepare students with the skills necessary to perform basic, advanced, and complex auto repairs in a controlled setting where risk of failure does not adversely affect a customer.
Automotive Technology Classes
Students enrolled in accredited auto mechanic online schools or campus based program can expect to take a variety of classes that include both classroom instruction as well as hands-on learning opportunities. A curriculum in car mechanics program may include courses such as:
- Electrical Systems Theory
- Small Engine Repair & Engine Mechanics
- Engine Performance
- Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Cell Vehicle Repair
- Mathematics and Scientific Principles
- Electric and Electronic Systems
- Brake Systems
- Auto & Light Truck HVAC
- Automotive Engines: Upper-end and Lower-end Assembly
- Preventative Maintenance
- Manual Drivetrain and Axles
- Steering and Suspension
- Internal Combustion Engine
- Automatic Transmission Theory & Transaxles
Where Can I Study to Become an Auto Mechanic?
The most common institutions where students study to become an auto mechanic are a community college, vocational school, technical college, and trade school. For accredited institutions offering Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs for auto mechanics, students will be provided with classroom lectures along with hands-on experience under the direct supervision of trained professionals.
By utilizing both learning modalities, students will be able to acquire essential industry knowledge about automotive repair and maintenance. Those principles can then be applied in a safe environment with the help of a trained, certified automotive professional. A complete list of community colleges and trade schools offering auto mechanic training programs are listed below for you to explore in greater depth.
What Types of Vehicles Do Auto Mechanics Work On?
An auto mechanic may work on a variety of vehicles and vessels during and after graduation from college depending on the area of interest and work setting chosen. The most common types of vehicles an auto mechanic works with include passenger cars & trucks, motorsports, motorcycles, watercraft, and collision repair on these vehicles.
Passenger Trucks – Passenger trucks are self-powered, motorized vehicles seen on the roads every day around the country. Trucks can range from small commuter vehicles to large personal vehicles used to haul equipment or recreational vehicles.
Passenger Cars – A passenger car is the most common type of vehicle an auto mechanic will work on or work with. Passenger cars are self-powered and can be propelled by an gas-powered motor, electric motor, or hybrid motor. With the tremendous technological advances, passenger cars may be akin to a computer on wheels versus the mechanical vehicles of days past.
Motorsports – Motorsports or motorsport technology is a type of motorized vehicle associated with performance vehicles and competitive racing. Examples of motorsports may include NASCAR, drag racing, Grand Prix, stock car, motorcycle racing, slot car, kart, boat, motocross, and drone racing.
Motorcycles – A motorcycle is also known as a cycle, bike, or motorbike depending on the geographic region and type of bike. Motorcycles can be two-wheeled or three-wheeled vehicles that can be used for commuting, racing, long-distance travel, off-roading, or a variety of recreational purposes.
Watercraft – The watercraft domain may include a number of water-borne vehicles like boats, ships, hovercraft, and the like. A boat is often defined by its size and purpose being a vessel associated with travel on coastal or inland waters. A ship, on the other hand, is a large sea-going vessel.
Auto Body & Collision – The auto body and collision discipline involving the structure or frame of the vehicle or vessel. These professionals work to design, repair, or replace a variety of frames back to their original state or change its design based on owner specifications.
Certifications for an Auto Mechanic
The accredited certificates of completion issued by auto mechanic schools help train and expose a student to the electrical & mechanical systems installed in the current generation of automobiles. If an individual completes a postsecondary program he or she will be able to reduce the 2 year requirement of work experience for ASE certification to a single year. An ASE certificate is sought after because it demonstrates to customers a high level of proficiency for an auto repair technician.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) provides auto mechanics with a broad range of program certifications. These certification options may be a singular process or taken in clusters as a student works towards an ASE Master Status. In either case, it is important to know the sub-disciplines within auto mechanics to help your understanding of the industry and better pin-point areas of interest. These certifications include:
- Alternative Fuels
- Advanced Engine Performance Specialist
- Transit Bus
- Medium-Heavy Truck
- Auto Repair Maintenance and Light Repair
- Hybrid Electric
- Electronic Diesel Engine Performance
- Automobile and Light Truck
- Exhaust Systems
- Engine Machinist
- Diesel Technology
- Collision Repair and Refinish
- Parts Specialist
- Damage Analysis and Estimating
- Truck Equipment
- Automotive Service Consultant
Popular Auto Mechanic Certifications
The most common certification within the ASE certification process is for passenger automobiles. Programs within this ASE certification hierarchy are broken into eight parts for passenger automobiles:
- Engine Repair
- Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
- Manual Drive Train & Axles
- Suspension & Steering
- Electrical/Electronic Systems
- Heating & Air Conditioning
- Engine Performance
If an individual can pass these eight certification exams, they will be recognized as an ASE Master Technician. Passing these 8 tests can greatly increase the potential income earned by an individual in this field. Certification and master status can also be obtained in other forms of automotive repair such as heavy equipment, motorcycle repair, medium-heavy trucks, or school buses.
Auto Mechanic Salary and Career Outlook
The average wage for automotive mechanic is $18.50 per hour, but can be as high as $34.76 per hour based on post high school experience, quality of service, and certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for mechanics looks bright. In fact, an estimated 237,200 new auto mechanic job openings will exist through 2024 with an average annual income of $38,470 during that time frame.
Car mechanics salary will vary by location, shop configuration, hours worked, quality repair work, skills, experience, efficiency, and customer service. A student searching the internet to learn more about locating auto mechanic schools near me, can simply request admissions information from any number of accredited schools through our vast digital portal.
Top States with Highest Employment of Auto Mechanics
- California 63,550
- Texas 47,080
- Florida 45,810
- New York 34,830
- Pennsylvania 31,720
Top 5 Highest Paying States for Auto Mechanics
- District of Columbia $64,560
- Alaska $54,544
- Maryland $47,100
- New Jersey $47,010
- California $46,650
Types of Auto Shops and Mechanic Specialties
Automotive repair shops come in all varieties, from the small local shop to large dealerships. Additionally, a specialty business can range from radiator repair to transmission overhauls and auto salvage. Individuals looking for a career as an auto service repair tech can pursue work through these niche service providers, eventually garnering enough experience to open their own business.
The increasing complexity of automobiles can be a limiting factor in opening one's own location, as many modern automobiles require diagnostic tools that are either cost prohibitive or considered proprietary by the manufacturer and only available through dealerships. Tool makers will attempt to provide diagnostic machines for modern vehicles, but calibration and diagnostic technology may or may not be immediately available.
Another facet for an auto repair technology is restoration work, which is often considered an art form. The taking of classic automobiles and returning them to factory quality standards is a time consuming job, but can be lucrative, especially if one obtains notoriety for their work. Often restoration specialists will focus on a particular type of automobile, such as only working on British automobiles, or only working on Porsches, as the knowledge necessary to put together a vehicle from scratch is extensive, and requires an understanding the minutiae of that particular type of automobile.
Experienced automobile mechanics often demand a premium for service, which usually translates to a higher quality repair. Individuals looking to apprentice under a mechanic should consider the reputation, experience, and quality of work of their possible mentors. By taking the time to research their employer, an aspiring mechanic can ensure longevity in his or her career due to obtaining the proper practical experience necessary to work on vehicles and operating a business.
Additional Information for Auto Mechanics
Those interested in auto mechanics technology training programs may also be curious about engine machining, aircraft mechanics and maintenance, diesel technology, auto body, welding, automotive engineering, and motorcycle maintenance and repair. For additional information about a career in auto mechanics, check out our Essential Auto Mechanic Career Guide on our blog.
Top Mechanic Resources
Students may be interested in learning more about auto mechanic career pathways through associations. The ASA, AMRA, and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) are national mechanic associations that may be worth investigating for students serious about their future. Students may find value in the education, continuing education, research, and networking opportunities associations provide its members across the nation.