Becoming an auto mechanic with a bright future is no easy task. In fact, automotive mechanics nowadays have to face increasing competition and need to be on the top of their game.
This means that to become a successful automotive service technician, you need to constantly update your knowledge and skills. So what’s the best way to do this?
The answer is simple - auto mechanic schools. There is a long list of auto mechanic schools and programs that you can choose from.
But don’t worry, in this post, we are going to cover all the things you should consider to pick the best mechanics school or college for training and education.
Top Factors To Consider To Pick The Best Mechanics College
The automotive industry has seen steady growth over the past few years and the demand for automotive service technicians has been on the rise. The average range of auto mechanics is between $37,000 and 60,000 a year.
If you are wondering why such a massive difference exists between the two extremes of the range, it is because of the skill level and experience of auto mechanics. Basically, the secret to success for an auto mechanic lies in the right training and education.
So if you’re wondering if going to auto mechanic school is worth the hassle, it definitely is. Going to the right auto mechanic schools and getting the right training and education will help you stand out from the competition.
Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the top factors you need to look at for choosing the right school or college to gain the skills needed to become a capable automotive service technician.
1. Certification and Accreditation
The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits automotive technology schools and programs against standards developed by the automotive service industry.
When looking up auto mechanic schools, it is recommended to do your research and start with the schools listed on the official website of the automotive service excellence (ASE) body.
If a school has the stamp of approval from automotive service excellence (ASE), that is a direct indicator of high-quality education and training.
There are several other accreditations that you can look out for, in the automotive industry. Another accrediting organization in the automotive industry is the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
The stamp of approval from automotive service excellence (ASE) and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) is valuable because they study the quality of automotive management schools in detail.
They carefully analyse the equipment, curriculum, instructors, and facilities of schools, before listing them on their website and recommending them.
2. The Scope of the Class and Program
While it is important to pick a premium quality mechanic school, you also need to pay heed to the scope of the program that the school is offering. There are various types of programs being offered.
For example, you could either opt for a simple automotive technology program or enroll yourself in an automotive engineering technology program, if that’s more your thing.
There are several degrees and certifications to choose from including a bachelor’s degree in field service operations or advanced vehicle systems. The associate of applied science in automotive technology is a degree that has become quite popular in auto mechanics.
However, to analyze the real scope of a class and program you need to think about the following:
- How long is the automotive program for?
- How many students are in the class?
- Does the curriculum include only general information? Or you can take a narrower specialization like automotive service technology?
These are important factors to consider because sometimes, short courses for technical concepts like automotive technology can be too shallow. However, if you pick a program that is too long and you don’t have the time for it, that too can be an issue.
Secondly, the number of students in a class influences the amount of teacher-to-student personal training. This directly impacts the quality of education and training that you will be receiving.
A high teacher-to-student ratio, especially for technical fields like an automotive engineering technology program might mean that you won’t get the attention that you need.
Lastly, the curriculum of the program is critical. Usually, to become the best auto mechanic in your niche, it is recommended that you pick a specialised curriculum. Some auto mechanic programs are niche specific.
An example of such a program would be one on corporate transportation management or a course on automotive technology management.
3. The Instructor’s Competence
Whether you’re pursuing an automotive technology degree or just a short training program, you need to look at the profile of your instructors.
Although evaluating the competence of an instructor is difficult, automotive service technicians should always try to look up the profile and reviews of their teachers.
Instructors who possess relevant experience, skills, and a worthy profile in the relevant field should always hold preference over inexperienced instructors. However, competence is not always gauged by past education or experience.
It is also a good idea to look at the approach of the instructor in terms of teaching. For example, competent instructors for technical fields like automotive engineering technology, advanced vehicle systems, or diesel technology should focus on adding practical exercises in their teaching methods.
Additionally, you should also opt for instructors who are adept at the latest automotive technology in the industry.
The automotive management space is rapidly changing owing to technology and new ways of doing things. Instructors that are up to date with the latest automotive technology are more well-suited for auto mechanics looking to upskill themselves.
4. Automotive Technology and Equipment
While picking auto mechanic schools, you should also opt for ones that are equipped with the latest automotive technology and machinery. After all, you can’t expect to learn from an automotive technology program without having access to the tech stack.
Although the latest automotive technology can be expensive, premium-quality auto mechanic schools often have access to it. Having the right equipment and stack allows these schools to deliver technical programs like an automotive technology program with ease.
Although schools with automotive technology might have higher tuition fees, usually the learning from these places is worth it.
Some other tools that the school should possess for automotive management and training programs include:
- Brake lathe
- Tire changer and balancer
- Air conditioning service equipment
- Tubing bender
- Air compressor
- Two-post lift
- Laser alignment system
However, please note that this list may vary depending on the nature of programs being offered by the schools. This list may differ for a school that is offering a program only on automotive service technology or one that is focused on the field of advanced vehicle systems.
5. The Employment Rate
All automotive programs and schools have employment rates. They represent the overall credibility and ranking of the school in the industry. The higher the employment rate for a school, the better it is for automotive mechanics.
As an auto mechanic focusing on one niche, you should also look at the employment rates for each program that the school is offering. At the end of the day, it is recommended that you choose the program and school with the highest employment rate, in your relevant field. This will ensure that auto repair shop owners who are looking to hire mechanics will consider your school in the field they require.
The Different Types of Degrees in Automotive Technology
Automotive technology is a wide space, from automotive engineering technology to advanced diagnostics, it has it all.
However, if you are interested to pursue a formal education in the field of automotive technology, here is a list of the different degrees available.
1. Associate Degrees
Community colleges and trade schools offer automotive technology associate degrees that prepare students for careers in the industry. These programs can take two years to complete. Students are prepared for careers in auto mechanics, service technicians and parts specialists.
In these automotive degrees, auto mechanics can learn about various concepts like engine performance, diesel technology, automotive service, and automotive maintenance.
All of this knowledge is important to partake in an automotive service business and become a successful mechanic or technician.
2. Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology
While there are many auto mechanic programs to choose from, getting a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology is an excellent option.
A bachelor's program in automotive technology provides more in-depth studies than a certificate or associate program.
Project management, engine performance, service management, vehicle safety and security systems, and automotive customer relations are some of the classroom and hands-on work that is included in these four-year programs.
Learning automotive service management during a bachelor’s degree can help mechanics advance their careers in automotive service.
Collision repair, engine repair, insurance management, automotive dealership management, and specialty auto technician are some of the popular career paths for bachelor's degree graduates.
3. Accreditation for Automotive Technology Programs
Your educational institution's accreditation assures it meets high academic standards. Regional or national accreditations are held by automotive technology and mechanic schools and you can choose the relevant one, depending on your requirements.
Programs within a college can be accredited to meet specialized educational standards.
The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) or the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET) can provide accreditation for automotive technology programs.
The Benefits of Pursuing an Automotive Technology Program
As an auto mechanic, an automotive technology degree can help you gain both, the necessary skills and experience needed to succeed.
In addition to pursuing an online training program, auto mechanics should achieve a full degree in automotive engineering technology, to keep up with the rising demand of the industry.
There are many associate degrees available in automotive service technology. Usually, auto mechanics prefer to begin their academic journey with an associate of applied science in automotive technology.
An associate of applied science in automotive technology is a four-year university degree that prepares you to be a mechanic and teaches you the business skills to advance in the field.
The basic knowledge of collision repair, engine technology, automotive brand specifics, heavy equipment maintenance, and auto part manufacturing is provided by a Bachelor's degree in automotive technology.
You will learn how to run an automotive business by learning about car insurance, auto sales, advanced service facilities, and inventory management.
A bachelor's degree in automotive service technology can give you the education to complete advanced repairs, manage service schedules, and organize customer files as you grow your business.
You can also look for the top automotive engineering programs and automotive degrees in your area.
Students studying automotive technology are prepared for a variety of careers in the industry. Leadership and research careers that help advance the automotive industry can be prepared by studying automotive technology in mechanic schools. Two- and four-year degrees are available in mechanic schools.
Some programs have a concentration in automotive technology or management. A background in automotive technology will lead to exciting careers such as industrial production managers, mechanical engineers, auto mechanics, diesel service technicians, and auto body shop managers.
After gaining the right skills, mechanics can also become supervisors and managers for teams dealing with automotive service technology. Another field of specialization for auto mechanics is advanced vehicle systems.
Common names for these programs include:
- Automotive engineering technology
- Automotive management
- Automotive service technology
- Performance motorsports
- Performance machining
Wrapping it Up
Before deciding to enroll in an automotive school, it is best to understand what you are looking for in an automotive school. There are many schools that offer classes in the fields of auto repair, automotive technology, automotive technology supervision and service management, etc.
The one thing that is important for you to consider is the quality of the instruction and the certification that is provided. The school should have certified instructors who are knowledgeable and skilled. You should also use the factors listed in this post to pick the best one.