Americans love to travel -- there were more than 263 million registered vehicles traveling on America's highways in 2015, including nearly 190 million passenger cars and trucks.
That's a lot of vehicle to keep on the road, which ensures a steady need for skilled auto mechanics and service technicians. The following list highlights 10 of the nation's best schools for automotive technology degree programs for students who want to enter the automotive repair trade. Programs culminate in either a certificate, diploma or associate degree in automotive technology. Students who complete these programs gain the skills necessary for entry-level positions at independent repair shops or automotive dealership service centers.
Continue reading for more information about our 10 best colleges for automotive technology degrees, as well as other helpful information, such as scholarships, career outlooks and more.
Best Colleges for Automotive Technology Degree Programs
Students interested in careers in the automotive service and repair industry can use this list to learn more about 10 of the best schools for automotive technology degree programs. We used data provided by the National Center for Education statistics and a unique methodology to generate a snapshot of the 10 best colleges for automotive technology degree programs. Read on to learn more about the featured colleges, or click on the button below for more insight into how this list was created.
Kicking off our list of best schools for automotive technology degree programs is this two-year public community college located in the Mesa/Scripps Ranch suburb of San Diego. The college was founded in 1969 as a training facility for firefighters and law enforcement, and it still provides training for almost all the law enforcement officers and firefighters working within San Diego County.
San Diego Miramar College offers both certificates of achievement and an Associate of Science degree program in automotive technology. The college offers two pathways in the field: general automotive and Honda PACT Toyota T-Ten. The four certificate programs in automotive technology are automotive chassis, electrical, engine performance and transmissions. Certificate programs require between 16 and 20 credits to complete, while the A.A. degree requires a minimum of 60 credits. The Honda program is for technicians who wish to specialize in that manufacturers vehicles.
In-state tuition at the college was a favorable $1,142, and SDMC also has an open admissions policy and the third-highest graduation rate of any institution in these rankings. It also had the highest number of automotive technology degrees awarded to students.
LATTC has provided technical and vocational education to residents of Southern California since 1925. In-state tuition is a low $1,220, and students can take advantage of flexible scheduling with evening and weekend classes and get their careers started with placement services for program graduates.
The college offers a certificate of achievement and Associate of Science degree in automotive and related technology. The certificate pathway requires at least 36 units to complete, while the A.S. degree requires a minimum of 60 credits. LATTC also has certificate programs in automotive tune-up and transmission repair. Both programs require 18 major units for completion.
Located at the site of the former Walker Air Force Base, Eastern New Mexico University's Roswell Campus enrolls more than 3,000 students each semester. The college makes this list in the third spot based on its open admissions policy and low 13:1 student to faculty ratio. Students also can take advantage of the college's alternative tuition payment plan and academic and career counseling services.
ENMU-Roswell offers three options for study in automotive technology:
- Associate of Applied Science degree (70 credit hours)
- Certificate of Employability (40 credit hours)
- Certificate of Occupational Training (52 credit hours)
The A.A.S. automotive technology program is certified by Snap-On tools. Students who enroll in the program are expected to purchase their own hand tools. ENMU-Roswell also offers a certificate in automotive brakes that requires six credit hours to complete.
The fourth institution in our rankings is located in northern part of Orange County, Calif. It's one of three colleges in the North Orange County Community College District.
Students interested in careers in the automotive industry have many different options for study at Cypress College. The college, which enrolls approximately 15,500 students each year, offers both a certificate of achievement (55-56 units) and an Associate in Science degree (60 units) in automotive technology. Curriculum for the certificate program is entirely rooted in automotive courses, while the A.S. degree includes 25 units of general education.
Cypress College also offers 16-credit certificate programs in brakes and alignment, engine specialization, emissions, performance and drivability, transmission specialist, electronics diagnostics and auto sales and customer service. There is a maintenance technician certificate as well that requires 38 credits to complete.
Our fifth college hails from the city of Alameda just south of Oakland, Calif. The two-year community college's automotive technology is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and prepares students to work in auto dealerships and repair centers throughout the East Bay and Bay Area.
Students who complete the program from College of Alameda graduate with an Associate of Science degree and gain one year of credited experience in the ASE's auto mechanic certification program (two years of work experience are required for ASE certification). Program major options include chassis and drivetrains, light-duty repair, electronics, repair specialist and engine performance. Students also can pursue a certificate in each topic and skip the general education requirements for an associate degree.
In-state tuition at the college was $1,156, and students also can take advantage of night and weekend classes.
Located at Tucumcari, N.M., this two-year college places sixth in our rankings based on its high graduation rate and open admissions policy. Mesalands also tied for first with one other institution for its low 13:1 student to faculty ratio.
The college offers an occupational certificate and an Associate of Applied Science degree in automotive technology. The one-year, two-semester certificate program requires 37 credits to complete, while the two-year A.A.S. degree requires 61. Both programs provide students with an educational foundation for careers in service and diagnostics for passenger and light-duty commercial vehicles. Instruction is a mix of lecture and laboratory learning.
Mesalands Community College also offers the same pathways in diesel technology.
This two-year college based in Augusta, Ga. was founded in 1961. Augusta Technical College offers a diploma program in automotive technology that runs for 18 months. The program prepares students to work as service and repair professionals by developing academic, technical and professional skills necessary to gain employment at dealerships and repair shops.
ATC also has certificate programs in chassis technician, engine performance technology and transmission/transaxle specialist that run for six months. The college places seventh in our rankings of top schools for automotive repair degree programs based on its strong graduation rate, open admissions policy and low 15:1 student to faculty ratio. Students also can take advantage of career placement services and the college's academic and career counseling services.
The eighth institution in our rankings has campus locations throughout the City of San Francisco. Total enrollment in the fall of 2017 was more than 27,000 students.
CCSF offers many different educational opportunities for aspiring auto mechanics. The automotive technology training program culminates in an A.S. degree, or students can pursue a 48-unit certificate as automotive diagnosticians. There are five shorter certificate programs as well that require between 16 and 20 credits to complete. Areas of study include brakes, transmissions, engine repair and hybrid and electrical vehicle technology.
City College of San Francisco offers career placement services for graduates, who have a wide range of options for employment within San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.
CRC is a small two-year college located south of downtown Sacramento, with an additional educational center located in the nearby city of Elk Grove.
Cosumnes River College offers Associate of Science degrees in automotive mechanics technology and automotive mechanics technology-Ford Asset. Both programs require 60 credits to complete, but they can be completed on one year of full-time study.
The standard automotive technology program develops skills necessary to work in service and repair on a wide range of vehicles. The Ford program, meanwhile, is a partnership between CRC and Ford Motor Company. Student spend eight weeks of each semester training at CRC under the supervision of a certified Ford instructor, and another eight weeks of hands-on training at a Ford dealership under the supervision of Ford-certified technicians.
CRC also offers 15 different certificate programs ranging from suspension and steering to Ford specialties in brakes, electrical systems or transmissions and transaxles.
Rounding out our featured list of the automotive technology degree programs is this two-year community college located on an 87-acre campus in West Seattle. More than 52 percent of the college's 25,592 students in fall of 2017 enrolled in some form of technical or professional program.
South Seattle College offer a certificate and an Associate of Applied Science degree in automotive technology. The certificate program runs for seven quarters, while the A.A.S. degree requires a two-year commitment. Students must purchase hard-toed boots, coveralls and hand tools for either study path.
South Seattle College also offers a one-year certificate program in maintenance and light repair that qualifies graduates for entry-level work in the automotive industry. The college places 10th in our rankings due to high graduation rate, which was best among these 10 institutions, and it also had the highest number of automotive technology degrees/certificates conferred by the college. However, SSC had the highest cost of in-state tuition of any college at $3,824.
Automotive Technology Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Students who complete certificate or associate degree programs in automotive technology are well-positioned to gain entry-level employment in the field of automotive service and repair. Programs vary in length from six months to two years for A.S. or A.A.S. degrees. Oftentimes, students who work at auto dealerships or larger repair centers can get employee sponsorships to pay for their education. Graduates of associate degree programs typically require little on-the-job-training, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes.
Below are a few of the most common career paths for students who complete automotive technology degree programs.
Career Outlook for Automotive Technology Majors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 750,000 auto mechanics and service technicians working in 2016. Employment is expected to grow 6 percent, or more than 47,600 new jobs, by 2026.
Job opportunities are typically found at automotive dealerships and independent repair shops. Qualified candidates who have certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence face the best job prospects.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||$46,460||142,060||8.7%|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||$36,370||19,640||6.6%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||$43,730||648,050||6.3%|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Automotive Technology
Students who enroll in automotive technology degree programs can apply for federal financial aid, or pursue many different dedicated scholarships. The Automotive Hall of Fame provides a scholarship for first-year and upper-level undergraduate students. The Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium and University of the Aftermarket Foundation provide a comprehensive list of scholarships from aftermarket parts dealers and related organizations. And many trade organizations, such as Women in Autocare, provide hefty annual scholarships for students.
To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.
- Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
- Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.
Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.
- In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
- Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
- Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
- Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
- Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
- Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
- Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- U.S. Population, United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/popclock/
- U.S. Aircraft, Vehicles, Vessels and other Conveyances, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_11.html
- Automotive technology, San Diego Miramar College, http://www.sdmiramar.edu/programs/automotive-technology
- Automotive and related technology, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, http://college.lattc.edu/docs/catalog/factsheets/Automotive_Related_Technology.pdf
- Automotive technology, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, http://www.roswell.enmu.edu/automotive-technology/
- Automotive technology, Cypress College Catalog, Page 98, http://news.cypresscollege.edu/Documents/2017-18_Cypress_College_Catalog.pdf
- Automotive technology, College of Alameda, http://alameda.peralta.edu/college-catalog/files/2017/09/Automotive-Technology.pdf
- Automotive technology, Mesalands Community College, https://www.mesalands.edu/academic-programs/degrees-certificates/diesel-technology/
- Automotive Technology, Augusta Technical College, http://www.augustatech.edu/automotive_technology.html
- Automotive technology training program, City College of San Francisco, http://www.ccsf.edu/en/educational-programs/school-and-departments/school-of-science-and-mathematics/automotive_construction_maintenance/auto-mechanic.html
- Automotive Mechanics Technology Program, Consumnes River College, https://www.crc.losrios.edu/areas/ct/amt
- Degree options, automotive technology, South Seattle College, http://www.southseattle.edu/programs/proftech/automotive/automotive-technology/degree-options.aspx
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.