Auto Mechanic Schools & Diesel Training
A comprehensive directory of Diesel and Auto Mechanic Schools in the United States and Canadian Campuses by State and Provence
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  • Auto & Diesel Training Schools
    • Formal automotive technician training is necessary in today technology based jobs.
    • Automotive service technicians and mechanics with diagnostic and problem solving skills and knowledge of electronics and mathematics are in high demand.
    • Automotive service technicians and mechanics must continually adapt to changing technology and repair techniques as vehicle components and systems become increasingly sophisticated.
    • Our Automotive and Diesel Schools offer current training and certifications to keep you employed in this challenging career.

    Auto Mechanic Schools Listings

    Nature of the Work for Automotive Mechanic School | Back to Top

    Anyone whose car or light truck has broken down knows the importance of the jobs of automotive service technicians and mechanics. The ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately requires good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. Many technicians consider diagnosing hard to find troubles one of their most challenging and satisfying duties.

    The work of automotive service technicians and mechanics has evolved from mechanical repair to a high technology job. Today, integrated electronic systems and complex computers run vehicles and measure their performance while on the road. Technicians must have an increasingly broad base of knowledge about how vehicles’ complex components work and interact, as well as the ability to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and computer based technical reference materials.

    Automotive service technicians and mechanics use their high tech skills to inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks that have gasoline engines. The increasing sophistication of automotive technology now requires workers who can use computerized shop equipment and work with electronic components while maintaining their skills with traditional hand tools. (Diesel mechanics who work on trucks, buses, and other equipment can be found in the diesel service technicians, Motorcycle mechanic school. repair and service motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, and, occasionally, small all terrain vehicles and small engine repair.

    When mechanical or electrical troubles occur, technicians first get a description of the symptoms from the owner or, if they work in a large shop, the repair service estimator who wrote the repair order. To locate the problem, technicians use a diagnostic approach. First, they test to see whether components and systems are proper and secure. Then, they isolate the components or systems that could not logically be the cause of the problem. For example, if an air conditioner malfunctions, the technician’s diagnostic approach can pinpoint a problem as simple as a low coolant level or as complex as a bad drive train connection that has shorted out the air conditioner. Technicians may have to test drive the vehicle or use a variety of testing equipment, such as onboard and handheld diagnostic computers or compression gauges, to identify the source of the problem. These tests may indicate whether a component is salvageable or whether a new one is required to get the vehicle back in working order.

    During routine service inspections, technicians test and lubricate engines and other major components. In some cases, the technician may repair or replace worn parts before they cause breakdowns that could damage critical components of the vehicle. Technicians usually follow a checklist to ensure that they examine every critical part. Belts, hoses, plugs, brake and fuel systems, and other potentially troublesome items are among those closely watched.

    Service technicians use a variety of tools in their work power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches to remove bolts quickly; machine tools like lathes and grinding machines to rebuild brakes; welding and flame cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems, and jacks and hoists to lift cars and engines. They also use common hand tools, such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches, to work on small parts and in hard to reach places.

    In modern repair shops, service technicians compare the readouts from diagnostic testing devices with the benchmarked standards given by the manufacturer of the components being tested. Deviations outside of acceptable levels are an indication to the technician that further attention to an area is necessary. The testing devices diagnose problems and make precision adjustments with calculations downloaded from large computerized databases. The computerized systems provide automatic auto school updates to technical manuals to keep current on problem spots and to learn new procedures.

    Automotive service technicians in large shops have increasingly become specialized. For example, transmission technicians and rebuilders work on gear trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps, and other parts of transmissions. Extensive knowledge of computer controls, the ability to diagnose electrical and hydraulic problems, and other specialized skills are needed to work on these complex components, which employ some of the most sophisticated technology used in vehicles. Tuneup technicians adjust the ignition timing and valves, and adjust or replace spark plugs and other parts to ensure efficient engine performance. They often use electronic testing equipment to isolate and adjust malfunctions in fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems.

    Automotive air conditioning repairers install and repair air conditioners and service their components, such as compressors, condensers, and controls. These workers require special training in Federal and State regulations governing the handling and disposal of refrigerants. Front end mechanics align and balance wheels and repair steering mechanisms and suspension systems. They frequently use special alignment equipment and wheel balancing machines. Brake repairers adjust brakes, replace brake linings and pads, and make other repairs on brake systems. Some technicians and mechanics specialize in both brake and front end work.

    Working Conditions | Back to Top

    About half of automotive service technicians work a standard 40 hour week, but almost 30 percent work more than 40 hours a week. Many of those working extended hours are self employed technicians. To satisfy customer service needs, some service shops offer evening and weekend service. Generally, service technicians work indoors in well ventilated and lighted repair shops. However, some shops are drafty and noisy. Although they fix some problems with simple computerized adjustments, technicians frequently work with dirty and greasy parts, and in awkward positions. They often lift heavy parts and tools. Minor cuts, burns, and bruises are common, but technicians usually avoid serious accidents when the shop is kept clean and orderly and safety practices are observed.

    Employment Back to Top

    Automotive service technicians and mechanics held about 900,000 jobs in 2003. The majority worked for automotive repair and maintenance shops, automobile dealers, and retailers and wholesalers of automotive parts, accessories, and supplies. Others found employment in gasoline stations; home and auto supply stores; automotive equipment rental and leasing companies; Federal, State, and local governments; and other organizations. About 16 percent of service technicians were self employed, more than twice the proportion for all installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.

    Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement Back to Top

    Automotive technology and diesel training courses are rapidly increasing in sophistication, and most training authorities strongly recommend that persons seeking automotive service technician or small engine repair complete a formal training program in high schools or in a postsecondary vocational schools. However, some service technicians still learn the trade solely by assisting and learning from experienced workers.

    Our web site provides high schools, community colleges, and public and private vocational and technical schools that offer automotive mechanic service technician training programs. The traditional postsecondary programs usually provide a thorough career preparation that expands upon the student’s high school repair experience.

    Postsecondary automotive technician training programs and diesel programs vary greatly in format, but normally provide intensive career preparation through a combination of classroom instruction and hands on practice. Some trade and technical school programs provide concentrated training for 6 months to a year, depending on how many hours the student attends each week. Community college programs normally spread the training over 2 years; supplement the automotive training with instruction in English, basic mathematics, computers, and other subjects; and award an associate degree or certificate. Some students earn repair certificates and opt to leave the program to begin their career before graduation. Recently, some programs have added to their curriculums training on employability skills such as customer service and stress management. Employers find that these skills help technicians handle the additional responsibilities of dealing with the customers and parts vendors.

    High school programs, while an asset, vary greatly in quality. The better programs, such as the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES), with about 150 participating schools and more than 300 participating dealers, conclude with the students receiving their technician’s certification and high school diploma. Other programs offer only an introduction to automotive technology and service for the future consumer or hobbyist. Still others aim to equip graduates with enough skills to get a job or find money or attend an auto mechanic’s school.

    The various automobile manufacturers and their participating dealers sponsor 2 year associate degree programs at postsecondary schools across the Nation. The Accrediting Commission of Career School and Colleges of Technology(ACCSCT) currently certifies a number of automotive and diesel technology schools. Schools update their curriculums frequently to reflect changing technology and equipment. Students in these programs typically spend alternate 6 to 12 week periods attending classes full time and working full time in the service departments of sponsoring dealers. At these dealerships, students get practical experience while assigned to an experienced worker who provides hands on instruction and timesaving tips.

    The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), an affiliate of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and Universal Technical Institute, establish the standards by which training facilities become certified. Once the training facility achieves these minimal standards, NATEF recommends the facility to ASE for certification. The ASE certification is a nationally recognized standard for programs offered by high schools, postsecondary trade schools, technical institutes, and community colleges that train automobile service technicians. Automotive manufacturers provide ASE certified instruction, service equipment, and current model cars on which students practice new skills and learn the latest automotive technology. While ASE certification is voluntary, it does signify that the program meets uniform standards for instructional facilities, equipment, staff credentials, and curriculum. To ensure that programs keep up with ever changing technology, repair techniques, and ASE standards, the certified programs are subjected to periodic compliance reviews and mandatory re-certification. NATEF program experts also review and update program standards to match the level of training and skill level achievement necessary for success in the occupation. In 2002, about 1,200 high school and postsecondary automotive service technician training programs had been certified by ASE.

    For trainee automotive service technician jobs, employers look for people with strong communication and analytical skills. Technicians need good reading, mathematics, and computer skills to study technical manuals and to keep abreast of new technology and learn new service and repair procedures and specifications. Trainees also must possess mechanical aptitude and knowledge of how automobiles work. Most employers regard the successful completion of a vocational training program in automotive service technology as the best preparation for trainee positions. Experience working on motor vehicles in the Armed Forces or as a hobby also is valuable. Because of the complexity of new vehicles, a growing number of employers require completion of high school or GED and additional postsecondary training. Courses in automotive repair, electronics, physics, chemistry, English, computers, and mathematics provide a good educational background for a career as a service technician.

    Many new cars have several onboard computers, operating everything from the engine to the radio. Some of the more advanced vehicles have global positioning systems, Internet access, and other high tech features integrated into the functions of the vehicle. Therefore, knowledge of electronics and computers has grown increasingly important for service technicians. Engine controls and dashboard instruments were among the first components to use electronics but, now, everything from brakes to transmissions and air conditioning systems to steering systems is run primarily by computers and electronic components. In the past, a specialist usually handled any problems involving electrical systems or electronics. Now that electronics are so common, it is essential for service technicians to be familiar with at least the basic principles of electronics.

    Beginners usually start as trainee technicians, mechanics’ helpers, lubrication workers, or gasoline service station attendants, and gradually acquire and practice their skills by working with experienced mechanics and technicians. With a few months’ experience, beginners perform many routine service tasks and make simple repairs. It usually takes 2 to 5 years of experience to become a journey level service technician, who is expected to quickly perform the more difficult types of routine service and repairs. However, some graduates of postsecondary automotive training programs are often able to earn promotion to the journey level after only a few months on the job. An additional 1 to 2 years of experience familiarizes mechanics and technicians with all types of repairs. Difficult specialties, such as transmission repair, require another year or two of training and experience. In contrast, brake specialists may learn their jobs in considerably less time because they do not need a complete knowledge of automotive repair.

    In the past, many persons became automotive service technicians through 3 or 4 year formal apprenticeship programs. However, apprenticeships have become rare, as formal vocational training programs in automotive service technology have become more common.

    At work, the most important possessions of technicians and mechanics are their hand tools Technicians and mechanics usually provide their own tools, and many experienced workers have thousands of dollars invested in them. Employers typically furnish expensive power tools, engine analyzers, and other diagnostic equipment, but technicians accumulate hand tools with experience. Some formal training programs have alliances with tool manufacturers that help entry level technicians accumulate tools during their training period.

    Employers increasingly send experienced automotive service technicians to manufacturer training centers to learn to repair new models or to receive special training in the repair of components, such as electronic fuel injection or air conditioners. Motor vehicle dealers also may send promising beginners to manufacture sponsored mechanic training programs. Employers typically furnish this additional training to maintain or upgrade employees’ skills and thus increase the employees’ value to the dealership. Factory representatives also visit many shops to conduct short training sessions.

    Experienced technicians who have leadership ability sometimes advance to shop supervisor or service manager. Those who work well with customers may become automotive repair service estimators. Some with sufficient funds open independent repair shops.

    Job Outlook | Back to Top

    Job opportunities in this occupation are expected to be very good for persons who complete automotive training programs in high school, vocational and technical schools, or community colleges. Persons with good diagnostic and problem solving skills, and whose training includes basic electronics skills, should have the best opportunities. For well prepared people with a technical background, automotive service technician careers offer an excellent opportunity for good pay and the satisfaction of highly skilled work with vehicles incorporating the latest in high technology. However, persons without formal automotive training are likely to face competition for entry level jobs.

    Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to increase about as fast as the average through the year 2012. Over the 2002 12 period, population growth will boost demand for motor vehicles, which will require regular maintenance and service. Growth of the labor force and in the number of families in which both spouses need vehicles to commute to work will contribute to increased vehicle sales and employment in this industry. As personal incomes continue to rise, greater numbers of persons will be able to afford the luxury of owning multiple vehicles, which also should increase the number of passenger cars in operation. In addition, increasing demand due to growth in the number of vehicles in operation will be partially offset by improvements in vehicle quality and durability that improve reliability and reduce the need for extensive repair and maintenance.

    Employment growth will continue to be concentrated in automobile dealerships and independent automotive repair shops. Many new jobs also will be created in small retail operations that offer after warranty repairs, such as oil changes, brake repair, airconditioner service, and other minor repairs generally taking less than 4 hours to complete. Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics in gasoline service stations will continue to decline, as fewer stations offer repair services.

    In addition to job openings due to growth, a substantial number of openings will be created by the need to replace experienced technicians who transfer to other occupations or who retire or stop working for other reasons. Most persons who enter the occupation can expect steady work, because changes in general economic conditions and developments in other industries have little effect on the automotive repair business.

    Earnings | Back to Top

    Median hourly earnings of automotive service technicians and mechanics, including commission, were $18.47 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $20.61 and $29.84. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.14, and the highest 20 percent earned more than $84.66. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of service technicians in 2002 were as follows:

    Local government $23.04
    Automobile dealers $84.66
    Gasoline stations $18.04
    Automotive repair and maintenance $12.77
    Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores $15.60

    Many experienced technicians employed by automobile dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this method, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned mechanics and technicians a minimum weekly salary.

    Related Occupations | Back to Top

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    Other workers who repair and service motor vehicles include auto body collision school and related repairers, diesel service technicians, and small engine mechanic schools.

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