There Are Many Different Options For Automotive Programs Available To The Vehicle Enthusiast

If you are good at fixing problems and have an interest in motor vehicles, perhaps you are considering a career in automotive repair. You may even have attended a high school vocational program to learn the basics of auto repair. The competition for entry-level auto technician jobs is tough, however. In order to be competitive for a position, you might want to think about getting an automotive repair certificate or Associate's degree.

Post-secondary education is not mandatory for a job in the field of automotive repair, but it is highly recommended. In the past, being a mechanic meant performing routine services and repairs. As cars and trucks incorporate increasingly more advanced technology, however, mechanics must have more knowledge and specialized skills than ever before. In fact, auto technicians often have to return to school periodically to learn about changing technology in the automotive industry so that they are better able to service newer vehicles.

Depending on your location and which postsecondary institution you select, the length of your training program will differ. Trade and technical schools sometimes offer condensed certificate programs. Depending on the number of hours you are able to commit to the programs each week, a certificate from a trade school can be earned within a year or less.

If you choose to attend a community college, you will usually be rewarded an Associate's degree. An Associate's degree program requires about two years of study. You may also have the option to earn repair certificates in particular skills instead.

Unlike a technical school certificate program, an Associate's degree program will require general education classes that may be valuable to a career in automotive repair, such as English, mathematics, computer skills, and other subjects. You may also attend classes related to employability and job performance, such as customer service. Of course, automotive repair classes will be the major area of your focus.

Depending on the opportunities offered in your area, you may be able to join a training program sponsored by an automotive manufacturer or dealer. These programs usually involve hands-on employment in the sponsor's service department, in addition to your classroom-based education. This type of program is an excellent opportunity to gain direct, relevant experience in your field under the supervision of skilled technicians.

After a comprehensive program with plenty of hands-on training, graduates are often able to begin basic mechanic work right away, whereas less experienced candidates may have to start as technicians' helpers or lubrication workers before moving on to perform services and repairs. Becoming a full-fledged service technician generally takes a few years, and many employers will require you to become certified in various service categories by ASE, or Automotive Service Excellence. If you choose to specialize in a particular area of more complex auto repair, this will generally take an additional year or two.