11 Continuing Education Training

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Table of Contents

Training Overview

Core Training Vs Continuing Education Training

Obtaining a core level of training (preferably an A.A.S. in Automotive Technology) at the beginning of an automotive career is a good start; however, in reality it should be the beginning of a career-long commitment to training. The modern day automobile has become so complicated that automotive technicians find themselves becoming obsolete if they do not commit to an aggressive continuing education training plan.

Continuing education training in the automotive service industry takes a commitment from both the technician and the shop owner in time and money. Therefore, when seeking employment, a shop’s commitment to ongoing continuing education training should be one of the key points for a tech to consider.

Training Plan

In the best-case scenario, each technician would have an annual training plan that defines points such as:

  • The minimum number of hours/year the shop is committed to upgrade training
  • The specific type of training the tech should be involved in
  • Who is going to pay for the training?
    • Will the time off to attend training be paid for?
    • Will the travel and other expenses be paid for?

Parts Manufacturer Based Programs

Parts manufacturer based training has evolved over the years from a “sales pitchy” experience to some of the best technical training in the industry. Some of the more prominent parts manufacturer based training programs are listed below.

Carquest Technical Institute

Carquest has one of the most aggressive aftermarket training programs in the industry. They offer both instructor-led and self-paced online training.

Instructor-Led – The instructor-led classes are typically marketed to shops through an outside salesperson. The classes tend to be managed within regions that tend to use the same instructor and location for each series of classes. The pricing is based on the number of techs a shop commits to sending to the training.

Online – CTI also offers a large number of online classes that cover almost any topic of interest.

Garage Gurus

Garage Gurus is the training division of the large automotive parts manufacturer Federal-Mogul. Garage Gurus offers three training programs:

Gurus On-Site Training – 12 State-of-the-art Technical Service Centers (TSC)
Gurus Online Training – 109 Online Courses
Gurus On-The-Go – 35 Gurus-On-The-Go Product

NAPA Training

NAPA offers training programs for the DIY (Auto Know) and professional technician and shop owner.

Training Programs

AutoTech – Online and classroom training for technicians, service advisors, and shop owners & managers.

Standard Motor Company

Standard Motor Products offers a variety of training classes that relate to the electrical parts they manufacture and sell. These classes tend to be offered through parts warehouses and stores and a notice of the classes is pushed through the outside sales force.

On-Site – Standard Motor offers 10 onsite classes

On-Demand – On-Demand training allows you to participate when and where you need the information – in the shop or from the comfort of your office or den.

Hands-On – Standard offers hands-on training at their corporate training center in Irving, Texas. Here the technicians will spend two days in the classroom and the shop, learning new techniques and practicing them on real vehicles. At the end of the session the technician can return to work with not only new information, but a sense of ‘Been there, done that’ confidence. Check with your Standard parts supplier to enroll.

WorldPac Technical Institute

WORLDPAC Technical Institute is similar to Carquest Technical Institute (same owner); however, WORLDPAC training is focused more on the import line of cars.

Online Training – Live online webinars, interactive instructor-led classes, pre-recorded class videos, and more

Instructor Led – Training – Advanced level diagnostic training for independent repair technicians.

Business Development – Training in the management of the repair shop business.

Smart Groups – Groups that meet via conference call on a monthly basis and in-person for two days 4-5 times per year. Better yet, each group is led by a professional facilitator with years of experience in your business.

Training Conferences / Shows

Automotive Service & Technology Expo (ASTE)

While the Automotive Service & Technology Expo (ASTE) is relatively young, it has grown to be one of the major annual automotive conferences. It is known for lots of networking opportunities such as The Pre-Party on Friday night and the “private” hospitality suite that closes around midnight!

Show Details

  • Date: Sept 28-30 2023
  • Website: https://astausa.org
  • Location: Sheraton Imperial – Raleigh-Durham RTP, NC
  • Highlights
    • Automotive Tradeshow on Saturday
    • 2 Days Full of High Tech Automotive Training
    • 36 Management & Technical Seminars
    • Nationally Recognized Speakers


The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) started in 1967 and moved its fall show to Las Vegas in 1977 where it continues to this day. However, SEMA represents the equipment (parts) business, not the automotive service sector. However, over time other associations that did represent the service sector began holding conferences in Vegas at the same time. In 1992, the event was marketed as “Automotive Industry Week” and that title still exists to this day.

Currently the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) is the show that represents the automotive service sector. It holds a show in Vegas (along with some other smaller service related groups) at the Sands Convention Center while the SEMA Show is being held a mile away in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Typically registration at one show gets you into the other show and shuttle buses run all day.

Show Details

TST Seminars (Big Event)

Technician Service Training (TST) is a group of dedicated technicians and instructors who believe in updating and educating fellow technicians, providing reasonably priced seminars as well as hosting a yearly full-day Saturday “Big Event”. The seminars are presented by nationally recognized instructors, who are all “hands-on” industry experts with up to date knowledge about current trends and practices. They provide useful information and skills to help you master those tough jobs that we all see on a regular basis.

Show Details

  • Date: Yearly Event (Typically held in August – September)
  • Website: TST Technicians Service Training
  • Location: Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591, USA

VISION – High Tech and Training Expo

VISION Hi-Tech Training & Expo provides the opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and gain new skills, all while networking with leading industry professionals. In 2019, VISION hosted over 3,500 attendees from 43 U.S. states, 7 Canadian provinces, Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, and Zimbabwe. Choose from more than 100 cutting-edge management, technical, educator, and heavy-duty training courses. VISION also features a 60,000 square-foot exhibit hall showcasing the latest tools, equipment, and technology.

  • Date: Yearly Event (Typically held in March)
  • Website: https://www.visionkc.com
  • Location: Overland Park Convention Center – Overland Park, KS

Online Training – Independent

Gearhead School

Gearhead School, the owner of this website, offers the following two training products.

Automotive Essentials Course

The Automotive Essentials Course covers all the core essentials to get started in the automotive service industry. It has 70 topic-specific lessons sorted into the following units:

  • Industry Terminology
  • Automotive Careers
  • Automotive Shiop Types
  • Hands Tools
  • Shop Physics
  • Automotive Fasteners
  • Service Fluids
  • Diagnostic Procedures
  • Maintenance Procedures
  • Service Information Systems
  • Industry Training Programs
  • Industry Certifications
  • Electrical Essentials

This course is available to individuals and also in a “Per Seat Model”. A shop, or other organization, can buy a set number of seats and change techs out of the seats as needed through their Account Dashboard.

Curated YouTube Database

There is a lot of good automotive content on YouTube; however, it is hidden among all the content targeted toward consumers. That all changed with Gearhead School’s Curated YouTube Database.

About ten years ago, Grant Swaim – the owner of Gearhead School – started indexing YouTube content for use in the classroom. That index now contains over 3,500 highly curated YouTube videos in an online database. The Curated YouTube Database is a paid product but is made available, for free, to automotive instructors in the public school system (email request to grant.swaim@gearhead.school).

L1 Training

L1 Training is the training site of Keith Perkins the owner of L1 Automotive Diagnostics and Programming. Keith takes what he learns as an active mobile diagnostic tech and brings it to the classroom. He offers both customized face-to-face classes and a suite of online training products, such as:

  • Free
    • Membership – Waveform Library and Free Training
    • Waveform Library – The majority of the waveforms are Picoscope files, the require the (free) Picoscope software to view
  • Paid
    • Monthly – Online Training Access
    • On-Demand – J2534 Module Programming: Domestic and Asian Class

Website: https://www.l1training.com