Public School System Programs
Automotive training programs offered through the public school system (secondary and post-secondary) offer some of the best results (based on the investment level in time and money). Public education programs cost much less than private programs since the training is being subsidized by the state and almost all the training counts towards a higher degree.
Public education training programs are also more prevalent in the community than other types of training. For example, in North Carolina, the A.A.S. in Automotive Technology degree is offered at 35 community colleges taught by 120 instructors.
Private (Non For Profit) Programs
This lesson also includes some private, non-profit, schools since they are somewhat similar to public programs. Private, for-profit, schools are very different than public programs; therefore, they are covered in the Private (For Profit) Programs lesson.
ASE Education Foundation Accreditation
In some cases, multiple secondary and post-secondary automotive programs may be available with a reasonable commute, and researching the strength of the available programs is prudent. One of the best indicators of a well-run program is ASE Education Foundation Accreditation.
The ASE Education Foundation certifies automotive training programs much like ASE certifies automotive technicians. The accreditation process is extensive, time-consuming, and expensive. It takes a serious commitment from the school’s administration, the department head, the department’s instructors, and the program’s advisory committee to succeed. If a program is not accredited, there is likely a lack of commitment or leadership from one, or more, of these crucial groups.
Benefits of an Accredited Automotive Program
- The program could be considered for an OEM Co-Op program such as:
- GM ASEP, Ford ASSET, Honda PACT, Toyota T-TEN, BMW STEP, etc.
- Often, advanced instructor training is only made available to instructors from an accredited program.
- Most automotive manufacturers will not donate vehicles to a noncredited program
- Most equipment manufacturers will not donate equipment to a noncredited program
- Students enrolled in accredited programs earn credit toward their ASE Certification work requirements.
Note: An ASE accreditation does not guarantee the credits earned will count towards a higher degree.
Find an ASE Accredited Program
Weblink: ASE Education Program Lookup
Many secondary (high school) school systems offer automotive training programs. Many are quite good and are part of a larger effort to promote the trades through dedicated “Career Centers”. A good example of this is the Iredell-Statesville Automotive Technology Center in Troutman, NC. WIX Filters, in conjunction with Tomorrow’s Tech magazine, named Iredell-Statesville Automotive Technology Center in Troutman, NC, the 2015 School of the Year.
If you have an interest in cars while still attending high school, look into what is available from the local secondary school system. If an automotive program is available in your area, go ahead and enroll. Start getting ready for your education journey to become a professional automotive technician.
AIST – A Revolution in Tech Education
The Automotive Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) is a charter school scheduled to open in Colorado Springs, CO in 2020. AIST is not following the routine of a typical “Career Center”. For example, AIST is not run by a career public educator. The president of AIST is Chris Chesney the senior director of training at the Carquest Technical Institute (CTI).
“There are no traditional classrooms in the building. It’s all project-based,” says Chesney. “Our goal is to prove the education model, scale it, and build other schools like it in the country.”
At AIST students can enroll in a 4 or 6-year program, starting their freshman year of high school and continuing through their second year of college. Six-year graduates will receive:
- A.A.S. Automotive Technology Degree
- ASE Certifications
- Work experience
- Mastery of skills prescribed by the industry
- Employment opportunities at shops or parts stores.
The curriculum is STEM-based, referring to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This means all the related classes, even History and English, are relevant to the automotive service industry.
Podcast: The Future of Automotive Education
Post Secondary Programs
1 Year – Diploma
While some post-secondary programs still offer a diploma in automotive technology, one year is just not enough time to cover all the systems on a car at any significant depth. A student that plans to enter the automotive service industry as a technician, should consider skipping the diploma program and commit to the 2 year Associate Degree.
2 Year – Associate Degree
A two-year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Automotive Technology degree offered through a post-secondary state-supported school (such as a community college) offers about the best combination of cost, time, and quality of education. In most cases, the credits earned in an A.A.S. degree count towards a Bachelor of Science, (B.S.) degree. This concept is often referred to as a “2+2” approach. You combine credits from a two-year A.A.S degree with two more years to earn a B.S. degree.
OEM Specific Programs
Many automotive manufacturers have partnered with post-secondary schools to offer a program that prepares the graduate to work in their dealerships. These programs typically have two major components:
- Brand Specific Training Content – Within an OEM program, the standard curriculum is usually replaced with the OEM’s curriculum (typically all delivered online)
- Extensive Co-Op “Hands-On” Training – Students participating in an OEM Co-Op program will spend about 50% of their time working in a dealership.
The table below contains all the OEM sponsored training programs that are integrated into an A.A.S Automotive Technology Program offered at some public schools.
|Chrysler / Dodge1||Mopar CAP||100|
|General Motors (GM)2||ASEP||57|
- Also Jeep, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo
- Also Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac
Post Secondary 4-Yr Programs
Many colleges offer a four year automotive program. They often follow the 2+2 model that counts an A.A.S. in Automotive Technology as the first two years. Then two more years in a specialty earns you a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Many of the 2+2 automotive programs are available fully online.
The table below lists most of the four year B.S. programs that are offered by public and private (not for profit) schools.
- Public School
- Private – Not For Profit