For people who enjoy working on cars, getting an auto mechanic certificate could be the key to a satisfying career.
In an online certificate program, you can learn all about the inner workings of vehicles. Through your classes, you can get ready for nationally recognized industry certification programs that could make strategic additions to your resume.
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Automotive service is an exciting career field with many advancement opportunities, and an online certificate program can be the first step toward this path.
Online Auto Mechanic Certificate Programs
Many people drive cars, but not many people know how to work on them. When their cars need repairs or service, they have to turn to the pros. You can become a professional mechanic who knows exactly how to care for people’s vehicles.
Perhaps you’ve done a little work on cars already, but now you’re ready to take your training to the next level. A college certificate in automotive service will help provide the preparation that you need for a career in auto maintenance and repair.
Auto mechanic training will teach you about:
- Climate control
- Electrical systems
In addition, you can learn professional skills during this program. The classes might teach you how to write service orders and provide customer service. You can study how to use tools and maintain safe work environments too.
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Your online program might include opportunities for hands-on experiences. Although you may not ever go to the college’s campus, you might be able to practice your developing skills in a local automotive setting. As you work with in-the-field professionals, you might have opportunities to perform tasks like disassembling and reassembling an engine.
The more hands-on experience you get, the more prepared you may be for industry certification. The National Institute for Automobile Service Excellence (ASE) requires work experience for all certification applicants. Some of your training might count toward that requirement.
After completing your online certificate program, you might be prepared to take and pass some of ASE’s certification exams. Once you’ve fulfilled the work requirement and earned a passing exam score, you can bill yourself as an ASE-certified technician. That credential could look good to both employers and customers.
Certified auto mechanics may work in the service departments of dealerships or repair shops. Some auto mechanics are self-employed and run their own repair services. There may also be opportunities to expand into diesel, heavy machinery, or body repair work. Another option is to pursue a job in auto parts sales.
Auto Mechanic Careers & Salaries
If you’re getting an auto mechanics certificate, it’s probably because you want a job that involves working on cars. As an automotive service technician or a mechanic, you’d perform service and repairs on various automobiles.
You could specialize in a particular type of automotive service. For example, some people focus on servicing brakes, and others are transmission specialists. Getting your automotive mechanics certificate could lead to more advanced training and additional job opportunities. You might learn how to do bodywork and repair crashed vehicles.
Additionally, you could diversify your skill set by learning about other types of vehicles, such as diesel trucks and large equipment. You might start repairing school buses, tractors, or construction equipment. Another idea is to specialize in small engines. You could focus on servicing motorboats or motorcycles. ASE offers certification tests for many specialized roles.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who work in installation, maintenance, and repair positions make a median of $47,940 per year.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives||$62,890|
|Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians||$53,770|
|Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics||$48,690|
|Automotive Body and Glass Repairers||$47,020|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||$46,880|
|Small Engine Mechanics||$39,050|
|Customer Service Representatives||$36,920|
|Retail Sales Workers||$29,180|
While airplanes aren’t quite the same as automobiles, your automotive training might be a good foundation for additional training in aircraft maintenance.
Some people who work in repair shops spend a lot of time interacting with customers. Automotive knowledge could be useful for a customer service job in that setting. Experience as an auto mechanic could also help you in sales roles related to vehicles and engines. For example, you could pursue a retail job in an auto parts store. You might be effective at helping customers find the parts they need for their cars.
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A wholesale sales position might be another possibility. You could sell auto parts and accessories to repair shops, manufacturers, or parts stores. With experience, you might be able to move into a sales management role. Also, some schools offer an on-campus or online automotive management degree program that may be of interest to some students.
Auto Repair Certificate Curriculum & Courses
Through a series of courses, you can learn all about repairing cars, and you’ll also study the professional skills necessary for the automotive industry.
Here are some course examples:
- Automotive Engines: You’ll study how an engine works, and you might also practice disassembling and reassembling vehicle engines.
- Brake Systems: In this class, you’ll study anti-lock brakes, parking brakes, hydraulic brakes, and other topics related to braking.
- Electricity and Electronics for Vehicles: You’ll gain a better understanding of electricity and circuits in this class, and you’ll explore how that foundational knowledge relates to the electrical and electronics systems in a car.
- Foundations of Vehicle Assembly: To begin your program, you might survey the basic parts of a car and how each one works.
- HVAC for Vehicles: This course will teach you what to do when customers are having trouble with the heating, cooling, or ventilation systems in their cars.
- Hybrid Vehicles: Modern vehicles have unique service needs, so you may receive introductory training on hybrids during your automotive service program.
- Safety Principles: Your safety and the safety of those around you should be a top priority whenever you work on cars, so this course will focus on being careful when servicing vehicles and using equipment.
- Service Writing: You’ll gain customer service skills as you learn to speak with customers about their cars’ issues, provide detailed notes for service technicians, and write up bills.
- Suspension and Steering: This class covers topics like tires and steering boxes so that you’ll be prepared to work on problems with cars’ steering and suspension systems.
- Transmissions: As you study manual and automatic transmissions, you might gain hands-on experience with disassembling these vehicle components and putting them back together.
Most courses are designed to prepare you for ASE certification.
How to Become a Certified Mechanic
For a career as a mechanic, it’s strategic to get as much training and certification as possible. Here are some common steps in the process of becoming a certified mechanic:
- Graduate from high school. Most training programs require either a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
- Get postsecondary training. You can enter an automotive mechanic program to learn how to work on the various parts of cars. You’ll graduate with a certificate or a degree that attests to your training.
- Gain work experience. You may get some supervised training during your college program, and you can gain more with a job in the field.
- Earn certification. You can take certification tests from the National Institute for Automobile Service Excellence (ASE). Once you pass a test and complete the required work hours, you can become certified in that area of automotive care.
- Look for advancement opportunities. Being an ASE certified mechanic might qualify you for promotions with more job responsibilities and higher pay.
- Become a Master Technician or specialize in a service area. ASE offers a wide variety of certification programs. The more exams you pass, the more credentials you’ll have to show for it, and the more job opportunities you may have. Completing a particular series of tests can qualify you as an ASE Master Technician.
- Maintain your certifications. ASE requires all mechanics to keep up with ever-changing automotive technology by recertifying every 5 years.
Getting started as a mechanic may take only a few years, but professional development is a lifelong process.
Many trade schools online or on campus have flexible admissions policies for their automotive technician certificate programs and accept a wide variety of students. To get started, you might be required to submit:
- GED certificate or official high school transcripts that show you’ve graduated
- Online application form
- Proof of minimum age—often 16 or 18 years
Many automotive programs accept students throughout the year. Once accepted, you might meet with an admissions counselor to plan your next steps or complete an orientation class to prepare you for online learning.
Some colleges are regionally accredited. That means that they meet educational standards. They’re considered academically reputable. Even though your auto mechanic program will focus on technical skills rather than academic classes, it can still be beneficial to choose a regionally accredited college.
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Accreditation may qualify you to use government financial aid. Your accredited coursework might transfer into a degree program, such as an Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology. Also, some employers put more faith in certificates from accredited schools.
Auto Mechanic Licensure and Certifications
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is committed to excellence in automotive technology. This organization offers certification programs that can demonstrate whether a mechanic is trained and knowledgeable.
ASE’s certification exams include:
- Automobile and Light Truck Brakes
- Automobile and Light Truck Engine Repair
- Medium-Heavy Truck Parts
- School Bus Drive Train
- Transit Bus Diesel Engines
To become certified in an area, it’s necessary to have work experience and to pass a subject-area exam. The more exams you study for and pass, the more job opportunities and responsibilities you may qualify for.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you choose an accredited program, you might be eligible for financial aid to help with your automotive service training.
To receive government grants or loans, it’s necessary to meet a minimum course load each semester. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you learn more about your eligibility. Also, your school might have scholarships for some students. You can pursue scholarship opportunities from other groups too. Some scholarship programs are specifically for students studying automotive trades.
Plus, your employer might be invested in your education. Some automotive workplaces will fund their employees’ training programs.
What Can You Do with an Auto Mechanic Certificate?
After completing a certificate, many people become automotive service technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automobile dealers offer the highest rate of pay for this job. The median salary for dealership mechanics and service technicians is $47,950.
Some people complete additional training so that they can repair other types of vehicles. Diesel mechanics work on vehicles like buses and trucks. Heavy vehicle mechanics service industrial vehicles, such as farming machines and construction equipment. A certificate in automotive repair could also lead to a job in auto parts sales. Both retail and wholesale positions may be available.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Automotive Certificate Online?
Completing an online college certificate program in automotive service may take between 4 and 12 months. These programs often allow you to go at your own pace.
If you want to get done as quickly as possible, then you can do a lot of classwork each day. If you have a busy schedule, then you can spread out the lessons. Some schools say that all work must be finished within 1 year. Doing an automotive internship may take additional time.
You might ask your college whether an internship is built into the advertised length of the program.
Is a Certificate in Automotive Worth It?
Yes, a certificate in automotive is worth it for many students. Fixing cars is something that many people in the general public can’t do, so they depend on the work of professional mechanics.
Getting your automotive certificate may help customers and employers put their trust in you as a person who can handle the responsibility of caring for others’ cars. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts positive job growth for mechanics over the next ten years, with around 73,300 job openings expected each year.
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An automotive mechanic certificate could help prepare you for one of those openings. It could also help you prepare for industry certification.
Colleges Offering Online Certificate in Automotive Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer programs online or in a hybrid format.
Lansing Community College offers a Certificate in Automotive Technology with a focus on repairing cars and trucks. Class sizes are typically limited to 16 students, and the program mostly consists of hands-on lab time. LCC usually offers open enrollment for the program.
Lansing Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Mount Wachusett Community College offers an Automotive Technology Certificate program. Some classes may be taken online or in the evenings. The program aims to provide hands-on training in automotive repair. The development of skills with the latest technology while studying under trained industry professionals is typically offered. MWCC also has a Career Services Center to help with career planning.
MWCC is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Texas State Technical College offers a Certificate in Automotive Technology. Specializations include Chrysler, Tesla, or Toyota vehicles. The program aims to teach through hands-on training using industry-standard technology. Classes are offered in person during the daytime, and the program typically takes 16 months to complete.
TSTC is accredited by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tyler Junior College offers a diesel technician online certification program which aims to teach entry-level skills in automotive repair and maintenance. Participation in an optional externship at a local automotive repair facility is offered. Completing the program may lead to the ASE Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification.
Tyler Junior College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Auto Mechanic Certificate Online
If you’re a person who loves cars and the thrill of working on them, then you might want to turn your hobby into a well-paying profession.
To get started in this field, it’s strategic to pursue formal training. An online auto mechanic certificate program can equip you with foundational knowledge about cars and engines. The classes can help prepare you to take ASE exams so that you can promote yourself as an ASE-certified mechanic.
You can check out online automotive mechanic certificate programs from accredited schools to see which one’s right for you!