Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician
About the Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology Major
If you love cars and don't mind getting your hands dirty, automotive mechanics technology might be the perfect major for you. Students in this major are trained to understand the specific inner workings of vehicles and how they operate in order to efficiently inspect and maintain them and to correctly diagnose and repair any problems. Students will have access to the latest diagnostic tools, vehicles, and service information. Usually, students are able to start their personal tool collections as soon as they begin a program, which will take them through their education and sometimes even into their careers. Most programs are designed to adequately prepare students for formal certification testing after the program is completed, which is required by most employers.
The automotive industry is ever-changing, and automotive technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated. If you truly enjoy the industry and are willing to put forth lots of hard work, being a part of this field can prove to be very rewarding.
A specialized vocational, certificate, or other postsecondary training program in automotive service or technology is usually the best preparation for entry-level jobs. These programs usually last anywhere from six months to a year or more. Others choose to pursue a two-year associate's degree in a more traditional educational setting. Bachelor's degree programs are also available for those who wish to undertake more in-depth study and/or to have access to a wider variety of career choices.
Whatever type of program you choose, automotive mechanics technology majors can expect to undergo extensive hands-on training and education. In most schools, automotive classes take place in an actual, functioning auto repair facility, with lifts and diagnostic and repair equipment. In most classes, students learn by diagnosing and repairing real problems on real automobiles.
Aside from a formal education, the standard credential for service technicians is certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (NIASE). Many employers require their employees to be certified. Certification is available in eight different areas: automatic transmission/transaxle, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, engine repair, heating and air conditioning, manual drive train and axles, and suspension and steering. In order to become certified in one of those areas, technicians must pass an exam and have at least two years of experience, or relevant schooling and one year of experience. Those who pass all eight exams become certified Master Automobile Technicians.