When it comes to auto mechanic training, choosing the right school is just as important as picking the right program to pursue.
Modern-day auto mechanic training largely integrates the digital side of automobile engineering. That’s why it is necessary that you consider all the important factors before enrolling in a program.
If you’re choosing the best auto mechanic school for your training, you need to know if the school is adopting relevant automobile technologies in the market. Experts believe that an effective curriculum depends on the institution’s ability to integrate emerging technologies into traditional training.
Types of Auto Mechanic Qualifications
Different schools offer different types of automotive degrees, certificates, and diplomas. So, you should evaluate individual training curricula to determine whether the provided programs meet your long-term career needs.
We researched higher learning institutions in North America and compiled a list of the 21 best auto mechanic schools to look for in the coming year (7 schools in each of the 3 surveyed categories).
We grouped the best auto mechanic schools based on three main categories:
- Best schools for automotive technology degrees.
- Best automotive technician schools.
- Best automotive trade schools.
Before we get to the list of the best auto mechanic schools, let’s try to understand the three categories above.
Automotive Technology Degrees
These are Bachelor’s programs, majoring in disciplines like mechanical engineering and automotive engineering technology, among others.
Bachelor’s qualifications prepare you for managerial roles in design, research, and assembly in large-scale automotive corporations.
Automotive Technician Qualifications
These qualifications are mostly associate’s degree programs, focusing on courses like mathematics, electronics, and automotive repair. These qualifications prepare you for mid-level jobs in auto service and maintenance.
Automotive technicians make up a larger proportion of the auto mechanic workforce. Their pay scales range from $38,000 to $45,000 per annum.
Since they form the majority workforce in the industry, technicians are engaged in a wide variety of automotive functions:
- Automotive air-conditioning
- Brake system diagnostics
- Diagnostics and engine management
- Ride, handling, and tire wear mechanics
- Transmission and rebuilders diagnostics
- Electrical and hydraulic pump diagnostics
Automotive Trade Qualifications
Automotive trade qualifications are short-term courses, usually between six to 12 months. They are designed to impart basic automotive skills to aspiring auto mechanic professionals. The most common automotive trade qualifications in North America include:
- ASE Certification
- Automotive Mechanic
- Automobile Restoration
- Collision Repair
- Diesel Mechanic
- Harley-Davidson Repair
- High-Performance Engine
- Motorcycle Repair
Here is the list of the best 21 auto mechanic schools (7 schools in each category).
Best 7 Schools for Automotive Technology Degrees
We analyzed the leading higher education providers in the region and came up with a list of the best 7 schools for automotive technology degrees (auto mechanic graduates).
University of Northwestern Ohio – Lima, Ohio
The University of Northwestern Ohio offers several automotive training options in the college of applied science and occupational professions.
Regular programs comprise diplomas, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees in Automotive Technology. Students are taught by ASE and Mater ASE-certified tutors. You can also major in Automotive Management and High-Performance Automotive Technology.
UNOH has long been branded as an education leader in automotive, diesel, high-performance motorsports, robotics, and alternative fuel subsectors.
If you aspire for a management role in the automotive industry, you should opt for UNOH’s bachelor’s degree in automotive technology and automotive technology supervision. These programs integrate 70% hands-on training designed to enable learners’ access to emerging automotive technologies, tools, and equipment.
What’s striking about UNOH is its automotive clubs, which provide a platform for students to network, socialize and synthesize academic knowledge and acquire hands-on skills.
UNOH is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HHC) and NATEF.
Weber State University – Ogden, Utah
Weber State University (WSU) offers three levels of automotive service technology programs: bachelor’s degree, associates’ degree, and certificate of proficiency.
- Bachelor’s degree in automotive service technology comprises 125-126 credits.
- Associate’s degree of applied science in automotive service technology combines 63-67 credits.
- A certificate of proficiency in automotive service technology offers 16 credits.
You should choose this school if you want to specialize in automotive field service operations or advanced vehicle systems. You also get to double major in different combinations, including field operations, advanced vehicle systems, and professional sales.
WSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Pittsburg State University (PSU) – Pittsburg, Kansas
Pittsburg State University is known for its high-quality oriented automotive technology programs. Prospective enrollees can choose from various bachelor’s and master’s degrees designed to address corporate transportation management, advanced vehicle systems, and collision repair.
Pittsburgh prides itself on its Bachelor of Science Technology (BST) programs, designed to cater to a wide variety of automotive concerns in the industry.
The BST options touch on areas, including:
- Advanced vehicle systems
- Automotive technical option
- Automotive mechanical design
- Collision repair and insurance management
- Diesel and heavy equipment
The university also offers a certificate in heavy diesel equipment for a short-term, specialty group of learners.
Enrollees are guaranteed the highest quality academic programs as the institution is accredited by the Mater Automotive Service Technology through the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Ferris State University – Big Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State University is known for its design of hybrid automotive programs. The programs blend online, practical, and technical learning aspects to produce all-rounded automotive training curricula.
Its online automotive courses focus mostly on the management principles for automobile manufacturing, service, and assembly organizations.
The institution endeavors to have all its technical courses tutored by Maters ASE-certified instructors. Also, auto mechanic students enjoy a one-on-one experience with emerging auto systems and technologies. This is enabled by the over 100 late model cars on site.
The regular courses for aspiring auto mechanic professionals encompass both associate and bachelor’s qualifications in areas, including:
- Applied science and heavy equipment technology
- Automotive management
- Automotive engineering technology
- Automotive technical education
The institution also offers certificate programs targeting unique auto mechanic areas, i.e., performance motorsports and performance machining.
Ferris is accredited by the regional Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and NATEF.
Utah Valley University – Orem, Utah
Utah Valley University is ideal for students aspiring for a 2-year non-degree and 4-year bachelor’s qualifications in various automotive areas. The institution focuses on three automotive areas, including:
- Diesel mechanics technology
- Collision repair technology
- Automotive technology
The school has well-equipped and spacious automotive labs for hands-on and practical learning. Students also benefit from the presence of automotive clubs and on-campus organizations. These internal initiatives foster knowledge sharing and connections in the wider automotive industry.
You can choose from a range of associate’s degrees in areas, including:
- Applied science-diesel mechanics technology
- Applied science in collision repair
- Science in pre-major automotive technology
- Applied science in technology management
Aspiring auto mechanics also get to choose from a wide range of diplomas and certificates, focusing mostly on diesel mechanics technology, collision repair technology, and automotive technology.
The university is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Its automotive programs are yet to be recognized by NATEF.
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Arkansas
The University of Arkansas in Fort Smith is undoubtedly among the best institutions to pursue your bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. Its automotive department has diverse specialization options for the certificate and postgraduate diploma entrants.
What puts this institution ahead of others in the region is its partnership with professional automotive firms. Apart from providing real-world training, these partnerships create ready internship and job opportunities for its graduates.
The university’s automotive department is largely skewed to the diploma and certificate programs. Regular students can opt for Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology.
The school’s technical certificate courses cover areas, including diesel technology, automotive drivetrain, automotive undercar, and automotive drivability.
This institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Its automotive programs are NATEF certified.
Southern Adventist University (SAU) – Collegedale, Tennessee
SAU focuses on both associate and bachelor programs in automotive technology. The institution is known for its strict adherence to Christian values. These values complement the strong professional and academic work ethics that have defined the school since its inception in 1892.
Aspiring auto mechanics can choose from a variety of associate and bachelor degrees. Also, due to its strong connection with the surrounding communities, SAU students are enlisted in local shops for practicum. This deep connection with external stakeholders ensures that students are inducted into real-world auto mechanic programs.
The school also offers a unique program, the Bachelor of Science in Combined Major Business Administration and Automotive Service. Notably, this program has differentiated SAU from its peers in the region.
SAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Also, the university’s automotive programs are NATEF certified.
Best 7 Automotive Technician Schools
If you’re interested in the auto technician degree, these are the 7 best auto mechanic (automotive technician) schools to target in the coming years.
Walla Walla University – College Place, Washington
Walla Walla University offers 2-year and 4-year degree programs suitable for prospective mid-level technicians and automotive technology engineers. The institution enrolls a large proportion of engineering students in its 2-year Associates’ of Science in Automotive Technology.
Further, the university prides itself on its ability to develop hybrid talent, blending both technical and business operation skills. This model equips students with the right set of competencies to handle the essential administrative tasks on top of the core technical automotive expertise.
So, if you aspire to earn a mid-level qualification in automotive technology, Walla Walla is your school of choice. The school is credited with a high graduation rate, given its adherence to Adventist values.
Besides the state-of-the-art training facilities and ASE-certified instructors, students are actively engaged in regional automotive firms to develop all-rounded technicians.
Ontario Tech University – Oshawa, Ontario
Ontario Tech University (OTU) offers unique master’s and bachelor’s degree programs that blend essential areas of automotive technology.
Specifically, a bachelor’s in mechatronics engineering combines mechanical and electrical aspects, forming a hybrid program. The program effectively anticipates and addresses the emerging automotive technology concerns.
With the mechatronics engineering aspect, students enjoy an exclusive automotive curriculum in the region. The uniqueness of this program hinges on the seamless integration of the emerging automotive technologies into the mechanical-oriented designs of yesteryears.
OTU’s curriculum uniqueness elevates the institution above its peers in the region. In fact, the university is a pioneer in the flagship automotive technologies, such as electric and hybrid vehicles, autonomous vehicle designs, and robotics and automation.
Its automotive programs are recognized by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).
Northeast Community College (NCC) – Norfolk, Nebraska
Northeast Community College provides various automotive degree programs suitable for aspiring mid-level technicians. They prepare students for essential technical functions, including frame alignment, metal finishing, maintenance, and brake alignment. Others targeted areas are panel replacement, electric systems, and fuel classifications.
Specifically, NCC’s associates’ programs in auto repair technology and automotive technology prepare students for light service technical roles.
Enrollees also acquire diverse hands-on and workshop troubleshooting skills, including welding, refinishing, straightening and panel alignment, trim installation, and metalworking.
So, successful graduation will land you jobs mostly in independent body shops, and new and used car dealers. This technical qualification can also be combined with other disciplines to secure employment opportunities in related industries like insurance adjusting and teaching.
Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) – Presque Isle, Maine
NMCC offers affordable training programs for aspiring auto mechanics. The programs are offered on-campus and online, enabling students to align their learning schedules to their day-to-day lives.
The institution prides itself on its exclusive technician program, Automotive Collision Repair, which is arguably one of its kind in northern New England. This ASE-certified program is designed to equip students with fundamental and expansive training in essential automotive maintenance areas: collision damage repair, body panels replacement, and frame straightening.
Aspiring automotive technicians get to solve the complexities surrounding the automotive electricity aspect. The school also offers educational advancement through tailored programs on engine performance diagnostics and repair, and hybrid technology.
If you are interested in a lifelong career in automotive technology, you can enroll in one of NMCC’s associates of applied science degrees. The degrees allow you to specialize in core areas, including automotive collision repair and automotive technology.
Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) – Outagamie County, Wisconsin
FVTC is known for its ability to engage a significant proportion of its graduates in meaningful employment opportunities. In fact, you have a 94% chance to be connected with a suitable employer if you train with FVTC.
The automotive technology programs are designed to equip students with comprehensive knowledge and well-rounded education to face the emerging industry concerns.
Specifically, auto mechanic students are put through synopses of the auto service industry. Trainees delve deeply into diagnosis, service, and repair of various auto components and engines.
The college offers specialization options through its associate of applied science degree programs. So, you can take a 2-year associates’ degree course in automotive technology, with an import option, or go for a vehicle refinishing and repair technology course.
State Technical College of Missouri – Osage County, Missouri
The State Technical College subjects its students through modern computerized equipment and automotive technology. So, its programs prepare you for high-tech diagnostic roles in the leading auto shops. What’s more, the school registers a high rate (96%) of job placement for its graduates.
You can opt for a general degree program with three specialty areas to choose from:
- Electric Hybrid Vehicle.
- Light Duty Diesel.
- High Performance.
If you are interested in a short-term certificate course, the college has two options – tailored for the most common concerns in repair shops. The choices are maintenance and light repair, and general automotive.
The college’s automotive programs are NATEF accredited. Also, its tutors are ASE certified.
Massachusetts Bay Community College (MBCC) – Wellesley, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Bay Community College is among the leading providers of mid-level Automotive programs in the region. This prestigious position is attributed to its automotive specializations. That is, you can earn an Associate of Science degree, majoring in the mechanics of the leading auto brands: Chrysler, BM, Toyota, and BMW.
The college engages only ASE-certified instructors. This ensures that the school’s auto mechanic department keeps up with the emerging automotive trends in the market.
MBCC’s graduands have the upper hand in the labor market since they are trained using new model vehicles and advanced diagnostic equipment. Also, the school’s automotive programs are developed based on a built-in experimental learning component.
Besides the associates’ degrees, the school also offers a short-term auto mechanic course – Certificate in Automotive Technology Toyota/Lexus.
Massachusetts Bay Community College is regionally accredited by NECHE. Also, the school’s automotive programs are NATEF certified.
Best 7 Automotive Trade Schools
From our analysis of the auto mechanic schools in North America, we came up with a list of the best 7 automotive trade schools to look for in the coming years.
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) – Phoenix, AZ
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) offers various personalized auto mechanic courses. The courses include:
- Automotive Engines Service and Repair
- Automotive Climate Control Systems and Repair
- Yates Emission Legal Performance Tuning
- Vehicle’s Electronic Systems and Technology
- Steering and Suspension Service and Repair
- Automotive Powertrains and Transmission
- Vehicle’s Brake Systems
- Professional Automotive Service Writing
- Hybrid Vehicle System Maintenance
With the classes listed above, the school provides comprehensive auto mechanic options for its students. Therefore, UTI is an institution worth considering if you are looking for specialized automotive training.
A striking feature about this school is that it invests 100% of its resources in developing automotive-related training programs. So, the school remains true to its promise of – “Not Your Ordinary Classroom.”
The school is among the pioneer trainers to partner with the automakers to prepare its graduates for specific auto mechanic jobs in the market.
Currently, the university runs partnership programs with Ford, BMW, and Toyota/Lexus, among other leading brands.
Penn Foster College (PFC) – Scottsdale, Arizona
Penn Foster College offers various automotive programs suitable for aspiring mid-level automotive professionals. The school aims at developing solutions for small and medium-sized car dealerships, repair shops, and garages.
The college has invested heavily in its diploma programs, with bias in auto repair, diesel mechanics, motorcycle repair, and small engine repair.
Due to its emphasis on the online tutoring aspect, PFC’s students have the advantage of learning at their own pace. That is, they don’t have to be content with prevailing tutoring events just because the majority of classmates are satisfied.
The presence of dedicated support teams enables individualized learning experiences. The institution also engages third-party automotive firms to contract students on short-term internship programs to prepare them for real-world auto mechanic tasks.
PFC is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The school’s automotive programs are ASE certified.
St. Philip’s College – San Antonio, Texas
St. Philip’s College is a diverse community college, integrating learners from extensive socioeconomic spheres. It runs several faculties, including the automotive technology department.
The school’s automotive programs have earned ASE Mater Certification. This means that the institution’s graduates are put through the latest and the most relevant automotive courses in the market.
Specifically, the courses are tailored for entry-level auto mechanic positions. Plus, advanced-level learners are appropriately inducted through the school’s personalized admissions programs.
St. Philip’s College runs associate degree programs for aspiring mid-level auto mechanics. They include:
- Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in General Motors
- Automotive Service Educational Program for Aspiring Auto Mechanic Instructors
The college’s automotive programs are NATEF certified.
San Jacinto College Central CA – Riverside County, California
San Jacinto College Central CA has collaborated with domestic automakers to develop relevant, on-the-job training programs. This arrangement improves the school’s efficiency in developing quality auto mechanic talents in the region.
Currently, the school runs training programs with several car models in the US: Toyota T-TEN, Honda PACT, Ford ASSET, Mopar CAP, and GM ASEP. The associated automakers readily provide internship and job placement openings for the graduands.
Also, the school runs a comprehensive professional development course – The Automotive FAST Program. The program subjects the students to a rigorous eight areas of Automotive Service Excellence, which prepares students to become generalists in the automotive industry.
The institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC). The school’s automotive programs are NATEF certified.
WyoTech – Laramie, Wyoming
WyoTech is a highly intensive school situated in the Laramie area. It offers a range of 9-months automotive programs. The school is credited with top-notch, disciplined graduates prepared to address challenging workplace concerns.
Enrollees are taken through six-month intensive core classes. The remaining three months are reserved for the students to concentrate on specific automotive technology areas of interest.
Specialty areas include advanced diesel, chassis fabrication, street rod, high-performance power trains, and applied service management in train and upholstery.
The school is officially recognized by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). However, the institution is yet to attain the recognition of regional accreditation bodies.
Wichita State University (WSU) Tech – Wichita, Kansas
WSU offers a dedicated automotive service technology program recognized by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation Accreditation. The program is designed to prepare all-rounded auto mechanic graduates who can readily address emerging automotive technology concerns.
Specifically, the school aspires to hone new skills and knowledge in its trainees. They are prepared to precisely diagnose, service, maintain, and repair various automobile units. The institution uses real-world diagnostic equipment and automobile components to take its learners through practical automotive technology lessons.
Students also get to practice in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, equipped to address essential learning areas in diverse automotive subjects. Focus learning areas for auto mechanic tradesmen and women include suspension and steering, engine performance, electronic systems, and hybrid vehicle systems.
The school’s automotive programs are NATEF accredited.
Texas State Technical College (TSTC) – Waco, Texas
Texas State Technical College offers automotive technology programs through its different campuses, including Harlingen, Sweetwater, and Waco. The course’s availability in all campuses extends affordable training opportunities for aspiring auto mechanics across Texas.
The school runs exceptional partnerships with relevant governmental agencies, businesses, and educational bodies to prepare students for modern-day challenges.
Also, the college has partnered with the Tesla Start program, creating real-world training opportunities for its automotive students. It also runs similar workforce training partnerships with Toyota and Chrysler. So, students can pick a particular brand and pursue a lifelong career with it.
TSTC’s automotive programs are ASE certified. Plus, all instructors in the automotive technology department are accredited by ASE.
Read also our guide on how to become a car mechanic, with or without formal training.
Final Thoughts – Finding the Best Auto Mechanic School
So, you’ve decided to pursue a lifelong career as an auto mechanic. What then, where can you find the right school for your long-term career aspirations?
Well, finding the best auto mechanic school can be a daunting task, given the presence of loads of information out there. To avoid the costly mistakes associated with this process, you should thoroughly assess certain essential factors.
Factors to look for include:
- Prospective employment opportunities and long-term career outlook
- Location, transportation, and campus accessibility.
- Student life, financial support, faculty support, and graduation rate.
- Regional and national certification status.