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What Programs and College Majors Exist for People Interested in Automotive Technology?

a man in a cap and gloves working on a car engine

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From childhood, people start demonstrating aptitudes and developing interests. Some discover they have mechanical skills and the dexterity required to work with mechanical equipment. Working with vehicles could be the perfect way to combine their aptitudes and interests by becoming a mechanic for those who develop an interest in cars.

Today, multiple professionals work on different automotive systems and varying types of vehicles. Suppose you’re interested in pursuing a postsecondary program that involves automotive technology. Read on to learn about some of the different degree and certificate programs you can consider and how to prepare your application for the program you wish to pursue.

You can earn an associate of arts degree in automotive and diesel technology.


Completing an automotive and diesel technology program is an excellent option for those interested in automotive technology careers. Earning an associate of occupational studies (AOS) degree involves completing 60 credits during 15 months of postsecondary studies. Courses include performance fundamentals, engine repair, climate control, electrical and electronic systems, diesel fuel systems, and engine electronics.

Students learn how to repair and replace brakes, steering systems, suspension systems, and transmissions. Graduates have the skills and knowledge required to take their Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. Completing an automotive and diesel technology program prepares graduates to pursue multiple auto technology careers, including opportunities as a master diesel technician, field service technician, heavy-duty engine repair specialist, auto service technician, or heating and air conditioning specialist.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that auto service techs and mechanics in the United States earned median annual incomes of $44,050 in 2020, while diesel service techs and mechanics took home $50,200 the same year. The BLS also reported heavy vehicle and mobile service techs enjoyed median incomes of $53,370 the same year.

You can prepare for an auto tech career by earning a postsecondary certificate.


You can consider completing a certificate program in automotive technology. Certificate programs are ideal for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in school. Earning an automotive service technician certificate or truck and diesel service technician certificate takes 11 months. It takes 12 months to complete a collision and repair technology undergraduate certificate.

Career opportunities for auto tech certificate graduates include becoming an auto service technician, auto parts manager, or wheel alignment and suspension technician. Diesel service techs, fleet maintenance staff, or hybrid drive techs may prepare for their career by earning a truck and diesel service tech certificate. Graduates of the collision and repair technology program could pursue a career as a master collision repair tech, field service tech, or maintenance tech.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is another option.


Your interest in auto tech could be the foundation for an engineering career. Mechanical engineers design mechanical systems. They also investigate existing systems, determining why they break down or how to improve their performance. Auto research engineers use their skills to improve mechanical systems in vehicles.

Mechanical engineers must earn a four-year degree in mechanical engineering or a comparable discipline. They may also need to be licensed. The BLS indicates mechanical engineers earned median incomes of $90,160 in 2020.

An admissions counselor can help you prepare your college application.


You can start preparing for an auto tech career when you’re in high school. High schools with vocational programs may offer courses in transportation technology, enabling you to acquire practical skills before you graduate. Talk about your career goals with your high school guidance counselor, ensuring you earn the prerequisites required to qualify for admission to a postsecondary auto tech program.

Working with admissions counseling is another excellent option when you’re preparing for postsecondary studies. Before you earn your high school diploma, connect with an admissions counselor to clarify which courses you should take during high school and how to acquire practical skills that will impress college admissions boards. Your admissions counselor can help you prepare your application essay and identify volunteer opportunities that will look good on your postsecondary applications.

People interested in auto tech can opt to earn an auto tech certificate or associate’s degree. They can also prepare for an auto tech career by earning a degree in mechanical engineering.