In recent years, automobiles and light trucks have become more complicated. Because of this, mechanics who have been trained in the past rarely have the skills to repair and maintain modern vehicles, which are made up of wires, hydraulics, electronics, and microchips.
Certificate programs in automotive teach students how to check, support, and repair modern automobile systems. There are also math and technical writing courses and many hands-on workshops in these programs.
Service technicians fix and maintain cars and light trucks in shops owned by private businesses, gas stations with franchises, fleet operations, and car dealerships. Most employers want new service technicians to get more training, which they can get from an online automotive school.
These programs combine learning in the classroom with training in the academic world to create an educational setting that focuses on practical skills. Students need to know the following skills that service technicians need and are in high demand. These things are:
- Customer service will talk with customers about their car problems and how to fix them.
- Detail-oriented troubleshooting to find easy-to-miss solutions for mechanical and electronic parts that aren’t working right.
- Ability to use different tools to take engine parts apart, put them back together, and connect electronic modules and wiring.
- You need mechanical skills to work with engine parts and understand how these systems work together.
- Technical skills to use sophisticated diagnostic equipment and change electronic circuits.
Online automotive training covers many different areas, such as automotive mechanics and transmissions, motorcycle mechanics, heavy machinery, and diesel engine repairs. The training needed to get a certificate in automotive transmissions covers gears, clutches, hydraulics, and electronic control systems for both manual and automatic transmissions.
Students who get a certificate as an automotive mechanic learn the basics of car maintenance and repair. At the beginning of these programs, students learn how to change the oil in a car, repair and replace tires, and fix different engine problems.
They also study electrical systems, computerized control devices, fuel flow mechanisms, exhaust converters, and brake controls. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the median salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $37,120 in 2014. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of jobs is expected to grow by 5%.
In the motorcycle mechanic certificate program, students learn how engines work, how to repair different models, and how to get the most power and performance. BLI says that the number of jobs will grow by 4%, and the median salary for these jobs is $34,130. Many manufacturers offer specialized training for warranty-related work.
Harley Davidson, Suzuki, BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha also sell a wide range of motorcycles that require specialized training. Six of the biggest motorcycle companies have teamed up with schools like Universal Technical Institute, which offers classes for all six brands and helps students pay for school with grants and scholarships.
The heavy machinery mechanic program teaches students the basics of auto mechanics and how to weld and use both water pressure and air pressure systems. Diesel mechanic certificate programs train students to service and repair diesel engines and work on bus and truck systems.
The curriculum covers heavy vehicle fuel injection, suspension, truck wheels, and braking. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians made a median annual salary of $45,930, while diesel mechanics made a median salary of $43,630.
For these programs, you need to know a little bit about cars in general and how to use some of the tools of the trade. Even though a High School diploma or GED isn’t always required, it gives you a good foundation in communication, math, and the physical sciences, all of which will be part of your automotive certification. You have to be at least 18 years old to work with engines and power tools most of the time.
What Comes Next for Automotive Certificate Holders?
Automotive certificate holders usually need between two and four years of on-the-job training and an additional one to two years to learn about all the different kinds of repairs before becoming fully qualified service technicians.
As a certification standard for service technicians, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certification in eight specific areas: automatic transmission and transaxle, brakes, manual drivetrain and axles, engine performance, engine repair, electrical and electronic systems, heating and air conditioning, suspension and steering.
Technicians must have worked in the field for two years and passed an exam to get certified. If you pass all eight exams, you can become a Master’s Technician. Many employers want their technicians to be certified in at least one area of expertise. Certification will usually also raise the employee’s pay rate.