Important Tips for Choosing an Automotive Repair Program
BY: LEON CASTLES ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2010
Selecting an automotive repair program that provides up-to-date training and also has a good reputation with employers is vital. Auto repair programs are provided by vocational schools, community colleges and by some four-year schools. Also, automotive manufacturers sponsor associate degree programs.
Prospective students have the option of taking an associate degree program or a certificate program. Both programs include hands-on training and place an emphasis on diagnosis and repair skills. The associate degree takes two year to complete and the certificate program can be completed in one year or less. The associate degree program provides training in additional auto repair subjects and typically include classes in English, computers, math and other related topics.
Shown below are some important aspects to consider when selecting an automotive repair program:
- Curriculum: Classroom instruction is important but hands-on training is more important. Compare the schools hands-on training hours. Is training provided on new and old model cars? Are students able to select an area of specialization? Does the curriculum include courses in repairing automobiles of specific manufacturers?
- Internship and part-time jobs: Ask if an internship is included in the program and not just a possibility. Internships provide experience and networking opportunities. Also, many employers hire interns that perform well. Some schools, through connections with repair shops and dealerships, are able to help students obtain part-time jobs while going to school. On-the-job experience is very useful in obtaining a job after graduation.
- Accreditation: The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation provides certification to automobile training programs at the majority of trade schools and community colleges. Also, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology has provided certification to many diesel technology and automotive schools. Certification is important to many employers and suggests the program meets a suitable quality standard.
- The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE): Does the program prepare students for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification? This certification shows prospective employers that the applicant has the skills that meet industry standards and it's very important in the automotive industry. Some schools only help students study for the tests, whereas other schools provide testing at their location which can make it easier to get certified.
- Equipment: Make sure the program provides up-to-date technology and diagnostic tools.
- Instructors: Does the auto repair program provide seasoned instructors that have real world experience? Ask about the qualifications of the instructors and ask for details.
- Student services: What types of student services does the school provide? Does the school provide job placement services? Also find out what percentage of school's graduates obtained a job in the automotive industry.
School cost and financial aid - Find out what is exactly covered by the tuition. Also, does the school provide any types of financial aid? Is the school eligible to provide federal aid?
- Reputation: Does the automotive repair program have a good reputation with employers? It's important to ask prospective employers for a list of their school preferences.
Brian Jenkins has been writing for Braintrack.com for the past 2 years. He has contributed to many sections of the site, including the site's section on Auto Mechanic Schools and Careers