Besides preparing students to enter the workforce, the curriculum for an associate degree in automotive maintenance technology also might ready students to take exams for Automotive Service Excellence certifications, which are preferred and sometimes required by employers. Many programs require an internship or some other kind of field experience prior to graduation. Lab experiences might take place in fully functioning auto repair facilities. To enter an associate's degree program, students must have a high school diploma or GED.
Associate Degree in Automotive Maintenance Technology
Programs explore various automotive systems and they introduce students to the fundamentals of automotive servicing, testing and rebuilding. Graduates can qualify for entry-level jobs in car dealerships, transmission shops, fleet service or independent auto repair shops. Commonly required courses include:
- Automotive electrical systems
- Steering, alignment and suspension
- Engines and engine performance
- Manual and automatic transmissions
- Automotive heating and cooling
Popular Career Options
For people who enjoy cars, working with their hands and solving problems, a career as an automotive technician may be a good fit. An associate degree program in automotive maintenance technology or automotive technology prepares students for jobs in the automotive industry.
By the time students complete the degree program, they can be qualified for entry-level positions in car dealerships, transmission shops, fleet services or independent auto repair shops. Some popular careers include:
- Auto body repairer
- Automotive service technician
- Automotive engineering technician
For individuals seeking further education, a bachelor's degree in automotive performance technology or automotive technology is a common next step. These degree programs allow students to choose areas to focus on, like collision repair, vehicle systems or field service. These programs can include anywhere from 22-60 credit hours that focus on the major, including courses like environmental controls, improvement of vehicle performance or safety management.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In May 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a mean annual salary of $47,390 for automotive body and related repairers, in addition to a mean annual wage of $42,660 for automotive service technicians and mechanics. During the decade of 2019-2029, the BLS expected growth of 3% for automotive body and related repairers (as fast as average) and -4% for auto service technicians and mechanics (decline).
Upon completion of an associate program in automotive maintenance technology, students can enter a job market growing between 5-9% over the next decade. Graduates can further their education by pursuing a bachelor's degree and selecting a specialization, such as collision repair.