The 20 Best Auto Mechanic Schools

by Tanika Johnson
TheBestSchools.org

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The best auto mechanic schools offer a comprehensive postsecondary education and prepare enrollees to inspect, service, and maintain vehicles.

Auto mechanic schools prepare automotive professionals to inspect and service vehicles. Skilled automotive service technicians engage in fulfilling, stimulating work.

Most professionals will find career opportunities in auto dealerships and independent repair shops. Employers favor automotive service technicians that have completed postsecondary education and career requirements, including certification.

Some auto mechanic schools and trade schools online integrate business courses and program specializations aligned with career training needs.

What Does It Take to Get ASE Certified?

A service professional must pass an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification test and obtain two years of on-the-job-training or one year of training and an associate degree in automotive repair to meet the qualifications for ASE certification.

ASE certification is the adopted standard credential for automotive service technicians and mechanics. Service professionals with an ASE certification demonstrate their skills in auto service and repair. Certification generally increases salary expectations, as well.

Most employers require ASE certification for service technicians and mechanics. Service professionals may acquire certification in areas like brakes, light vehicle diesel engines, electrical and electronic systems, engine performance, and suspension and steering.

ASE certification requires a passing exam score and two years of experience or one year of experience with an associate degree. Service professionals must pass all testing areas of the test series to earn ASE master technician status.

ASE Certification Test Series

  • Automobile & Light Truck Certification Tests (A Series)
  • Collision Repair & Refinish Certification Tests (B Series)
  • Damage Analysis & Estimating Certification Test (B6)
  • Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test (C1)
  • Truck Equipment Certification Tests (E Series)
  • Alternate Fuels Certification Test (F1)
  • Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification Test (G1)
  • Transit Bus Certification Tests (H Series)
  • Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification Test (L1)
  • Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification Test (L2)
  • Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Test (L3)
  • Parts Specialist Certification Tests (P Series)
  • School Bus Certification Tests (S Series)
  • Medium-Heavy Truck Certification Tests (T Series)
  • Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems Test (X1)
  • ASE Military Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Certification Tests (MIL Series)
  • Non-Certification Assessments

Featured Automotive Programs

Top 20 Auto Mechanic Schools

Using statistics and programmatic insights from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, our ranking methodology weighs the following criteria: programmatic excellence, types of courses offered, faculty excellence, school awards, and reputation.

This ranking includes programs offered at three community colleges by their affiliated universities, making them university-level programs. Otherwise, the list excludes technical colleges, community colleges, and trade schools.

Additionally, we have excluded schools that offer automotive engineering programs, as opposed to automotive mechanics or automotive service programs. Automotive engineering focuses more on the design of new vehicles rather than vehicle service and maintenance.

1. University of Northwestern Ohio

Lima, Ohio

UNOH, established in 1920, is a leader in automotive, diesel, and high-performance industries education. Roughly 4,000 students enroll at UNOH each year.

UNOH offers diplomas, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees in automotive technology and automotive technology supervision. Both bachelor's programs include 70% practical training to provide learners with access to the latest in automotive equipment, tools, and technologies.

Automotive technology students can focus on diesel, high-performance motorsports, robotics and automation, and alternative fuels. Applicants must provide transcripts from high school or previous college coursework for consideration.

University of Northwestern Ohio is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. Montana State University Northern

Havre, Montana

MSUN offers 35 undergraduate and graduate programs to its nearly 1,100 enrollees. The university traces its origins to 1929 as one of four institutions within the Montana State University System.

MSUN offers undergraduate and graduate programs in automotive technology and diesel technology. The latter includes additional options to specialize in equipment or field management.

An automotive technology enrollee can complete a fast-track program to earn an associate degree in just 15 months. Learners in all pathways can prepare for careers as technicians, managers, and corporate representatives.

The applied associate of science degree and the bachelor of science degrees in automotive technology at MSUN are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Foundation.

Montana State University Northern is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges And Universities (NWCCU).

3. Ferris State University

Big Rapids, Michigan

Founded as an industrial school in 1884, FSU became a state university in 1987. The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs through seven academic colleges.

Its associate of applied science in automotive service technology integrates coursework with over 550 hours of practical experience. Students learn automotive diagnosis, inspection, adjustment, and service essentials in anticipation of careers in the automotive industry. The program also prepares learners for bachelor's degrees in automotive management or automotive engineering technology at FSU.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts, documentation of previous college coursework, and ACT or SAT scores for consideration.

The automotive engineering technology bachelor's degree is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. Its associate degree in automotive service technology holds accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Ferris State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. Weber State University

Ogden, Utah

WSU, home to nearly 30,000 enrollees, offers over 225 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The university features three automotive service technology programs.

The associate of applied science in automotive service technology comprises 63-67 credits, while the bachelor's degree includes 125-126 credits. WSU also offers a 16-credit certificate of proficiency in automotive service technology.

Bachelor's degree students can specialize in field service operations or advanced vehicle systems, with additional options to double major in any combination of field operations, advanced vehicle systems, and professional sales. WSU's automotive service technology programs are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Weber State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

5. Southern Adventist University

Collegedale, Tennessee

Established by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern offers undergraduate and graduate programs bolstered by its beliefs. Southern enrolls over 2,600 students annually.

The automotive technology programs at Southern include a certificate, an associate degree, and a bachelor's degree. With a full-service automotive shop on campus, learners can benefit from opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in practical settings.

Students can earn associate of technology degrees in two years or bachelor of technology degrees in four years. Southern's automotive technology programs prepare learners to take certification exams offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Southern Adventist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

6. Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah

UVU operates as an integrated university and community college. With nearly 41,000 enrollees, UVU holds the distinction as the largest university in Utah.

UVU offers associate degrees in automotive technology and automotive power sports. Students can pursue associate of applied science or associate of science degrees in automotive technology. Programs include 60-65 credit hours of coursework.

Additional automotive technology pathways include a one-year certificate, a two-year diploma, and a four-year bachelor's degree in technology management. Learners can also study collision repair, diesel mechanics, and street rod technology.

Applicants must submit transcripts for consideration. UVU only requires ACT and SAT scores for merit-based scholarship consideration.

Utah Valley University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

7. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Rexburg, Idaho

Founded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU-Idaho provides academic programs designed to create disciples of Jesus Christ. BYU-Idaho enrolls roughly 60,000 students annually.

BYU-Idaho offers four undergraduate degrees in automotive technology. Learners can earn associate of applied science degrees in two years while completing bachelor's degrees in four years. Bachelor of science programs include automotive engineering technology, advanced vehicle systems, and automotive technology management.

Automotive technology programs at BYU-Idaho are accredited by the ASE Education Foundation. Individuals need a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints account, high school transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores to apply.

Brigham Young University-Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

8. Walla Walla University

College Place, Washington

With five campuses in the Pacific Northwest, WWU traces its origins to 1892. Founded and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, WWU provides more than 100 programs to over 1,500 students each year.

Automotive programs at WWU include associate and bachelor's degrees in automotive technology, along with a bachelor's degree in automotive management. Students can earn associate degrees in two years, while each bachelor's program includes roughly four years of coursework and practical requirements.

WWU operates a student-run auto shop where learners can receive valuable experience and earn money while enrolled.

Walla Walla University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

9. Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Founded in 1901, ISU offers over 250 undergraduate and graduate programs. With three additional campuses, ISU in Pocatello enrolls nearly 12,500 students each year.

Automotive-related associate degrees at ISU include applied science programs in automotive collision repair and finishing and automotive technology. Learners can also earn advanced technical certificates in automotive technology or automotive repair and refinishing. Each program includes roughly two years of requirements.

ISU also features 18-month intermediate technical certification programs in automotive refinishing and collision repair.

Each undergraduate applicant must submit transcripts reflecting a 2.5 or higher GPA and ACT or SAT scores for consideration.

Idaho State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

10. Northern Michigan University

Marquette, Michigan

NMU opened its doors in 1899 and transitioned to university status in 1963. Currently, the university enrolls over 7,000 students in more than 170 academic programs.

Along with its automotive service technology minor, NMU offers two automotive-related certificates and an associate of technology degree in automotive service technology. The university's certificate in automotive maintenance comprises 48 credits, while the certificate in automotive maintenance includes 24 credit hours.

NMU's associate degree in automotive service technology builds knowledge and skills in automatic transmissions, engine repair, vehicle electrical systems, and other automotive systems through 63 credit hours of classes and practical requirements. Students can also pursue state certification tests throughout the program.

Northern Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

11. Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg, Kansas

Established in 1903 as a branch campus of Emporia State University, Pitt State became an autonomous institution 10 years later. Pitt State is now home to roughly 7,000 students each year.

Pitt State's automotive technology programs include bachelor's degrees in automotive technology, collision repair and insurance, and diesel and heavy equipment. Learners can also earn associate degrees in automotive service technology or certificates in automotive service technology and diesel and heavy equipment.

Within Pitt State's undergraduate offerings, enrollees can specialize in topics such as advanced vehicle systems, dealership and corporate transportation management, and automotive mechanical design. Pitt State also offers a master's degree in technology with a concentration in automotive technology.

Pittsburg State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

12. McPherson College

McPherson, Kansas

MC maintains an affiliation with the Church of the Brethren and offers over 30 academic programs. The university features a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Recognized as the only degree of its kind in the United States, MC's bachelor's degree in automotive restoration includes five emphasis areas: communications, design, history, management, or technology.

Students can benefit from the 33,000-square-foot facility on campus, equipped with specialized tools and supplies to meet the needs of each program concentration.

Each applicant must submit transcripts, a statement of interest, a resume, and a portfolio of previous restoration projects for consideration.

McPherson College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

13. University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

UAA operates its main campus in Anchorage, with additional locations across south-central Alaska. Roughly 15,000 students enroll in UAA's over 100 academic programs each year.

UAA offers two associate of applied science degrees in automotive technology, a 49-credit undergraduate certificate, and two occupational endorsements in automotive-related topics. One of UAA's associate degrees partners with General Motors to produce technicians specifically for its dealerships.

Additional degree options include undergraduate programs in diesel power technology. UAA partners with local businesses to provide access to apprenticeships in diesel mechanics and automotive technology.

University of Alaska Anchorage is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

14. University of Central Missouri

Warrensburg, Missouri

As one of the oldest universities in Missouri, UCM took its current name in 2006. Among its 150 academic programs, UCM offers automotive technology management degrees with multiple specialization options.

Students can earn bachelor's degrees in automotive technology management at UCM in four years. Concentration areas include service management, design technology, and automotive technology. Each applicant must submit transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation for consideration.

Automotive programs at UCM hold accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation and the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.

University of Central Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

15. Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Carbondale, Illinois

With nearly 11,400 students, SIU traces its origins to 1869. The university offers a bachelor's degree in automotive technology with emphasis areas in truck and diesel systems and hybrid and electric propulsion systems.

The bachelor's in automotive technology comprises 120 credit hours of coursework. Learners can minor in advanced vehicle systems and diagnostics; automotive, truck, and equipment management; and workforce education and development.

As part of SIU's Living Learning Community program, automotive technology students can live with their classmates in academic emphasis residences. SIU recommends applicants begin the process one year in advance.

The automotive technology program holds accreditation from the Automotive Service Excellence Educational Foundation.

Southern Illinois University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

16. Arkansas Tech University

Ozark, Arkansas

As the third-largest institution in Arkansas, ATU operates campuses in Ozark and Russellville with about 10,000 total enrollees. The university features an 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

ATU offers a 16-credit certificate of proficiency and a 36-credit technical certificate in automotive service technology. Associate degrees in automotive service technology and collision repair technology comprise 60 credits each.

Automotive service technology programs maintain accreditation through the National Automotive Education Foundation and meet the Automotive Service Excellence curriculum standards.

Arkansas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

17. Vincennes University

Vincennes, Indiana

Indiana's first university, VU offers more than 180 academic programs. Nearly 17,500 students enroll at VU's five locations in Indiana, along with instruction sites around the country and online.

The one-year automotive service technology certificate at VU comprises 30 credits. This program focuses on engine, electrical, and chassis systems. The university's automotive technology in motorsports certificate similarly includes 30 credits emphasizing vehicle design, operations, and fabrication.

Learners can earn associate degrees in automotive technology in two years. The curriculum prepares students to take certification tests offered by Automotive Service Excellence.

Vincennes University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

18. Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana

Established in 1865, ISU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs through seven academic colleges.

ISU's bachelor of science in automotive engineering technology prepares learners for careers in the automotive industry. Major coursework comprises 71 credits in automotive engineering technology, mathematics and science, and engineering technology.

Applicants must submit transcripts for consideration. An individual with an associate degree in the field can transfer 60 credit hours into the program. The automotive engineering technology program is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET and the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.

Indiana State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

19. Minnesota State University, Mankato

Mankato, Minnesota

Minnesota State University, Mankato opened in 1921 and took its current name in 1998. Over 14,000 students enroll in the institution's over 220 academic programs.

Minnesota State University, Mankato's bachelor of science in automotive engineering technology comprises four years of coursework and practical requirements. The master's degree in automotive engineering technology includes a 32-credit thesis option or a 34-credit non-thesis pathway.

Each undergraduate applicant must provide transcripts and optional ACT scores. Graduate learners submit transcripts for consideration.

The automotive engineering technology program is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Minnesota State University, Mankato is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

20. University of Arkansas Fort Smith

Fort Smith, Arkansas

With nearly 100 certificate programs and degrees, UAFS hosts roughly 7,000 students each semester. Founded in 1928, UAFS serves as one of 21 institutions governed by the University of Arkansas System.

The associate degree in automotive technology at UAFS comprises 60 credits. Coursework emphasizes service and repair of engines and vehicle computer systems.

Students can also earn technical certificates in automotive technology and diesel technology. Certificates of completion prepare automotive drivability, automotive drivetrain, and automotive drivetrain specialists.

The Automotive Technology program is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.

University of Arkansas Fort Smith is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Common Questions About Auto Mechanic Schools

Can I Enroll in a Trade School Online?

Yes. Students can complete trade school online. However, ASE certification requires a passing exam score and two years of experience or one year of experience with an associate degree.

How Long Would It Take to Become a Car Mechanic?

Vocational and postsecondary automotive service technology programs range from 6-12 months. These pathways offer career preparation through classroom instruction and direct practical experience.

Do Car Mechanics Make Good Money?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics make a median annual wage of $44,050 as of May 2020.

Can I Be a Mechanic if I Know Nothing About Cars?

Individuals lacking automotive experience can still pursue work as trainee technicians, technician's helpers, and lubrication workers. These workers can develop knowledge and skills while working alongside skilled mechanics and technicians.

Tanika Johnson is an Education Consultant, Continuing Education Contributing Faculty Member, Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Board-Certified Telemental Health Provider, and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She holds professional teaching licenses in both psychology and special education. Additionally, she earned her Ed.D. and Ed.S. from Carson-Newman University, MA from Argosy University, BS from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and completed her teacher education program at Freed-Hardeman University. She has a wealth of experience with early childhood education, social and emotional development, education advocacy, and serving the special education community and exceptional needs of children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities.

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