The main course of study in automotive schools is automotive service technology. In this field, there are diplomas, certificates, and degrees available. What is the difference between these credentials and which is the right one for you? In this post, we’ll look at the three types of credentials, the schools that offer them, and what you will be able to do with them.
A diploma is the most basic type of credential you can earn from an automotive school. Diplomas are usually awarded by vocational and technical schools, which are institutions that offer career-focused training for people who want to enter the workforce as soon as possible. In a diploma program in automotive service technology, you will learn everything you need to start working as an entry-level automotive service technician, including diagnostics, service, and repair. Diploma programs are usually highly focused on the practical skills necessary to do the job, so although you will spend some time in a classroom, most of the time you will actually be working on cars. Diploma programs usually take about a year to complete, though you may find some programs that are shorter and more intensive.
A certificate is the next step up from a diploma. Certificates in automotive service technology are often available through community colleges for students who do not want to complete full degrees. Certificate programs may last between one and two years, and like technical diploma programs, the courses generally focus on career skills. There are also a variety of professional certificates which are for enhancing job skills, for example, an auto mechanic who has been in the business for a while may choose to take a certificate program to learn about the newest automotive technology.
Many community colleges offer degree programs in automotive service technology. These are two-year associate’s degrees in applied science. In associate’s degree programs, students take both general education requirements and career-specific courses. For example, most associate’s degree programs require you to take one full year of English, math, and other general requirements and then one full year of automotive technology courses. Of all of the credentials, degrees usually take the longest to earn, but there are many advantages. Having a degree will better prepare you for the future. For example, you might someday want to go to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree. If so, you will be able to transfer the credits from your associate’s degree directly into that program. In addition, degrees are often required to advance in the field. So, although you don’t need a degree to work as an automotive service technician, you might need one to move into a management or supervisory position.
Which program is right for you depends on a couple of factors. First, how long do you want to spend in school? If you are itching to get started working as soon as possible, a diploma program might be the best choice. Second, what do you want from your career? A degree will open more career doors for you than will a diploma or a certificate.
Arizona Automotive Institute. Automotive service technician.
Portland Community College. Automotive service technology.