As you consider where you should go to automotive school, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Of course you should think about practical considerations such as tuition and location, but you may also want to think about how long you want to be in school, what exactly you want to study when you are in school, and if the institutions you are looking at have trustworthy and high-quality programs.
Choose Your Degree Type
The first step is deciding what type of degree you want to get from your automotive school. Some people choose to complete short certificate programs. You might enroll in a very brief program that prepares you for basic mechanic work in one or two semesters. Or, you might decide to go for a longer program that will also grant you a certificate, but takes two or three semesters to complete and more comprehensively prepares you to be an automotive service technician. The other option is to go for an associate’s degree. Earning an associate’s of applied science means you are completely prepared to take on a number of tasks within the automotive world. These degree programs might also include training in automotive management and general education classes.
Consider a Specialty
Many automotive schools also give you the opportunity to concentrate in a particular area. For many institutions, this means giving you a choice between different automotive makes. For example, you might get specific training with Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, GM, Honda, or Ford cars. Many times you will get the chance to do an apprenticeship with a dealership to learn about your chosen car make. Going down one of these tracks will prepare you for work in a specific type of dealership after graduation. Some schools may also give you the option of specializing in a specific type of work, such as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, marine, or NASCAR tech work. It’s important to think about your specialty as you are applying to schools, because not all institutions offer the same programs and opportunities. No matter where you go you will learn about the general components of automotive technician work, but if, for instance, you want to work with motorcycles or only GM cars, you should research the institutions thoroughly before you apply to make sure they cover your interests in their curriculum.
Go to an Accredited School
All the schools on your list should be accredited. An accreditation means that an independent commission has approved the program’s courses as up-to-date and meeting a certain standard set forth by the U.S. Department of Education. If a school is not accredited, there is no guarantee that the education you would get there would appropriately and adequately prepare you for a career as an automotive technician, body repairer, or diesel engine specialist. Examples of accrediting commissions include the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. You can always research the commissions themselves to learn more about what is required of an institution for the commission to give it its stamp of approval.