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Make the Most Out of Your Automotive Mechanic School Experience

May 18, 2023 ·

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Before enrolling in an automotive mechanic school, it may be worthwhile to ensure the school can help you reach your goals, offers mentorship, and is aligned with industry-leading standards and practices.

Selecting a school that does these things can help you get the value of your investment.1 Keep reading to learn how these things can also assist you in making the most of your automotive mechanic school experience to best prepare for your future. 

1. Set Your Goals and Find a School That Works for You

Before selecting a school, solidify your goals.

There are a few guiding questions you can ask yourself to determine your goals. Answering these questions will also help you recognize which automotive mechanic schools can help you achieve them.

What Do I Hope to Leave Auto Mechanic School With?

There may be a few different answers to this question. Regardless of what yours is, ensure the school you enroll in can provide it. A few common answers may include:

  • Degree: Do you value having a degree, diploma, or certificate that validates your training? Universal Technical Institute (UTI) provides automotive school graduates with either an associate degree or diploma, depending on the campus attended.
  • Feeling prepared to pursue a career: Do you want to graduate prepared with the hard and soft skills necessary to pursue entry-level technician jobs? UTI’s automotive courses and student support services aim to help with that.
  • Relationships: Is getting your foot in the door your primary concern? Find a school that values and promotes networking within the industry.
  • Certification: Do you want to leave prepared to become a certified technician? Find a school that equips students with the knowledge they need to test for industry-standard certifications, like the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. UTI is accredited by the ASE Education Foundation and has designed a curriculum that helps prepare students to test for certification after graduation.

How Soon Do I Want to Pursue a Career?

Before enrolling in an automotive mechanic school, ask how long the program is to be sure you can commit the time. UTI’s automotive mechanic training school is just 51 weeks long.7 Throughout that time, students gain foundational knowledge on automotive diagnosis, repair and maintenance.

We use a blended learning model that helps students build this knowledge.18 Students complete half of their automotive mechanic school online and the other half practicing in state-of-the-industry labs. This learning model also mimics the training technicians undergo in the field. Aligning the two types of learning helps prepare students to pursue entry-level careers after graduation.

If students need help seeking out employment, they can lean on UTI’s Career Services department, which has relationships with employers across the country, to find potential career opportunities for graduates.1

Do You Have a Specific Area of Interest Within the Automotive Industry?

If venturing down a specific path within the automotive industry is a goal of yours, attending a school that offers specialized training may help progress that goal.

For instance, many students are passionate about specific brands. At UTI, they can hone in on their passion by enrolling in a manufacturer-specific advanced training (MSAT) program.

Once you’ve established your goals, you can select the automotive mechanic school that’s best for you. Soon after that, your next step should be finding a mentor(s) willing to help you achieve your goals.

2. Find Mentors to Lean On

All of UTI’s instructors bring real-world experience to the classroom. From their biggest mistakes to their greatest successes — instructors want to share what they’ve learned with you.

gerardo-mendez

UTI automotive instructor Gerardo Mendez shared, “I thought, what better way to put my two passions together — being in the automotive field and being able to pass on my knowledge and teach future technicians what I learned and what I experienced?” Gerardo says, “I can give back what I got.”

Building relationships with and leaning on your instructors is one of the most effective ways to make the most out of your automotive mechanic school. Many UTI instructors take pride in the fact that their students reach out to them even after they graduate, whether it be to touch base or seek guidance.

Automotive instructor Tom Brown said, “I tell these students, if you want to do something for me, in five years come back and tell me how you’re doing. If you’re now an A-tech in five years, or the shop foreman, or own your own business, do you know how much pride I will get from that?”6

UTI's instructors are there to help you, and we highly suggest allowing them to.

3. Make Use of the Automotive Mechanic School’s Industry Relationships

An auto mechanic school with strong industry relationships suggests that leading brands trust the school to produce high-quality technicians. UTI has employer, manufacturer, and aftermarket relationships that students can use to their advantage. Keep reading to learn a few ways the automotive students at UTI do so.

Network With Industry Professionals

UTI hosts various events that provide students the chance to meet and get to know employers. This can include visiting a dealership to learn more about the culture and introduce yourself or attending a career fair.

We suggest keeping an eye on our events page and attending what you can. Even if you aren’t interested in working for a particular employer, building relationships within the industry can never hurt, and UTI prides itself on providing students with opportunities to do that early on in their journey.

Advance Your Training

If one of your goals is to eventually pursue employment with an industry-leading brand, UTI may be a good fit for you. Our automotive mechanic school offers nine MSAT programs to eligible students at select campuses:

Each program grants students opportunities to earn credit toward or complete credentials specific to these brands. When they graduate from the program, they are prepared to pursue entry-level technician jobs with industry leaders.

Many of these brands may prefer to hire students who have gone through the program, as well.

Technician recruiter at Sewell Automotive John Norlington shared, "I prefer students who have taken an MSAT program. They’re more familiar with the vehicles and they hit the ground running."1

Build Your Toolset

We’ve talked about the importance of building your skillset, but what about a physical toolset?

Thanks to UTI’s 25 aftermarket relationships, our labs are outfitted with the industry-standard tools and technologies found in the field.

With that said, we recommend that students begin building their toolset while they’re in school. UTI’s automotive mechanic school teams up with Snap-on – a manufacturer of high-end tools for transportation industry professionals. All UTI students receive a discount when purchasing Snap-on tools.

The campus you attend can help you choose the tools you may need in your future career. To learn more about building an automotive tool set, check out our auto mechanic tools list.

Auto Mechanic School FAQs

What Resources Are Available to Help Me Succeed in Automotive Mechanic School?

Aside from experienced mentors, UTI students have access to support services that can help them handle other things, including a Financial Aid department,10 housing assistance, military and veterans Services,20 and help to find part-time employment during their studies.1

Are There Any Internships or Apprenticeships Available During My Training?

Certain specialized training programs at UTI may provide internship or apprenticeship opportunities, but the core program does not.

How Long Will It Take Me to Complete My Automotive Training?

UTI’s automotive mechanic school can be completed in less than one year.7

Prepare for Your Future at UTI

Pursue an education at UTI and get mentorships, industry-aligned training and networking opportunities that can prepare you for the automotive industry.

Take that first step by requesting info online, and we’ll get you in touch with an Admissions Representative. 

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