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5 Tips to Succeed in Automotive Mechanic School

May 16, 2023 ·

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Automotive mechanic school can be challenging and time-consuming, but those who apply themselves can leave with a foundational knowledge that many employers value in entry-level candidates.1 To help you succeed in automotive mechanic school and thereafter, we've created a list of tips you can implement before and during your training. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Research Different Automotive Mechanic Schools

If you’ve run an “automotive mechanic schools near me” search, you probably already know there is a wide range of training programs to choose from. Selecting the best fit for you is the first challenge you’ll face. Luckily, you can ask a few questions to ease the selection process.

High-Level Questions to Ask

Before enrolling in an auto mechanic school, consider asking yourself and your top-pick schools the following questions:

  • How long is the program? Some training programs last longer than others. Ensure you’re willing and able to commit to the time requirement.
  • Does the learning structure match my learning style?Most aspiring automotive technicians tend to be visual, hands-on learners, as working with your hands is typical of the role. Ask the school what their hands-on training looks like.
  • What kind of financial aid is available? Postsecondary education can be expensive. If you’re concerned with costs, ask what efforts the school makes to help students.
  • Do I want to take my education to the next level? Some auto mechanic schools offer specialized training programs beyond their basic automotive instruction, which may help students take their training to the next level.

2. Consider Your Career Goals

Considering your career goals before enrolling in a program is crucial because it will help you determine which automotive mechanic schools are equipped to help you. Some common career goals include earning certification and securing employment with a specific brand.1

Automotive Mechanic Certification

Becoming a certified automotive technician is an advantageous goal to set. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers require their techs to earn Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification.

If earning certification is one of your goals, seek out an automotive mechanic school, like Universal Technical Institute (UTI), where the curriculum intentionally prepares students to test for ASE certification after graduation.

To become ASE certified, technicians must have at least two years of hands-on experience, and graduates of UTI’s automotive mechanic school can substitute their training for one of those two years.

UTI is also accredited by the ASE Education Foundation, which means our training program helps prepare students to take the certification exam after graduation.16 All UTI instructors are also ASE certified, positioning them as reliable resources for students and graduates preparing to take the test.

Aside from ASE certification, many aspiring mechanics aim for a career for a specific brand within the industry. If this sounds like you, consider attending an auto mechanic school that offers specialized training.

Specialized Training

UTI’s Automotive Mechanic School offers nine different manufacturer-specific advanced training (MSAT) programs at select campuses:

Many of these programs provide students with opportunities to earn brand-specific credentials, further preparing them to pursue entry-level careers with industry leaders after graduation.1

3. Give 100% in Your Courses

Once you’ve considered your goals and have decided which automotive mechanic training school to enroll in, it’s go-time.

Auto mechanic school instructor Anthony Mondi put it this way, “Determination is one of the big things — you have to be determined to finish what you start, and you have to be determined to put the effort into doing well and succeeding. You have to keep your focus. Find what you want to do and go for it.”

So, what does that look like? Here are a few practical ways to give 100% in your automotive courses:

  • Set aside time for studying:Automotive mechanic school can be challenging because it requires persistent problem-solving and attention to detail. Being intentional about studying the course material outside of class can make hands-on application less daunting.
  • Ask questions when you have them:Automotive technicians are lifelong learners. The ever-changing field presents endless opportunities to gain new knowledge, so you might as well get comfortable asking questions now!
  • Don’t be afraid to fail:UTI’s curriculum starts from square one to build students’ confidence from the ground up. Our instructors expect you to make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to. Some of the best auto mechanics will assure you making mistakes is how they learned.
  • Try not to miss class: UTI practices a blended learning model, meaning students complete half of their automotive mechanic school online and then practice what they learn in a lab.18 Both online and hands-on work present opportunities to practice and learn something new, so it’s best to be present.

Another helpful way to succeed in automotive mechanic school is to build relationships.

4. Develop Relationships With Your Instructors & Peers

Whether to catch up or act as a resource — many of UTI’s instructors correspond with students long after they graduate. Developing a relationship with your instructors during your studies won't only make learning more comfortable and enjoyable, but it may also prove helpful in the long run when you need guidance or encouragement while in the field.

It’s just as important to network with your peers. You will learn from one another's triumphs and mistakes. Getting to know your fellow students could also mean potential connections later on in the industry.

UTI Long Beach graduate Holden Grose said it best, “I didn’t know what to expect once I graduated but what I ended up leaving with was a load of connections in the industry, and I got my foot in the door to a lot of different places.”6

5. Take Advantage of Campus Resources

Robust campus resources are often the tell-tale sign of an auto mechanic school that cares about your success. If you enroll in a trade school with these types of support services, be sure to lean on them where possible.

UTI's support services aim to help ease students' transition into and out of school. Learn more about some of our commonly utilized services below.

Financial Aid

Navigating financial aid applications can be intimidating, so finding a school willing to help along the process may be worthwhile. UTI’s Financial Aid department assists students in filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

We also have more than $15 million in scholarships and grants available this year to those who qualify.10 Start by diving into our scholarship application tips page.

Career Services

You may graduate with in-demand skills but be unsure where you can apply them. That’s where UTI’s Career Services department steps in. Our specialists have relationships with employers across the nation to help find potential career opportunities for graduates.1

Alumni can always lean back on UTI’s Career Service department, too. For example, if you’re interested in advancement, relocation, or a new auto mechanic role, we will try to help you achieve that.

In addition, to help to locate potential employment opportunities, we also help prepare students to put their best foot forward through:

  • Career coaching
  • Career development classes
  • Interview training
  • Résumé development
  • Access to a nationwide database of career opportunities

FAQ About Auto Mechanic School

What Skills Do I Need to Be Successful in Automotive Mechanic School?

Aside from technical aptitude, aspiring automotive technicians typically share a common set of traits. They are passionate, persistent, and adaptable.

What Are the Benefits of an Automotive Mechanic School?

Attending an automotive mechanic school may help in your pursuit of a career. The BLS reports that employers prefer candidates with postsecondary education as they require less on-the-job training than those who have not attended trade school.

Will I Need to Purchase Any Special Tools or Equipment for Classes?

UTI’s state-of-the-industry labs have the equipment students need, including tools and equipment from Snap-on — a leading manufacturer for the transportation industry.

We encourage students to begin building a toolset while enrolled in our program. Thanks to UTI’s relationship with Snap-on, students receive a discount when purchasing some Snap-on products.

Take the First Step at UTI’s Automotive Mechanic School

After carefully considering your goals, enrolling in an automotive mechanic training school can be an exciting experience! And, UTI's team of supportive instructors and career service advisors are prepared to help you reach your goals.

Take the first step – Request more info, and we’ll connect you with an Admissions Representative.

With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
Hands-on training. Get hands on experience with the industry's leading brands.
No Pressure to commit. Get answers to your questions without any obligations.
Request More Info Or Call Now 800.834.7308

1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

6) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

10) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

16) Not all programs are accredited by the ASE Education Foundation.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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