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How Long Does It Take to Become an Automotive Technician?

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Oct 15, 2018 ·
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Work as an automotive technician constantly presents new challenges to tackle and solutions to find. Automotive technicians get to work on their passion for vehicles while making customers and clients happy. 

If you’re wondering how long it takes to become an automotive technician, know that you can complete training in less than a year that prepares you for an entry-level position as an automotive technician. The actual time it takes to become an automotive technician depends on the school you attend, the courses and specialties you pursue, and the job openings available in the area where you want to work.

Learn more about what it takes to become an automotive technician in this guide. Automotive technicians are in demand in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of technicians working at dealerships, in auto repair shops and as mobile technicians throughout the country.

Preparing for a Career as an Automotive Technician

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers prefer that automotive technicians have completed a postsecondary program. While formal training is not always required, it often is. In many cases, training can give an applicant an advantage over someone who has not completed any. That’s because automotive technician training shows an employer you already have the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in an entry-level position, which reduces time needed for on-the-job training.

If you know you want a career as an automotive technician, the good news is that programs start every few weeks, so you can dive in when you’re ready. As long as you meet the educational requirements, you can enter into a program with no college experience required.

Is Becoming an Automotive Technician the Right Career for You?

Automotive technicians do a lot of problem-solving work. They use computers to diagnose vehicle issues and physically examine cars. They use hand tools and power tools to make repairs and replace parts. In addition to the physical labor, automotive technicians need to be excellent communicators, and provide clear and friendly customer support. 

If these skill sets interest you, you may be a good fit for a career as an automotive technician. Plus, an interest in cars, technology and design is essential.

What Education Do You Need to Become an Automotive Mechanic?

While high school automotive courses provide a good automotive technician background, high school graduates typically need formal automotive technician education to become fully qualified, according to the BLS.

The BLS says the best preparation for entry-level automotive technician positions is a trade school or postsecondary education program. These programs provide students with hands-on practice on vehicles. Students are able to learn in a supportive environment where making mistakes is acceptable so students can gain mastery of automotive skills. This eliminates the need for extensive on-the-job training, although technicians at all stages in their careers continue to learn at work as new automotive technology emerges.

How Long is Automotive Technician School?

The Automotive Technology program at Universal Technical Institute takes just 51 weeks to complete.1 The UTI program includes courses in subjects like engine service and repair, powertrains and transmissions, and vehicle brake systems. Each course is three weeks long and builds upon previously learned knowledge.

A Mercedes-Benz professional technician who graduated from Universal Technical Institute.

What are the Requirements to Attend Automotive Technician School?

Specific requirements to attend automotive technician school vary across institutions. At UTI, for example, the requirements include students having to be at least 16 years old. They also must have achieved one of the following: graduated high school, received a GED or passed a state-authorized equivalent exam, completed an officially recognized home schooling program, earned a degree at the postsecondary level, or attended a Title IV-eligible program at a postsecondary institution under the Ability to Benefit provision prior to July 1, 2012.

Tuition varies from program to program. At UTI, there are automotive technician school grants and scholarships available, as well as other financial aid options, to help students pay for school.10

Automotive Technician Certification Programs

Upon graduating UTI’s core automotive program, graduates receive a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree, depending on the campus, that confirms their completion of the program. Those who choose to pursue Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training can get additional in-depth training featuring a variety of brands.11

UTI graduates are also prepared to complete Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) examinations and may use their UTI training as one of the two years of experience required to become ASE certified. As the most-recognized standard for automotive technician excellence in the industry, ASE certification is highly valued by automotive dealerships and other employers.

How Much Does an Automotive Technician Make?

According to the BLS, the May 2019 median pay for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $42,090 per year, or $20.24 per hour.25 That’s more than 2.5 times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Wages may be higher based on factors such as location, demand and education.

What Are the Job Prospects for Automotive Technicians?

The BLS reports there were 756,600 automotive service technicians and mechanics working in the U.S. in 2019. The BLS states that the number of vehicles in use is expected to continue to rise, which means more entry-level service technicians will be needed to work on these vehicles.

In 2019 the largest employers of automotive mechanics and service technicians were as follows:

  • Automobile dealers: 33%
  • Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance: 27%
  • Self-employed workers: 13%
  • Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores: 8%

Automotive service technicians and mechanics are found in every state, with the highest number of employees in 2019 found in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

Related Questions

How Much Schooling Does It Take to Be a Master Mechanic?

Master mechanics are ASE certified. Certification requires examinations and at least two years of work experience. With UTI, the core automotive program counts toward one year of experience required for ASE certification. UTI students also learn skills and knowledge that prepare them to pass ASE examinations.

How do you become a collision repair technician?

The BLS reports industry certification is increasingly important to become a collision repair technician. The Collision Repair & Refinish Technology (CRRT) programs at UTI take 51 to 54 weeks to complete. The program was developed with leading industry brands and teaches students how to effectively use the technology, equipment and tools found in the collision repair industry.

UTI CRRT graduates receive I-CAR certificates for Non-Structural Technician Level 1, Steel Structural Technician Level I, Aluminum Structural Technician Level 1 and Refinish Technician Level 2. Students have the ability to pursue additional collision repair certifications during the UTI program.

Get Information on Automotive Technician Training

If you’d like to learn more about UTI’s automotive technician training program, contact us online or call 1-800-834-7308. Our Admissions team is here to help answer any questions you have.

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It only takes a few minutes to learn about technician training opportunities.

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Please enter your email address

By submitting this form, I agree that Universal Technical Institute, Inc., Custom Training Group, Inc., and their representatives may email, call, and / or text me with marketing messages about educational programs and services, as well as for school - related communications, at any phone number I provide, including a wireless number, using prerecorded calls or automated technology. I understand that my consent is not required to apply, enroll or make any purchase.

By submitting this form, I further understand and agree that all information provided is subject to UTI’s Privacy Policy available at uti.edu/privacy-policy

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