How to Become a Mechanic With No Experience: 7 Steps

Feb 9, 2023 ·

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All mechanics start somewhere, and it’s never too late to get started.

However, you may be wondering how to become a mechanic with no experience. It is possible, but the journey to get there can seem unclear without enough information.

Each technician’s career path is unique. However, a guide on how to become a mechanic can help jump-start your pursuit of an auto mechanic career.

Continue reading to find out more. We’ll explain how you can train for a mechanic career with no experience!

1. Have a High School Diploma or GED

So, can you be a mechanic without going to school? The truth is, employers often exclude applicants for auto mechanic roles if they haven’t graduated high school.

Even if you already have practical mechanic skills, your automotive mechanic resume could get overlooked if you don’t have this credential, especially at top companies and dealerships. Most trade schools also require a high school diploma or GED to enroll.

These documents indicate a certain level of discipline and reasoning ability. Even if you’re a very diligent worker, it can be harder to prove that to an employer or postsecondary school without official documentation.

Getting a diploma or GED takes time. However, without either, it may take much longer to find your footing in the automotive technology industry. To broaden your career options, get your diploma or GED first!

Read: What are the Admissions Requirements at UTI?

2. Enroll in a Trade Program

Without technical training, becoming a mechanic with no experience is feasible, but doing so could be difficult since many of these roles – even entry-level ones – still require previous hands-on experience.

This is the type of experience that technical trade programs can provide. These programs teach their students the skills and knowledge needed for entry-level careers in automotive technology. They can also offer degrees, diplomas or certifications that confirm their graduates have built a technical foundation.

Most of UTI’s Automotive Technology programs offer degrees. Depending on the program they attend, a graduate can receive:

  • Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS)
  • Associate in Specialized Technology (AST)
  • Occupational Associate Degree (OAD)

Certain automotive technology programs may offer a diploma instead. Our campus in Bloomfield, New Jersey provides its automotive graduates with a certificate of completion.

These documents could make a difference in an automotive technician’s professional journey. Employers are generally more confident in the aptitude of mechanics with schooling credentials. For that reason, they may be more likely to hire mechanics who have completed structured training programs over those without credentials.1

Trade schools may also provide information to their students about competitive job opportunities. For example, at UTI, our Career Services team can help students and graduates prepare for interviews and compile other application materials during their job search.

Fortunately, you can enroll in an automotive mechanic school even if you have no prior experience. But if you're itching for hands-on experience and the thought of hitting the books leaves you restless, don’t fret!

Students in these programs receive hands-on training through a blended learning model that combines online, remote learning and hands-on instruction – both of which teach skills commonly used in the field. They’ll also have access to the tools, machinery and equipment needed for effective on-campus training.

Technical schooling also typically takes less time to complete than a four-year university program. At Universal Technical Institute, it can take about 51 weeks.7 That’s a little less than a year!

3. Continue Schooling With Specialized Training

Specialized training programs whose curriculum is tailored to specific manufacturers can help graduates further develop their skillset. Most of UTI’s specialized auto training programs last 12 to 15 weeks.8 Some programs, like the Mercedes-Benz Drive (MB Drive) and the Porsche Technology Apprenticeship Program (PTAP), may last longer.15

These programs teach students how to service vehicles for specific brands and manufacturers. Some programs specialize in just one automotive brand, while others cover multiple brands.

Program completion provides graduates with credibility and training they can use when applying for jobs in the auto industry.

Here at UTI, both student-paid and manufacturer-paid programs allow students to explore specialized training. Student-paid training has fewer application requirements, which means that more students can apply for a spot. Some manufacturer-paid curriculums, while attached with certain GPA and attendance requirements, also include post-program employment agreements!15

Read: Student-Paid vs. Manufacturer-Paid Programs

4. Double Your Learning

On campus, students receive hands-on auto mechanic training in our labs. However, students could also pursue part-time work while training at UTI.

A number of UTI’s graduates have obtained part-time jobs while attending classes! It's an excellent way to learn while earning an income. Students can explore such opportunities with our Early Employment Program.36 It’s important to note that eligibility requirements and conditions for these positions are established by participating employers and are between the employer and the student. In addition to employer-specific requirements, eligible applicants for the Early Employment Program must be enrolled at or currently attending UTI (program currently offered at select UTI campuses based on employer availability and hiring needs).

5. Learn With the Right Tools

Your automotive mechanic courses will include the majority of the tools and equipment you need during on-campus training. The tools and equipment used in our labs are also similar or the same technology that industry manufacturers use in the field.

However, you’ll also need your own auto mechanic tools, especially after graduation. Fortunately, UTI has a relationship with Snap-on, a leading manufacturer of professional high-end tools and equipment – a brand that the military trusts!

Automotive Technology II and/or Diesel Technology II students nearing graduation with no outstanding obligations will be given a Career Starter Tool Set Voucher, which can be redeemed for a variety of Snap-on® tool sets! Snap-on offers a wide tool selection including:

  • Wrenches
  • Pliers
  • Ratchet sets
  • Socket sets

6. Apply and Test for Certification

Obtaining certification is another way to boost your credibility since it indicates a specific level of knowledge in the field. Several states even require technicians to obtain certifications to perform certain technical tasks.

Although there’s no government-mandated definition of a mechanic,  getting certified demonstrates that someone has objectively met a specific set of criteria and can validate their knowledge and abilities in automotive technology. This validation could be helpful in a job search.

You might be wondering how to become a certified mechanic without school. Although it’s possible, getting certified without technical training can be pretty tricky. But with the right training, graduates can feel prepared to apply and test for certifications.

UTI's Automotive Technician Training program is Master Certified by the ASE Education Foundation, a division of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).16 That means our automotive technology graduates are considered well-prepared to take ASE exams. They can also use their training to replace one of the two years of work experience required for ASE certification.

Even at entry-level, getting your foot in the door can be difficult if you don't stand out on paper. But those who complete a training program and pass certification exams can provide the documents some employers require when applying for jobs in the industry.

7. Follow Local Regulations

As mentioned before, “mechanic” isn’t a federally regulated term. However, some states may also require technicians to obtain credentials that verify prior hands-on automotive experience. Other states may require credentials only for more advanced or specialized auto technician positions.

These credentials could include specific certifications and, in some cases, licensing. Technicians may also need to renew their certifications every year or so.

In certain states, technicians may also need to retest every few years to get recertified and continue working in the state. This is especially true with ASE certification renewal.

However, keep in mind that some states waive certain experience or testing requirements for ASE-certified individuals. This is excellent news for anyone attending an auto mechanical trade school that prepares students for the ASE certification process, like UTI. Graduates of our Automotive Technology program are well prepared to take ASE exams and can use their training to replace one year of the two years of work experience required to become ASE certified.

Learn How to Become a Mechanic With No Experience at UTI!

Here it is – our step-by-step reference for becoming an auto mechanic from the ground up! Itching to get started? Then it’s time to get ready for school.

Universal Technical Institute offers a 51-week Automotive Technology program.7 Here, industry experts can teach you how to become a mechanic with no experience, assisting you in developing the skills and knowledge required to pursue auto mechanic jobs.

Locate one of our Universal Technical Institute locations near you. Once you’re ready to enroll and begin your training, fill out an automotive trade school application!

With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

8) Does not include time required to complete a qualifying prerequisite program such as UTI’s 51-week Automotive Technology program.

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.

36) Students enrolled in select UTI programs are eligible to apply for the Early Employment Program. Participating employers will contact selected applicants to conduct interviews. Hiring, employee retention and compensation decisions are made solely by the prospective employer. Employer participation and program details are subject to change. For additional information, please contact Career Services. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

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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