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Automotive Technology Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Ajayi Abimbola Samuel - March 02, 2022


Automotive technology associate degrees prepare students for careers in the automotive industry. They provide students with the technical training and skills to test, diagnose, and repair complex mechanical, chemical, and electronic systems in cars and trains.

As long as we use cars, we will always need the services of expert automotive technicians. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are about 703,300 automobile technicians and mechanics in the United States. In this article, we will talk about the best colleges for automotive technology, automotive technology associate degree requirements, and the jobs you can get with this type of degree.

What Is Automotive Technology?

Automotive technology is the study of the mechanics and technology that drives today’s vehicles. It involves the practical application of the principles associated with engines, fuel systems, brake systems, suspension systems, transmissions, emission controls, and much more.

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What Is an Automotive Technology Associate Degree?

An automotive technology associate degree is one of the four college degree levels for high-level careers . It’s a two-year degree program where students gain technical knowledge about automotive theories and other technological principles, along with hands-on experience in engine repair, performance diagnosis, air conditioning systems, transmission diagnosis and repair, and shop safety.

This type of degree prepares students for entry-level positions in hands-on and management roles in the automotive field. It also prepares students for their National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exams and for getting graduate certificates in the field.

Automotive Technology Associate Degree Requirements

The general requirements for a degree in automotive engineering are usually a high school diploma and a minimum GPA that depends on the automotive school. Some universities conduct placement exams to ensure that candidates have the necessary language and computational skills to succeed in this type of program.

How Much Does an Automotive Technology Associate Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, it costs around $11,391 to get an associate degree in automotive technology. This cost includes the school tuition, residency fees, board fees, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Automotive Technology Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Automotive Technology Degree

A college education can be expensive and may be difficult to pay entirely outright. Luckily, some universities have special payment plans to help their students finance their education. You could also sign up for the installment plan and pay your fees in installments.

Financially disadvantaged students can also benefit from financial aid and grants. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 72.2 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid from the federal government, state government, and private institutions. This helps lift financial burdens off of the backs of students so that they can focus on their education.

Best Automotive Technology Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
City Colleges of Chicago Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology Higher Learning Commission
Georgia Piedmont Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Midlands Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Muskegon Community College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology Higher Learning Commission
New England Institute of Technology Associate of Applied Science in Automotive & Marine Technology New England Commission of Higher Education
Northcentral Technical College The Automotive Technology Associate Degree Program Higher Learning Commission
Pennsylvania College of Technology Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology The Middle States Commission on Higher Education
South Seattle College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
South Texas College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
University of Alaska Anchorage Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Best Colleges for Automotive Technology: Top Automotive Technology Associate Degree Programs

An associate degree in automotive technology offers the necessary training and educational experience to let you delve into the automotive service field. Here are some of the best colleges where you could obtain your associate degree in automotive technology.

Automotive Technology | City Colleges of Chicago

This degree offered by City Colleges of Chicago equips students with the foundational knowledge and practical experience required to begin their careers in the automotive industry. Students in this program learn technical skills for the industry such as auto body care, automotive maintenance technology, detailing, chassis maintenance, and fuel management technology.

Automotive Technology | Georgia Piedmont Technical College

The Georgia Piedmont Technical College associate’s degree in automotive technology is a 62-credit-hour program that prepares students for careers in the automotive service and repair industry. The program focuses on automotive mechanics theory and the practical application of said theory to help their students gain the necessary academic, technical, and professional knowledge that they will need to succeed in their careers.

Automotive Technology | Midlands Technical College

The Midland Technical College offers an all-encompassing educational experience involving hands-on lab training and intensive teaching using state-of-the-art equipment. Students here learn about diagnostic and electrical servicing, air conditioning repair, engine performance, engine overhauls, and the replacement of automatic and manual transmissions.

This program also prepares students to gain professional certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

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Automotive Technology (AAS) | Muskegon Community College

The associate of science degree program at Muskegon Community College educates students with the required expertise and skills to work as auto mechanics, automotive parts specialists, or automotive service technicians. It usually takes two years to complete this program, although students can choose to extend this if they want to attend college on a part-time basis.

Automotive Technology, AS | New England Institute of Technology

Successful completion of this program leaves its students with hands-on learning, manufacturer factory training, and industry certification to land entry-level roles in the industry. Students learn under the close guidance of industry experts, allowing them to gain practical knowledge in the theory of operation, design, and servicing techniques of automobiles.

Automotive Technology | Northcentral Technical College

This is a 64 credits program that offers extensive hands-on training and entry-level skills in automotive service and repair. Students learn in an active workshop environment shoulder-to-shoulder with qualified professionals.

This program is available in a wide range of campus locations including Wausau, Antigo, Phillips, Medford, Spencer, and Wittenberg, Wisconsin. The program is also available online for distance learners.

Automotive Technology | Pennsylvania College of Technology

This program offers an innovative learning experience employing state-of-the-art labs and equipment. The coursework includes brake systems, steering, engine performance, electrical systems, repair, and advanced diagnostics.

Graduates of this program can transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in automotive technology management and earn a bachelor’s degree in four more semesters.

Automotive Technology | South Seattle College

This program teaches students how to maintain, diagnose, and repair a wide range of automobiles. Students can also learn the necessary skills and insights to keep up with the evolving demands of the automotive industry.

Automotive Technology | South Texas College

The South Texas College associate degree in automotive technology prepares students for careers in the automotive service industry. Students enrolled in this program learn about automotive heating, fuel injection, manual and automatic transmission, steering, and suspension controls. The coursework emphasizes hands-on learning to help students develop repair and diagnostic skills.

Automotive Technology | University of Alaska Anchorage

The associate degree program in the automotive technology University of Alaska Anchorage involves practical experience and on-the-job training delivered inside state-of-the-art facilities. Students enjoy opportunities to gain their ASE certification and build their professional network. The coursework includes a General Motors training program in partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automotive.

Best Online Automotive Technology Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Bronx Community College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology The Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Front Range Community College Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology The Higher Learning Commission
Henry Ford College Automotive Technology Associate in Applied Science The Higher Learning Commission
Ivy Tech Community College Automotive Technology Associate in Applied Science The Higher Learning Commission
Northampton Community College Automotive Technology Associate in Applied Science The Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Saint Ana College Automotive Technology Associate in Applied Science National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF)
Triton University Automotive Technology Associate in Applied Science The Higher Learning Commission

Best Colleges for Automotive Technology: Top Online Automotive Technology Associate Degree Programs

Online learning is a great tool for those who can’t attend college in person. If you would prefer to earn your associate degree in automotive technology through online learning, there are several schools you could check out. Here are a few of them.

Automotive Technology | Bronx Community College

Bronx Community College, in partnership with the Nissan/Infiniti training academy, offers online associate degrees in automotive technology, preparing students for their careers as automotive technicians. The curriculum involves automobile operational principles, service sequences, and diagnostic techniques.

Automotive Technology | Front Range Community College

This program introduces students to automobile repair and maintenance. Students gain the entry-level skills required to diagnose and fix today’s automobiles. This program also includes embedded certificate programs, which are awarded after the successful completion of the program.

Automotive Technology Associate in Applied Science | Henry Ford College

This program provides a good background in the systems that power automobiles including fuel, electrical, power, and drive trains. The curriculum exposes students to the technical aspects of the automobile to help them develop skills in testing, diagnostics, and servicing vehicles.

Automotive Technology | Ivy Tech Community College

This online program provides students with the skills to diagnose and repair automobiles. Students receive practical training on diagnostics and repair procedures in various areas such as air conditioning systems, brakes, and suspension systems.

Automotive Technology | Northampton Community College

The automotive technology degree program is one of the most popular programs at Northampton Community College. It equips students with a technical understanding of engine systems, drivetrains, and electronics.

Automotive Technology | Saint Ana College

In this program, students learn about the principles and practical application of automatic transmission, manual drive trains, suspensions, steering, heating, and air conditioners. Program graduates gain skills to land automotive jobs in the industry.

Automotive Technology | Triton University

This associate degree program offers the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to build a career in the automotive technology field. Successful completion of this program fulfills half of the job experience criteria for National Automotive Technician Education (NATE).

What’s the Average Automotive Technology Associate Degree Salary?

An auto mechanic replacing the oil in an engine.
An associate degree can provide hands-on work experience to its students.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive service technicians and mechanics earn an average salary of $44,050 annually. This salary can fluctuate depending on the company you work for and the kind of automotive technology you specialize in.

Top Automotive Technology Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Automotive Technology Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Automotive Service Technician $45,183
Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics $50,200
Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician $53,370
Automotive Body and Glass Repairers $44,190
Small Engine Mechanics $39,020

Best Automotive Technology Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Automotive Service Technician

  • Average Salary: $44,050
  • Job Outlook: 0%
  • Number of Jobs: 703,800
  • Highest-Paying States: Columbia, California, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii

Automotive service technicians diagnose and repair vehicles. They use computerized equipment to troubleshoot and identify problems in automobiles before planning repair procedures to rectify the faults. They also perform regular maintenance on vehicles.

Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics

  • Average Salary: $50,200
  • Job Outlook: 8%
  • Number of Jobs: 220,800
  • Highest-Paying States: Alaska, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, California

Diesel service technicians and mechanics repair and maintain diesel engines in vehicles. They conduct diagnoses, identify mechanical concerns, and repair malfunctioning components. They also perform basic care and maintenance on the vehicle’s electrical and exhaust systems to comply with pollution limits.

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician

  • Average Salary: $53,370
  • Job Outlook: 11%
  • Number of Jobs: 99,100
  • Highest-Paying States: Hawaii, Alaska, Illinois, New York, California

Heavy vehicle technicians are responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing vehicles used in heavy-duty jobs like construction, towing, and farming. They play a key role in a variety of industries, including railroad transportation and construction.

Small Engine Mechanics

  • Average Salary: $39,020
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Number of Jobs: 69,000
  • Highest-Paying States: Hawaii, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, Alaska

A small engine mechanic focuses on motorized power equipment. They specialize in the maintenance and repair of power equipment such as motorbikes, boats, snowmobiles, and chainsaws.

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

  • Average Salary: $44,190
  • Job Outlook: 6%
  • Number of Jobs: 173,400
  • Highest-Paying States: Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington

Automotive body and glass repairers repair the structural damage on the body and glass of automobiles. They replace damaged auto parts and restore the vehicle to prime physical condition.

Automotive Technology Bootcamp vs Automotive Technology Associate Degree: Which Is Better?

This depends on the student. Both options do a good job of equipping students with the required technical skills to begin careers in the automotive industry. Students who prefer a quicker learning platform may prefer bootcamps since their courses require a lesser time frame.

Benefits of an Automotive Technology Associate Degree

  • Flexibility. An associate degree offers more flexibility than a bachelor’s degree. You can earn your degree at two-year colleges, four-year universities, and career colleges. You can also take it online from the comfort of your home.
  • Further Educational Options. An associate degree can be your stepping stone into other advanced degrees. It can expand your career options and expose you to various educational opportunities in the automotive field.
  • Lower Cost. An associate degree costs less than other college degrees. It also takes less time.

Benefits of an Automotive Technology Bootcamp

  • Immersive learning experience. Bootcamps offer an immersive learning experience consisting of a perfect mix of automotive theory and hands-on learning.
  • Hands-on Experience. Students gain practical on-the-job experience at an automotive repair facility as part of the course curriculum
  • Career Services. Students receive post-graduation services to help them land jobs after the program. Some bootcamps even offer direct job placement opportunities.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Automotive Technology?

Yes, you should. While it is possible to enter the automotive tech field without a college degree, we recommend that you get an associate degree. Automotive technology is becoming more sophisticated, and employers are now placing more stringent requirements on entry-level roles. An associate degree can help you to stand out in the hiring stage.

Automotive Technology Associate Degree FAQ

Is an associate degree in automotive technology worth it?

Yes, it is. An associate degree will teach you the foundational skills for a career in the automobile service industry. It will provide the kind of hands-on experience that employers require from entry-level automotive technicians.

How hard is automotive technology?

Working in automotive technology can be taxing. It’s a very physical job involving a lot of intense physical activities involving bending, twisting, and laying on hard concrete floors. But it gets easier with time.

What can you do with an associate degree in automotive technology?

An associate degree in automotive technology can open career pathways to jobs such as a collision repair technician, mechanical engineering technician, automotive service technician, body and glass repairer, and heavy vehicle technician.

How do I get ASE certified?

You’ll have to pass the professional certification exam and get relevant job experience before you can obtain the ASE certification. An associate degree offers quality hands-on experience and knowledge to help you pass the certification tests.

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Ajayi Abimbola Samuel

About the author: Ajayi Abimbola is an expert content writer who has written for sites like LocalPrana and Junkar Ninja. He holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, where he also studied Java and Python.

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