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For many, working on cars is a passion. This is especially true if you have the opportunity to do something interesting like fix up a classic car. However, even if it’s not a ’57 Chevy you are working on, there is something satisfying about troubleshooting, diagnosing, and fixing cars. It’s easy to get absorbed in a project, loosing yourself in it only to look up and find that hours have gone by. If you love working on automobiles, trucks, rigs, or boats, then perhaps becoming an automotive mechanic is a good career choice. However, if you are considering this choice, there are two things that we recommend: An Associate Degree and ASE Certification.

You may be asking yourself why you would need to go to college and get an associate degree if you already know how to work on cars. There is a difference between working on cars in your spare time and working as a professional. A college degree is not always required for an automotive mechanic position. Still the trend is that it is required more often, and you are much more likely to get a better paying and more challenging position if you have your associate degree in automotive mechanics.

The reason for this is that, over the past several decades, cars have become more and more sophisticated, including more electronics and more parts of the car monitored and regulated by computers. This trend of automobiles getting more and more complex is likely to continue in the future as hybrid and electric cars continue to evolve.

An associate degree typically takes 2 years to complete. Typically, you’ll be able to choose between an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in automotive mechanics. You’ll take classes that will familiarize you with every part of an automobile, including suspension, electrical systems, power trains, and transmissions.

ASE Certification

ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence. The ASE Certification is a series of tests designed to test your knowledge and ability in repair, diagnostics and maintenance of vehicles. When you see information showing that a certain shop uses ASE certified technicians, it’s important to understand that it is not the shop that receives the certification, but each and every mechanic.

ASE is a safeguard for everyone involved in automotive repair; the shop, the individual technician and the customer who is having their car serviced. An ASE certification demonstrates a mechanic’s level of expertise and ensures that he or she knows how to perform repairs or maintenance safely and effectively. A shop who only employs ASE certified mechanics knows what it is getting, because each of their employees have taken a test that quantitatively demonstrates their skill and knowledge. The customer who is having their car serviced has the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the person working on their car has demonstrated a certain level of proficiency.

For those of you looking to become successful automotive technicians, an associate degree and ASE certification represent a time and money commitment on your part, but that commitment will repay you in the form of a better job at a better shop.

Now that you know you’d like to pursue automotive mechanics, check out the list of possible programs below:

  • Automotive Associate Degree
  • Automotive Diploma
  • Automotive Certificate
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Aviation Management
  • Avionics
  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace
  • Collision Repair
  • Diesel Technology
  • Marine Mechanic
  • Motorcycle Mechanic
  • NASCAR Technician
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