Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology Associate's Degree

An associate's degree in automotive and diesel technology will prepare you for a career servicing and working with all sorts of automobiles. Learn more about this degree program and the career opportunities available to graduates. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn an Automotive and Diesel Technology Degree?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists over 500 community colleges and technical institutes that offer an associate's degree in automotive or diesel technology. In addition, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) maintains an online directory of schools offering programs that have been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you may be able to receive training in automotive and diesel technology at the high school level ( However, the BLS further states that while secondary school programs may be helpful; they can also vary a great deal in their content and focus. Increasingly, employers prefer to hire someone who has completed a formal, postsecondary education program.

Online DegreesSome programs offer partial classwork online
Common CoursesSuspension and steering, electrical and electronics systems, powertrains
Other RequirementsAssociate degree programs require a high school diploma or GED
Career OptionsAutomobile service technician, automobile diesel technician, truck and bus diesel technician

What Sort of Certification or Licensing is Available?

Following your completion of an ASE-certified program and 1-2 years of relevant work experience, you may be eligible to sit for one or more of the ASE certification examinations. You must pass all the tests in a given series to be certified as a master technician. Every five years, you will need to be re-tested in order to maintain your certification.

As mentioned by the BLS, ASE certification is the industry standard for automotive and diesel technicians. Though certification is not legally required, you may find that it will increase your chances of employment and advancement.

What Can I Expect in a Program?

A program usually takes two years to complete and can consist of 64-136 credits. The difference may be explained in part by the fact that some schools offer a degree program that combines both automotive and diesel technology, while others offer them as individual programs. Completion of a program can lead to an Associate in Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree.

Typical courses you might encounter include suspension and steering, electrical and electronics systems, welding and metal repair, powertrains, computerized engine management systems, transportation HVAC systems, hydraulics and preventative maintenance. You will find that most technical courses consist of classroom and lab work. You may have the opportunity to serve an internship at a school-partnered, independent shop, garage, or repair facility.

Because of the large number of hands-on training requirements, there are no completely online associate's degree programs in automotive and diesel technology. You may find cases in which schools allow you to complete some of your didactic or general education requirements online.

What Are Some Employment and Wage Projections?

The BLS projected that from 2014-2024, employment opportunities for automotive service technicians would increase by 5 %, and diesel service technicians by 12 %. This may be due to several factors, including the growing number of cars and trucks in operation, the improved longevity of vehicles and the increasing use of diesel engines in automobiles.

By becoming certified in a number of areas, you may be able to advance to a supervisory or management position. In 2015, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for automobile repair and maintenance technicians to be $43,220, while the salary for bus/truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists was determined to be $46,110

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