Best Automotive Technology Degrees

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Shift your career into high gear with one of the nation’s best Automotive Technology training degrees.

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Have you always loved working on cars but want to take your skills and knowledge to the next level? Can you envision yourself as the foreman of a bustling automotive shop? Do you enjoy working with teams and getting your hands dirty?

Then a degree or certification in Automotive Technology may be the next move for you!

If you’re interested in trade school or associate-level degrees, check out our ranking of the Best Online Community Colleges.

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Top 10 Best Automotive Technology Degrees

Rank School Location
1 McPherson College McPherson, KS
2 Montana State University-Northern Havre, MT
3 Universal Technical Institute Orlando, FL
4 Southern Adventist University Collegedale, TN
5 New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI
6 Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI
7 Utah Valley University Orem, UT
8 Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS
9 Walla Walla University College Place, WA
10 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN

What kind of automotive technology degree should you get?

Though most Automotive Technology certificates and degrees provide foundational training in vehicle design, diagnosis, and repair, each comes with its own emphases and specializations. Some schools stress the importance of theory as much as application. While others put you in the shop right away.

The programs below offer everything from a nine-month certification to a full four-year degree. While the former will get you entry-level access to the shop, the latter sets you up to attain leadership and management positions.

Whichever program feels right for you, just make sure it’s one that will adequately prepare you for the certification exams after graduation.

How much money do people make with an automotive technology certificate or degree?

Depending on the degree you get, and therefore the position you acquire after graduation, you can find yourself earning between $10 to $26 an hour. This translates roughly to $22,000 to $62,000 annually. Though you may only have the time and resources for certification now, it’s wise to think about advanced education later, as salaries rise commensurate to degree experience.

Not only are there financial perks, but automotive technology offers job stability. It’s projected that another 47,000 jobs will open for mechanics and technicians in the next ten years. As long as people drive cars, there will be a need for someone with a degree in automotive technology.

What are the requirements for an automotive technology certificate or degree?

Most of these programs have open acceptance policies. Meaning, you only have to show you’re passionate about Automotive Technology to find yourself enrolled. Once accepted, you can anticipate foundational classes in engine repair, diagnostics, drivetrains, power and performance, and more.

Of course, the curriculum varies widely depending on the program. While certification will give you a basic grasp of all things Automotive Tech, a four-year bachelor degree offers the opportunity to explore such unique topics as alternative fuel or the history of the automobile.

What are the best automotive technology programs?

While some of these programs specialize in alternative fuels and others emphasize leadership formation, they all share one thing one common: they are the best at training future Automotive Technicians. Whether you hope to work in repair or design, one of these programs will get you where you want to go.

To determine the best Automotive Technology programs we started first with the reputation of each program in the nation and then looked into graduation rates, retention rates, affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.

After such research, our final list offers the 20 best Automotive Technology programs in the country. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Best Bachelor’s in Automotive Technology

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. McPherson College
    Location

    McPherson, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the Kansan town of the same name, McPherson College is a liberal arts school. With only around 700 students, McPherson is a small college, but one that distinctively provides both a four-year liberal arts education as well as career and professional training.

    Features

    The only school to offer a full bachelor’s degree in automotive restoration, McPherson also has programs in automotive technology, automotive communications, and historic automotive technology. However you specialize, core automotive classes at McPherson cover:

    • History of the Automobile
    • Machining Technology
    • Engine Rebuilding
    • Research and Documentation

    Notables

    McPherson is known for its student-centric model of education. It requires new students to enroll in the Academic Community Essentials program, through which they create a degree plan, complete a service project, develop a career goal, and explore internship possibilities. This has led to great success in post-graduation employment rates.

  2. Montana State University-Northern
    Location

    Havre, MT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    This branch in the wider Montana State University System is located in Havre. Northern is a small university with under 1,200 undergraduates. However, it offers degrees at the certification, associate, bachelor, and master’s levels.

    Features

    MSU Northern offers both an AAS and BS in Automotive Technology. Both programs provide a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of modern vehicles. And you will graduate from MSU Northern ready to successfully pass any of the Automotive Service Excellence certification tests. Some of the classes you’ll take while at MSU Northern include:

    • Automatics
    • Alternative Automotive Power Systems
    • Shop Procedures
    • Current Trends Mobility Tech

    Notables

    MSU Northern uniquely combines liberal arts and technology education to provide professional training in everything from engineering to humanities. Northern is also located near four Native American reservations and works hard to serve those communities.

  3. Universal Technical Institute
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has locations around the country. It specializes in providing technical career training for students who want to go into automotive, diesel, and collision repair. UTI also offers training programs for future motorcycle and marine technicians. Over 10,000 students attend UTI.

    Features

    UTI offers an Automotive Technology Training program that takes under one year to complete. Through UTI you will learn to diagnose, maintain, and repair both domestic and international vehicles alike. Your UTI classes will include:

    • Automotive Engines and Repair
    • Professional Service Writing
    • Power and Performance
    • Driveability and Emissions Repair

    Notables

    UTI has graduated over 200,000 technicians since opening its doors 50 years ago. They have also built a reputation for leading their students toward successful careers. For example, UTI’s Employment Services Team connects each student with an industry professional or organization before graduation.

  4. Southern Adventist University
    Location

    Collegedale, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A Seventh-day Adventist school Southern Adventist University (SAU) is located in Collegedale, Tennessee. SAU offers degrees at all academic levels, from associate to doctorate. And as part of the larger Adventist church, it offers a faith-based approach to education. Over 3,000 students attend.

    Features

    Southern Adventist University offers certifications as well as associate and bachelor degrees in auto service. This is an ideal program for those who still want a small college experience, as SAU provides a liberal arts education in addition to their trade training. Some of the courses you’ll take SAU include:

    • Engine Performance and Computers
    • Auto Electrical Systems
    • Arc Welding
    • Principles of Entrepreneurship

    Notables

    Of all the Adventist colleges and universities in the country, SAU is considered the most conservative. But is also considered one of the best universities in its region by U.S. News & World Report. Likewise, The Princeton Review has called it one of “the Best in the Southeast.”

  5. New England Institute of Technology
    Location

    East Greenwich, RI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Rhode Island, the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) is a private school. It offers associate, bachelor, and even master’s degrees in over 50 areas of study and professional training. Many of NEIT’s programs are offered online too.

    Features

    At NEIT you can earn an Associate’s in Automotive Technology degree. Through NEIT’s program you will be experience a balanced education that considers both the theoretical and practical applications of automotive technology. For example, a sampling of NEIT’s classes includes:

    • Automotive Engines (plus Lab)
    • Vehicle Service Practices with Career Preparation
    • Transportation Industry
    • Plus an internship or practical experience

    Notables

    The New England Institute of Technology campus is home to several technical training and research centers. Among them, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium has a training facility located on NEIT’s campus.

  6. Northern Michigan University
    Location

    Marquette, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Northern Michigan University (NMU) is located in the state’s Upper Peninsula, in the city of Marquette. It is a public, four-year university with over 8,000 enrolled students. NMU is organized into four colleges through which it offers nearly 200 academic degrees.

    Features

    Earning an Automotive Service Certificate at Northern Michigan means you will be fully prepared for positions in automotive service and sales alike. NMU offers two tracks for its students: the automotive technician pathway or the mobile equipment technician pathway. Classes cover:

    • Automotive Lab/Industry Safety
    • Powertrain Fundamentals
    • Engine Repair
    • Electrical Systems I and II

    Notables

    Though a mid-sized university offering diverse degree experiences, Northern Michigan has a reputation for its strengths in career and trade training. This is evidenced by the Teaching, Learning, and Communication initiative, which provides each student with a laptop computer.

  7. Utah Valley University
    Location

    Orem, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Orem, Utah Valley University (UVU) is the state’s largest university. Over 38k undergraduate and graduate students attend UVU, enrolled in one of the school’s 150 academic programs. UVU is known for excellent accreditations and low tuition rates.

    Features

    There are many ways to study automotive technology at UVU, by specializing in collision repair, diesel mechanics, street rod, technology management, and more. Many of these programs take around a couple years to complete. For example, the Automotive Technology degree is organized two year of courses covering:

    • Engine Electrical Systems
    • Suspension and Steering Systems
    • Automotive HVACR
    • Electronic Fuel Management Systems

    Notables

    UVU is included in the academic and university rankings put out by Forbes. And it is frequently recognized for its successful showings at national business contests. For example, UVU recently placed well in both the Phi Beta Lambda and Delta Epsilon Chi business competitions.

  8. Pittsburg State University
    Location

    Pittsburg, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Pittsburg State University (PSU) is located in Pittsburg, Kansas. It is a public university with around 8k students, most of whom are undergraduates. And PSU is organized into four schools and colleges, including the highly regarded College of Technology.

    Features

    At Pittsburg State you can either enroll in the two-year Automotive Service Program or the four-year Automotive Technology program. Both will provide a solid foundation in all things automotive, from engine repair to electronic systems. And both allow you to further specialize. Some emphases areas include (but are not limited to):

    • Automotive Collision Repair and Insurance Management
    • Automotive Dealership and Corporate Transportation Management
    • Automotive Mechanical Design
    • Automotive Diesel and Heavy Equipment

    Notables

    The PSU campus houses many research centers and facilities. Among them are the Business and Technology Institute and the Kansas Polymer Research Center. Pitt State is also ranked 87th among all colleges and universities located in the Midwest.

  9. Walla Walla University
    Location

    College Place, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Walla Walla University (WWU) is located in College Place, Washington State (just outside of Walla Walla). It offers a liberal arts education as well as professional and technical training. WWU is a pretty small school with just under 2,000 students.

    Features

    Walla Walla University offers an AS in Automotive Technology degree plus another two BS automotive degrees, one in technology and the other in management. Regardless of which degree you acquire, all prepare you for work in automotive service and repair, and all ready you for the industry certification exams. Some of the classes you’ll take at WWU include:

    • Advanced Engine Performance
    • Bod Electronics and Computer Systems
    • Diesel Engine Performance
    • Hybrids and Alternative Fuels

    Notables

    Walla Walla University has been recognized as one of the “100 Best Regional Universities” in the Pacific Northwest by U.S. News & World Report. It is also known for its departmental strengths in business, biology, engineering, nursing, and education.

  10. Indiana State University
    Location

    Terre Haute, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Terre Haute, Indiana State University (ISU) is a public school. It offers over 100 undergraduate degrees plus another 75 graduate and professional degrees. ISU is comprised of six academic colleges, in technology, health services, education, and the arts and science.

    Features

    The BS in Automotive Engineering Technology degree from Indiana State University emphasizes management and leadership in addition to automotive operations. Thus, this is an ideal program for those who want to go into quality control, service management, customer service, or business ownership. Classes cover:

    • Industrial Supervision
    • Technical Drawing with CAD
    • Fixed Operations Management
    • Automotive Electronics

    Notables

    The Princeton Review names ISU as among the “Best in the Midwest” nearly every year. Likewise, Washington Monthly ranks it 71st among all colleges and universities in the U.S. Finally, ISU is known for its huge Cunningham Memorial Library, which houses a collection exceeding two million items.

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