Professional auto mechanics work on a wide variety of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and vans. They might find employment in garages, car dealerships, maintaining fleet vehicles, or at other repair facilities. To be successful in this career, you should enjoy working with your hands. Some mechanics choose to specialize in a certain type of vehicle, while others choose to focus on repairing a particular part of the vehicle, such as the transmission.
Virginia Auto Mechanic Schools
The state of Virginia offers a number of educational options for students interested in earning either a degree or certificate in automotive technology. Here are five schools with training programs in the field:
- Thomas Nelson Community College: Located in Hampton, TNCC offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Automotive Technology, with a curriculum designed to aid students in attaining ASE Certification. Students learn about diagnostics and repair in a real-world garage setting.
- Patrick Henry Community College: PHCC offers a Certificate program in Automotive Technology. Graduates of the program can gain the necessary skills for an entry-level position as a mechanic, with the ability to diagnose and repair a variety of mechanical issues.
- New River Community College: NRCC's Automotive Analysis and Repair program helps prepare students for a career as an automotive technician, repair technician, or even a sales career in the automotive service industry.
- Blue Ridge Community College: Blue Ridge offers a Master Certified Automotive Analysis and Repair program. As part of BRCC's cooperative education option, students who work 10 or more hours each week in a service facility receive college credit.
- Advanced Technology Institute: ATI's Automotive Technician program boasts National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) accreditation and ASE certification. Students receive training on every aspect of a vehicle, including diagnostics, electrical, and computer systems.
What to Expect from Virginia Auto Mechanic Programs
In most cases, students in automotive technology programs can expect to study the eight basic areas of auto repair:
- Electrical/electronic systems
- Drive train and axles
- Automatic transmission/transaxle
- Steering and suspension
- Heating and air conditioning
- Engine repair
- Engine performance
The advanced computer and electronic systems found in today's vehicles make qualified mechanics more valuable than ever. Students typically receive substantial training in diagnostics, as well as how to use this data to repair mechanical issues.
Along with classroom-based instruction, most programs include a hands-on training component, where students are given the opportunity to practice on actual automobile systems. These exercises may take place at a campus workshop or even a local auto repair shop.
Virginia Auto Mechanic Licensing and Certification
The state of Virginia does not require mechanics to obtain a special license. However, auto technicians may boost their résumé and earning power if they acquire Automobile Service Excellence (ASE) certification. In fact, some shops require it.
In addition, the EPA requires certification in the proper handling of refrigerants for mechanics working with this substance.
Resources for Auto Mechanics in Virginia
- ASE offers free practice tests and registration for ASE Certification.
- The EPA offers information and tests on Stationary Refrigeration Certification.