Auto mechanics diagnose and repair mechanical problems on a wide variety of vehicles, working in garages, car dealerships, specialty service shops, and other automotive facilities.
If you enjoy working with your hands and using logic to solve problems, this may be the perfect career for you. You can choose a career as an all-around mechanic, or specialize in a certain type of vehicle, such as heavy equipment, motorcycles, or import cars.
Washington Auto Mechanic Schools
Schools across Washington offer programs in automotive technology where students can earn certificates or even full degrees. Here are five institutions with training programs in the field:
- Bellingham Technical College: BTC offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, as well as two certificate programs in Automotive Technology. AAS graduates leave prepared for mid-level and advanced positions, while certification graduates are ready for entry-level mechanic positions.
- Big Bend Community College: Located in Moses Lake, BBCC's Automotive Technology program meets the standards of the National Institute for Automotive Services Excellence (ASE) for automotive technician training. Graduates leave the program prepared to receive ASE Certification in all eight principles.
- South Puget Sound Community College: SPSCC offers an AAS degree and certification in Automotive Technology. NATEF-certified, the program uses state-of-the-art equipment to prepare graduates for a career as an automotive technician.
- Walla Walla Community College: WWCC employs ASE master certified instructors for its Automotive Repair Technology program. The program follows NATEF guidelines for curriculum and instruction, which includes hands-on application of skills.
- Renton Technical College: RTC offers three automotive programs. Completing the Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair certificate prepares students to enter either the Automotive Technology certificate track or Automotive Technology/ITEC AAS degree program. Students learn all aspects of auto repair, with ITEC graduates fully trained in all eight ASE principles and prepared to achieve ASE Certification.
What to Expect from Washington Auto Mechanic Programs
For the most part, students in automotive technology programs can expect to learn about the following eight basic principles of auto repair:
- Electrical/electronic systems
- Drive train and axles
- Automatic transmission/transaxle
- Engine repair
- Heating and air conditioning
- Steering and suspension
- Engine performance
To prepare students for a career working with the complex computer and electrical systems in today's vehicles, programs may also include in-depth training in diagnostics. Along with classroom-based instruction, programs typically have a hands-on training component, where students are given the chance to work on actual automotive systems.
Washington Auto Mechanic Licensing and Certification
Auto mechanics do not need a special license to work in the state of Washington. However, professionals 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 mechanics working with refrigerants to obtain proper certification.
Resources for Auto Mechanics in Washington
- ASE offers free practice tests and registration for ASE Certification.
- The EPA offers information and tests on Stationary Refrigeration Certification.