Is becoming an automotive engineering technician right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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How to become an Automotive Engineering Technician
High School Diploma
Most employers of automotive engineering technicians require a high school diploma or equivalent as a minimum educational requirement. Students considering a career in the field should focus on taking classes in math, science, and technology.
Technical School or College
While a post-secondary education is not always required as some employers may provide full on-the-job training, it can be beneficial to complete a certificate or degree program at a technical / vocational school or community college. These are the majors that are most relevant to working in the field:
Automotive Engineering Technology
This option is best suited to students who are interested in working for automotive manufacturers, government agencies that regulate the automotive industry, and research and development organizations specializing in the development of new automotive technologies.
The typical curriculum covers the following areas:
- Mechanics and Dynamics of Vehicles – vehicle systems, including suspension, steering, brakes, and powertrain
- Automotive Electrical Systems – electrical systems and components, including batteries, starters, alternators, and wiring
- Engine Systems and Emissions – internal combustion engines, including the principles of operation, fuel systems, and emission control
- Automotive Materials and Manufacturing Processes – materials and processes used in automotive manufacturing, including casting, forging, stamping, and welding
- Vehicle Design and Testing – the design, development, and testing of vehicles, including computer-aided design (CAD), computer simulations, and testing protocols
- Automotive Control Systems – control systems for vehicles, including stability control, traction control, and anti-lock braking systems
- Alternative Fuels and Advanced Propulsion Systems – alternative fuels, hybrid and electric vehicles, and other advanced propulsion systems
- Automotive Electronics and Software – electronic systems and software in vehicles, including infotainment systems, telematics, and connected vehicle technology
- Vehicle Safety and Regulations – vehicle safety, including crashworthiness, occupant protection, and regulatory compliance
- Automotive History and Industry – the history of the automotive industry and its impact on society and the environment
This option is targeted at students seeking a career with vehicle repair shops and service centers, and automotive parts suppliers and distributors.
Practical experience is essential in becoming an automotive engineering technician. Students can gain this experience by working as an automotive technician or by participating in internships or co-op programs. Schools that offer programs in automotive engineering technology and automotive mechanics typically incorporate one of these practicum components in their curriculum.
The automotive industry is constantly evolving, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques. Students can do this by attending workshops, taking courses, and reading industry publications.
There are several professional certifications available for automotive engineering technicians that demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the field. Two of the most commonly recognized certifications are:
- Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) Certification – AYES is a non-profit organization that provides hands-on training and certification for high school students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry. AYES certification can be a valuable asset for individuals looking to enter the field of automotive engineering technology.
- National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification – The ASE certification is widely recognized in the automotive industry and is offered in various specialties, such as engine repair, electrical systems, and suspension and steering. To become certified, candidates need to pass a written test and have two years of relevant work experience.