What Education is Needed to Become a Mechanic?

A mechanic is a person who maintains and repairs machines such as cars and trucks. In order to become a mechanic, one must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an accredited training program.

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There are a few different education paths you can take to become a mechanic. You can either get a certificate, diploma, or degree from a trade school, community college, or university. Many mechanics also get on-the-job training. The education path you take will likely depend on the type of mechanic you want to become. For example, if you want to become an auto mechanic, you might get a certificate or diploma from a trade school. If you want to become an aerospace engineer, you’ll likely need a degree from a university. Let’s explore the different types of education you can get to become a mechanic.

Trade school

Trade schools, also called technical or vocational schools, are specialized institutions that offer training in a particular trade, occupation or vocation. They are typically shorter and more focused than traditional four-year colleges, and they often work closely with businesses in their communities to ensure that their programs meet the needs of employers.

Most trade schools offer certificate or Associate’s degree programs that can be completed in one to two years. Many also offer apprenticeship programs that combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Students in these programs typically take classes on topics like mathematics, electricity and engine design, and they also complete a set number of hours of paid work experience.


Apprenticeship is the most common path to becoming a mechanic. Many trade schools offer certificate and associate’s degree programs in automotive technology, but an apprenticeship provides both on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Apprenticeship programs typically last four years, and during that time apprentices will work alongside experienced mechanics to learn the trade. Many unions and companies sponsor apprenticeship programs, so it’s important to check with your local union or employer to see if they have any opportunities available.


To become a mechanic, certification is not typically required, but many employers prefer to hire those who have completed a formal training program at a trade school or community college. Many mechanics also become certified through voluntary programs offered by organizations such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).


The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is the most common certification required for mechanics in the United States. Created in 1972, the ASE is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in automotive repair and service. The ASE offers a range of certification exams covering different aspects of automotive work, from brakes and steering to suspension and engine repair. To become certified, mechanics must pass one or more exams and have two years of relevant work experience.

Manufacturer specific

Many companies that sell cars, trucks, and other vehicles also have their own training programs for mechanics. These programs often last from 4 to 6 months and cover the basics of engine repair and maintenance, transmissions, and electrical systems. Some programs also include courses on air-conditioning systems and computerized engine controls. Many manufacturers hire only certified mechanics to work on their vehicles.

To become a certified mechanic, you must first complete a training program at a community college or technical school. After you have completed the program, you can take a certification test administered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). To maintain your certification, you must retake the test every 5 years.

Continuing education

Mechanics need to have at least a high school diploma, although many employers prefer mechanics who have completed postsecondary education, such as a certificate or an associate’s degree in automotive technology. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and private trade schools offer programs in automotive technology. Some programs take as little as six months to complete, while others take two years.


In order to become a certified mechanic, one must complete an accredited postsecondary automotive training program and pass the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification exams. Many community colleges, vocational / technical schools, and private trade schools offer automotive training programs. These programs typically lead to a certificate or diploma in automotive technology. Some programs may also lead to an Associate’s degree in automotive technology.

After completing an accredited automotive training program, individuals must then pass the ASE certification exams in order to become certified mechanics. There are eight ASE certification exams: Engine Repair, Automatic Transmission / Transaxle, Manual Drive Train and Axles, Suspension and Steering, Brakes, Electrical / Electronic Systems, Heating and Air Conditioning, and Engine Performance. Mechanics must pass all eight exams within two years of beginning their career in order to become fully certified.

Manufacturer specific

To advance in your career as an automotive technician, you may want to consider pursuing manufacturer-specific training. Many vehicle manufacturers offer certification programs for technicians who complete training on their specific makes and models. Depending on the program, you may be able to earn various levels of certification, such as Master or Lead Technician. These programs can give you the opportunity to receive in-depth training on a specific vehicle make and model, which can make you more marketable to employers.

Job outlook

An aging workforce and the loss of skilled workers to retirement is anticipated to create opportunities for mechanics over the next decade. In addition, as vehicles become more technologically advanced, there will be an increased demand for mechanics with training in computerized diagnostics and repair. Many trade and technical schools, community colleges, and universities offer programs in automotive service technology.

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