The East Central College Automotive Technology program is recognized as an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified program. It is offered at Four Rivers Career Center in Washington. Students enrolled in the program gain a solid understanding and working knowledge of the automotive industry. They study automotive technology, with emphasis on lab demonstrations while working in the well-equipped shop area. Students are given hands-on mechanical training from the very start, progressing from basic systems to the more complex.
They first work on bench units before moving on to live engines on stands, live cars belonging to the program and finally consumer automobiles. New students must enroll in the fall and should plan on attending full-time,choosing either a morning or afternoon time block. Students currently in high school can choose to articulate coursework to the AAS degree program and continue with the general education block of course at ECC.
Programs of Study – Catalog
Automotive service technicians and mechanics inspect, maintain and repair automobiles and light trucks that run on gasoline, electricity or alternative fuels, such as ethanol. The responsibilities of these professionals have evolved from simple mechanical repairs to high-level technology-related work. The increasing sophistication of automobiles requires workers to be versatile with a variety of systems and tools. They need to be able to use computerized shop equipment and work with electronic components while also maintaining their skills with traditional hand tools.
Professional Traits – Those pursuing a career in this field should have the following traits.
- Have mechanical aptitude and a working knowledge of automobiles
- Be able to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately
- Have strong communication and analytical skills
- Possess solid reading, mathematics and computer skills
Employment and Salary Information – The automotive service profession is experiencing about average growth, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2022, the number of positions is expected to increase by 9 percent. Median hourly earnings for automotive service technicians and mechanics, including commission, were $17.60 in May 2012.
The median hourly rate in the industries employing the largest numbers of these workers were as follows:
- Local government, excluding schools $22.71
- Automobile dealers $19.88
- Automotive repair and maintenance $15.97
- Automotive parts, accessories
and tire stores $15.02
- Gasoline stations $14.94