Have you heard of mechanical trade schools?
Do you know your journey to becoming a great mechanic can begin by enrolling in a mechanical trade school?
Why should I attend a trade school and not college to be a mechanic? Never mind, all these and more are questions we will look into in this article. Just keep following.
You can become an automotive mechanic within a short period of time and start earning as a mechanic.
Hence, in this article, we will show you some best mechanical trade schools and programs in your location. Also, in as much as the trade school differ from normal colleges, you will also get certification for the training.
Do you have the passion to be a mechanic? Do you love getting things fixed?
However, no sane person will call you to fix their vehicle because you have the passion to. You have to fuel the passion and desire with some level of education and certifications.
In this post, we will not only list the best mechanical trade schools. We will also show you when you should enroll. Also, we have provided a section for frequently asked questions and replies to help you clear your doubt.
Now, let’s get started. Going forward, we will take a detailed look at the following broad topics that will help you grasp the concept of this topic.
Why Trade School?
Quickly, let me show you the importance of trade school. Typically, a trade school is simply a vocational school. Other synonyms for trade schools are career colleges and technical schools.
Just like the name implies, a trade school is a career-specific school. They are designed to prepare and equip you for certain high-demand vocations. That is, you’ll acquire knowledge, mostly practical that is needed in your specific field. Hence, enrolling to be an automotive mechanic means you would be learning things specific to that field.
This is why the trade school is usually not as long as our conventional colleges. The training is straight-to-the-point.
Unlike the conventional colleges available where you have to spend about 4-5 years. Why not just do 2 years in a trade school?
However, you have to know what you really want. Do you want to build machines or do you want to work machines? Attending a trade school means you want to train to be a mechanic, not a machine builder.
Also, trade schools are less expensive compared to colleges. With a fee ranging between $4,000 and $15,000, you can get the best of mechanical trade schools. While traditional college will cost you between $8,000 and $27,000.
What else are you waiting for, aren’t you convinced enough?
Let’s show you more trade school qualities below.
- Small class size
- Hands-on training
- On-the-job training
- Job security
- First hand practical
- Shorter completion time
- Certificate offering
- Externship Opportunities – Job placement in the industry
- Employer Connection, and many more.
What are the Types of Mechanics?
Training to be a mechanic is a general language. However, what you want to work on or with exactly will determine the type of mechanics you belong.
Below is a list of different types of mechanics available:
- Auto Mechanics
- Diesel Mechanics
- Motorcycle Mechanic
- Small Engine Mechanics
- Auto Body Mechanics
- Tire Mechanics
- Auto Glass Mechanic
- Heavy Duty Mechanic
- Aircraft Mechanics
- Race Car Mechanics
- Bicycle Mechanics
- Air Conditioning Mechanics
- Plumbing Mechanic
- Line Mechanic
- Auto Exhaust Mechanic
- Boat Mechanics
With this understanding being established, in this article, when we refer to mechanics, we mean Automotive Mechanics. Hence, you’ll see Auto or Automotive Mechanic more often in the cause of this post.
Who is an Auto Mechanic?
An auto mechanic is one whose job is to maintain and repair motor vehicles. They have the ability to work on a wide variety of motor vehicles. Including personal cars, fleets, heavy-duty vehicles, as well as marine vehicles.
Basically, the profession is concerned with inspecting, maintaining, and repairing all types of vehicles. However, there could be specific duties the mechanic would carry out, depending on his training.
See the specific duties/responsibilities of an auto mechanic below:
- Check vehicle engine and mechanical/electrical components to accurately detect faults.
- Inspect vehicle computers and electronic systems so as to fix or upgrade the system.
- Plan and schedule future maintenance sessions and advise motorists on good vehicle use;
- Conduct routine maintenance work such as replacing fluids and lubricating parts.
- Repair or replace broken or dysfunctional parts and fix issues such as leaks.
- Provide the right cost, time, and effort estimates for a repair or maintenance job.
- Keep logs on work and vehicle faults.
- Keep equipment and tools in good condition.
An auto mechanic is mostly interested in vehicles, so he will find a job almost anywhere. This is because there are vehicles everywhere. This means you can either choose to work in government agencies; repair shops or gas stations. Also, you can work in stores where they sell automotive parts, tires, and accessories. However, most auto mechanics work for automobile dealers, as well as in the automotive repair and maintenance industry.
What is the Auto Mechanic’s Salary?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay of Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics is $40,710. They earn $19.57, hourly. This pay is fair enough for a vocation that does not necessarily require a university degree.
Meanwhile, Glassdoor estimates a higher pay of $41,516, annually. However, depending on the company you’re working for, the pay could be higher.
See some companies with higher pay for Automotive Mechanics below:
|Name of company||Annual pay|
|County of DuPage (Illinois)||$58,421|
|Ford Motor Company||$52,114|
|US Postal Service||$51,933|
According to BLS in 2016, the mechanic job was estimated to grow by about 6% within ten years. That is, between 2016 -2026.
However, BLS also in 2018, reported 770,100 Mechanic jobs in the USA and estimated growth of -1% from 2018 to 2028. The decline in percentage indicates that there is little or no change in the number of jobs for mechanics within this period.
Although, in 2018 the total number of mechanics jobs was reduced by 6,400. However, soon, the increase in the number of mechanic jobs will gladden your heart.
As an auto mechanic, you need not be afraid. You sure have job security. We must still drive auto vehicles even for centuries to come. Just be very good at what you do and your services would be sought.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Become an Auto Mechanic?
Generally, all career requires that you first complete high school. That is, you should have a high school degree or its equivalent. This is very important as it is necessary for the next level of training.
This next level may be either mechanical trade school or community college. The former gives you a certificate or diploma on completion. Also, they prepare you for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification Exam. While the Community College provides you with an Associate’s Degree on completion.
Interestingly, most employers prefer those with the trade school certificate as they have the right entry-level experience. Which is what they usually look out for.
Meanwhile, for community college graduates, you’ll start as a trainee tech, technician helper, or lubrication worker. That means lower pay, compared to trade school graduates.
However, note that not all mechanical trade school is accredited. Ensure to select one that program is accredited by National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). See Natef.
The next certification required is the ASE Certificate exam. This certificate places you above other employees in the field.
Furthermore, you can get ASE certification in these nine (9) different automobiles specific areas:
- Automatic transmission/transaxle brakes
- Heating and air-conditioning
- Manual drivetrain and axles
- Light vehicle diesel engines; Electrical/electronic systems;
- Engine performance
- Engine repair
- Suspension and steering
How Do I Get Mechanic Licenses and Certifications?
At one point or the other, you will need certification to stay on top in your mechanic profession. However, there is no directive stating that you must gain a license to practice your profession.
Also, some employers may require you to provide certification before they hire you. as a mechanic, the two basic certificates you need are:
- Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certificate, and
- ASE Master Certification.
Let’s go into more details below:
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
The ASE certificate is provided by NATEF. To sit for this exam, you must have two years of on-the-job training. Or one year of work experience and a two-year degree.
Also, you can take their practice tests to prepare you for the certification exam. You’ll find this on their website.
Most importantly, note that this certification is renewed every 5-years. That is, you will have to take the exam again after five years to renew your certification.
ASE Master Certification
This is similar to the master’s degree in professional mechanics. The only difference is that you wouldn’t need to attend college for a full year to get it. This exam is for mechanics who wish to acquire advanced skills in a certain mechanic specialization.
You may choose to take the exam in either of the following specializations;
- Truck equipment
- School buses
- Diesel engines
- Collision Repair
- Steering, etc.
Also, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is the issuer of the ASE Master Certification. However, just as it is with ASE, mechanics have to renew the certification after every five years. For more information, visit ASE.
Best Mechanical Trade Schools
Having gone through this post up until now, we are sure you would want to enroll in a trade school instead. Hence, we have carefully selected the best mechanical trade schools from different locations.
There are about four locations in the US that are known for their quality mechanical trade schools. They are:
- New Mexico
- New York
Hence, we have selected 13 best trade schools for auto mechanics from across these 4 locations in the US.
The factor for selection, that is our ranking is based on the following qualities:
- Number of Mechanics Programs offered
- Program Accreditation
- Student-to-Faculty Ratio
- NATEF accreditation
These factors above set the trade schools selected above others in each location. Especially the first factor listed above, which is the number of mechanics programs they offer.
Let’s get right into it.
Best Mechanical Trade School in Arizona
Arizona is a state in the US known for its thriving mechanics industry. In Arizona, there are about 500+ mechanic companies and about 1000+ businesses in the automotive field. Making Arizona a nice place to train, and also access mechanic jobs easily.
Here are the best three trade schools for auto mechanics in Arizona.
- Arizona Western College
- Universal Technical Institute
- Arizona Automotive Institute
Arizona Western College (AWC)
Address: 2020 S Ave 8 E, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States of America.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
AWC is a public community college in Arizona State, USA. It began operation in 1963 and offers associate degrees, occupational certificates, and transfer degrees. They have over 11,000 students.
AWC offers degrees and certificates in the following:
- Automotive Technology
- Electrical Technology
- Basic Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, and
- Service Technician
Also, you can take manufacturers-specific training at Arizona Western College in the following areas:
- Automotive Computer Fundamentals Engine
- Performance and Diagnostics
- Automotive Brakes, etc.
Check out AWC here Azwestern Trade school.
Universal Technical Institute (UTI)
Address: 10695 West Pierce Street, Avondale, AZ 85323, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 35:1
Living in Arizona? Then you should have heard of this institute. The Universal Technical Institute, Inc. is a private, for-profit mechanic trade school in Arizona State. It was founded in 1965 and has branches around the country, with over 11,000 students.
UTI trains on a variety of automobile brands including BMW, Ford, and General Motors. Likewise, they run Motorcycle, Marine, Diesel, CNC Machining, Collision Repair, and Welding Programs.
Aside from their branch in Arizona, they have various branches spread across the country. Including Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, and many more.
Check out Universal Technical Institute here at UTI Trade school.
Arizona Automotive Institute (AAI)
Address: 6829 N. 46th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 24:1
Arizona Automotive Institute is one of the best trade schools for mechanics in Arizona. AAI started operation in 1968. Since then, the standard and quality of programs offered stands out.
However, AAI offers only four mechanics programs. That is, three (3) degree programs and one certificate program. The 3 diploma degree programs are;
- Automotive Service Technology
- Combination Welding
- Diesel – Heavy Truck
While the certificate program is the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Basic Refrigeration. Which is a combination of practical and hands‐on job skills training.
Visit Arizona Automotive Institute (AAI) at AAI
However, you may want to school in Arizona but not in a mechanical trade school. You can check out universities in Arizona here
Best Mechanical Trade School in New Mexico
With seven standard automotive schools, New Mexico is one location to explore if looking to attend a mechanical trade school. However, we have selected the best of these seven trade schools and narrowed them down to three. Aside from the quality mechanical program in New Mexico, the living cost is relatively low. Which is very good for you. this also means that the tuition fee will be really fair.
See the 3 best mechanical trade schools we selected in New Mexico.
- IntelliTec College
- Luna Community College
- Central New Mexico Community College
Adding them up to the other trade schools from the previous location, let’s explain further.
Address: 5001 Montgomery Blvd NE, Suite A24, Albuquerque, NM 87109, United States.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
IntelliTec College is certainly one of the top mechanical trade schools to attend in the USA. This college is a private, for-profit technical school. IntelliTec College began operations in 1965 at Colorado Springs. Now, they have a branch in New Mexico. Also, they offer associate and professional degree programs.
Although IntelliTec offers only two mechanics programs, trust me, it’s a good place to train. These two programs are;
- Automotive Technician and Refrigeration
- HVAC Technician Program
Trainees have access to both theoretical and practical knowledge they need in the field. The program runs for ten and a half months.
See the IntelliTec College here at Intellitec Trade school.
Luna Community College
Address: 336 Luna Drive, Las Vegas, NM 87701, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Luna Community College is located in New Mexico and is ranked as one of the best mechanical trade schools. This vocational college was founded in 1969 in Las Vegas as a Public Community College. Although this mechanical trade school almost lost its accreditation due to poor governance in 2017, it still doubtless offers some of the best mechanics programs.
They offer two professional certificate programs, namely;
- Automotive Mechanics Technology
- Collision and Repair Technology
See Luna Community College @Luna Trade school.
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)
Address: 525 Buena Vista SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) is one automotive trade school we won’t leave out in New Mexico. CNM, formerly called the Technical Vocational Institute (VTI) was founded in 1964. They run both part-time and full-time associate degree and certificate programs. Guess what? The Central New Mexico Community College has over 22,000 students.
Furthermore, CNM offers two professional certificate mechanics programs, namely;
- Automotive Technology
- Diesel Equipment Technology programs.
Check out CNM here at CNM Trade school.
Best Mechanical Trade School in New York
Do you really think we can select the best Mechanical trade schools in the US and not include NEW York? How possible is that? With a record of over 11 million vehicles, why won’t the need for mechanics be high? Hence, the increased number of mechanical trade schools in New York.
However, we have narrowed down a large number of mechanical trade schools in New York to the best 3. Which are:
- Lincoln Tech
- Superior Auto Institute
Let’s add them up to the previous list and explain further.
Address: 1 Pierrepont Plaza, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
One of the famous trade schools in the United States is Lincoln Tech. they commenced operations in 1946 at Wet Orange, New Jersey. However, they now own about 23 locations in 14 states including New York, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland, and Indiana. Their instructors are very skilled and great in the field. This technical school is one of the best trade schools for auto mechanics to get a mechanics degree or certificate.
Their mechanic programs include;
- Automotive Technology
- CNC Machining & Manufacturing
- Collision Repair & Refinishing
- Diesel Technology
- Heavy Equipment program
See Lincoln Tech @Lincolntech Trade school.
Address: 178-18 Liberty Ave, Jamaica, NY 11433, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
NYADI is a Transportation Technology College. And certainly, it is one of the best technical schools for mechanics in the USA. It is dedicated solely to mechanics training and has the highest number of mechanic programs. Moreso, NYADI offers its program in both Day and Evening classes and is military-friendly.
NYADI’s mechanic offers 5 programs. That is two (2) degree programs and three certificate programs.
The degree programs are Automotive & Diesel Technology and Automotive Technology. While the certificate programs are Truck & Diesel Service Technology, Automotive Service Technology, and Collision Repair technology.
This certainly is a good school to enroll in, what do you think?
Check them out at NYADI Trade school.
Superior Auto Institute
Address: 120 19th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232, United States.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 1:1
Superior Auto Institute is another dedicated automotive mechanic tech school in the USA. It commenced operation in 1992 and is known for its Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) program. The Superior Auto Institute has won the trust of auto companies like BMW, Rolls Royce, and Ferrari.
However, in addition to PDR, SAI also offer training in Interior Repair and Automotive Detailing. As a result, they are ranked one of the best mechanical trade schools in New York.
Click superior auto institute to check out Superior Auto Institute.
Best Mechanical Trade School in Texas
Oh wow, now Texas. It’s safe to say we left the best for the last. Texas is one location almost all mechanical trade school is represented. Including Universal Technical Institute and Lincoln Tech.
See the best of all the mechanical trade schools in Texas listed below, we have 4 of them.
- Texas State Technical College
- South Texas Vocational Technical Institute – San Antonio
- SAM Tech
- Southern Careers Institute – Austin
Let’s add them to the list and explain better.
Texas State Technical College
Address: 3801 Campus Drive Waco, TX 76705. The United States.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
TSTC is one of the biggest automotive mechanic tech schools in Texas. It started in 1969 at Waco, Texan. Currently, they have other 10 campuses throughout Texas.
Also, TSTC is one of the technical schools providing mechanics program varieties. Its mechanic programs include Auto Collision & Management Technology, Automotive Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology, HVAC Technology, and Welding Technology.
See school at TSTC Trade school.
South Texas Vocational Technical Institute – San Antonio
Address: 734 SE Military Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214, United States.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (STVT) is another top auto mechanic trade school in Texas, as well as in the US. and USA in general. Graduates from this school are able to launch their careers easily. As they have gone through the intensive hands-on learning in STVT. In addition, STVT’s programs are in the Health and Wellness, Skilled Trades, and Business sections.
Its mechanic program is under the Skilled Trades category. There are different programs to enroll in here as a mechanic.
Some of them are listed below:
- Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration
- Automotive Service Technician
- Combination Welding
- Diesel Heavy Truck programs
Check out the school here Stvt Trade school.
School of Automotive Machinists & Technology (SAM Tech)
Address: 1911 Antoine Dr., Houston, Texas 77055, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
SAM Tech is one of the best automotive mechanic tech schools in Texas. This mechanic tech school offers machining and technical education training for students. Therefore, SAM Tech students go on to join championship teams like NASCAR, NHRA, and IndyCar.
Some of the certificate and Associate Degree Programs SAM Tech offers to include:
- Engine Block Machining
- EFI Tuning
- Cylinder Head Machining
- CNC Machining
Visit SAM Tech @ Samtech Trade school.
Southern Careers Institute – Austin
Address: 1701 W Ben White Blvd., Suite 100 Austin, TX 78704, USA.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 32:1
Southern Careers Institute (SCI) is one of the best heavyweight automotive mechanic tech schools in Texas. Although their main campus is in Austin, they have other seven campuses in Texas including Harlingen, Brownsville, and San Antonio.
Furthermore, SCI offers 22 Programs and 31 Certificates. Their mechanic programs are under the SCI’s Skilled Trades category.
The mechanic’s programs include:
- Automotive Service Technician
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator
- Electrical Technician
See Southern Careers Institute – Austin here Scitexas.
Do you know you can apply for a scholarship for your mechanical trade school education? To check out some scholarships in Texas, click here
Also, for online community colleges in Texas, visit
Online Automotive Mechanic Schools
Do you know you can run some of these mechanic programs online? However, these programs do not meet ASE certification requirements as you can’t carry out proper practicals online. That is, they may not give you the required hands-on experience you need to become a mechanic. Thus, online mechanic programs do not prepare you for a career as an auto mechanic.
However, you can go on with the online training for text-based knowledge to prepare you for the ASE certification.
See some mechanics courses you can enroll for online below:
- Vehicle systems
- Inspection Techniques
- Engine Repair.
If you are interested, Check out this list of Online Automotive Mechanic Schools
- Penn Foster Pennfoster Trade school
- NYADI – The College of Transportation technology NYADI Trade school
- Ashworth College Ashworth college automotive technician training/
- Texas State Technical College TSTC Trade school
- Southern Careers Institute – Austin SCI Texas Trade school
For online community colleges in Texas, visit
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I become a Mechanic?
To become a mechanic, you must first have completed high school, then proceed to attend a trade school or community college. You will need a two-year diploma or associate’s degree from a mechanic trade school to begin your career as a mechanic. However, with certificates acquired from certificate programs of less than a year, you can still get employed as a mechanic.
How long does it take to study mechanics?
The duration is determined by the type of program you applied for. Certificate programs take between 6 to 18 months, while diploma and associate programs last for about two years.
How can I become a mechanic?
To become a certified Mechanic, you must take Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certificate tests. However, to qualify for the ASE, you must have spent at least two years of on-the-job experience or one year of work experience plus a two-year degree. This means that you can become a certified mechanic after two to three years of education and training after high school.
How much does a mechanic program cost?
To complete a mechanic program, it will cost between $5,000 to $25,000. Mechanic certificate programs are cheaper as they take lesser time to complete. It costs between $5,000 to $6,000. While Mechanics Associate’s degree costs more, between $10,000 and $25,000 for 2 years. However, foreign students pay more on tuition than In-State students.
How can I become a car mechanic?
You need to acquire a mechanic certificate or diploma from a community college or an associate’s degree to be a car mechanic. See the article above.
Can I become a mechanic online?
It is not common to become a mechanic online because online mechanic programs don’t meet ASE certification requirements. Online programs only build you with the theoretical knowledge you need to sit for and pass the ASE test and not the practical aspect.
How do I get a mechanic’s license?
To get your mechanic’s license, ensure to meet National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) test requirements then proceed to Automotive Service Excellence’s (ASE) website to take practice tests that will prepare you for the mechanic license.
Can I become a mechanic without a license?
Yes. You can become a mechanic without a license. Some states in the USA do not require you to have certification before you become a mechanic. However, most employers will require you to have some level of education, training, and on-the-job experience.
How much do mechanics make?
Mechanics receive a decent wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive technicians receive an annual average wage of $40,710.
Desiring to become a mechanic is great, but more than that is taking steps to actually become one. With this article, I’m certain you do not have any issue with how to become an Automotive Mechanic in the USA.
Amazingly, you can start practicing as a mechanic once you’ve completed at least a six-month mechanics program. However, you need a mechanical trade school for that.
Do more than a six-month certificate program in a mechanic specialization. Then further your profession in a two-year associate’s program. Also, obtain a one-year of work experience. And that’s it, you are now a certified Mechanic in the field of your choice.
Hope this article was helpful, kindly share your experience with us while enrolling in the mechanical trade school of your choice.