Auto Mechanic Schools in Seattle, WA with Program Overviews
The Seattle area has six colleges that offer automotive mechanic programs. Learn about the certificate and degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools that are no more than 15 miles from downtown and make an informed education decision.
Comparison of Automotive Mechanic Programs in Seattle
Automotive mechanics diagnose automotive issues and repair parts and systems in cars and light trucks. Three schools within a 25-minute drive of downtown Seattle offer education and training through certificate and degree programs. A table of pertinent information about these schools, such as costs, school type and graduation rates, is also included. There is also a brief paragraph that lists other area schools offering automotive technician training.
- Just six miles from downtown, Seattle Community College - South Campus offers training through a sub-certificate program as well as several certificate programs. It also offers an associate degree in automotive technology.
- Shoreline Community College, about 10 miles from downtown, offers a certificate program. Students can also earn an associate's degree that specializes in a particular make of vehicle, and several options are available.
- Located 15 miles from Seattle in Kirkland, Lake Washington Institute of Technology offers two types for certificate programs and an associate's degree.
Seattle Community College - South Campus
The Automotive Technology Training Center at Seattle Community College - South Campus features a number of training opportunities in the field. Certificate and associate's degree programs are offered in automotive technician and automotive collision repair. In addition to a general service technician certificate program, students can pursue automotive technician minor and master certificates. Sub-certificates are also available in a number of automotive specialties.
Automotive Technician Sub-Certificate Programs
Several automotive technician sub-certificates are offered at Seattle Community College - South Campus. Each of these sub-certificate programs are 15-16 credits and require students to complete up to four courses. Sub-certificate options include transmissions and transaxles, introduction to automotive, brakes and suspension, engine repair, electrical/electronics & HVAC and engine performance drivability.
General Service Technician Certificate
The general service technician program can prepare students for entry-level employment in vehicle maintenance. This 30-credit program provides students with introductory knowledge and training through courses in electricity, steering and suspension, tires and wheel alignment, brake systems and drivability.
Automotive Technician Minor Certificate
The automotive technician minor certificate provides students with the chance to take intermediate coursework. Students must have completed the general technician program prior to admission. Courses in this National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF)-approved program include advanced electrical systems, automotive electronics, engine computers and emissions controls and diagnostic equipment.
Automotive Technician Master Certificate
Students who have earned the general technician and minor certificate can pursue this NATEF-accredited master certificate. This 31-credit program features advanced courses in automotive welding, automotive engine rebuild, automotive engine diagnosis, automotive transmission service and manual transmissions.
Automotive Technician Associate of Applied Science
The automotive technician associate's degree at Seattle Community College - South Campus consists of 114 credits and is approved by NATEF. The program combines general education requirements with technical specialty courses covering automotive concepts. The program requires students to purchase their own boots, coveralls and tools. Students have an opportunity to learn about all aspects of automotive technology, including electrical systems, brakes, steering and suspension, welding, engine computers, tires and wheel alignment and drivability. The school offers a transfer option for students who want to continue their education at a four-year university.
Shoreline Community College
Shoreline Community College features a Professional Automotive Training Center that offers manufacturer-specific training. Four manufacturers work with the school to offer associate's programs that combine hands-on experience at a dealership with academic coursework. Additionally, a non-manufacturer certificate program is offered. In order to get into the associate's programs, students must have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance, pass an automotive skills test and take a drug test.
General Service Technician Certificate Program
The general service technician certificate is a 45-credit program that can be completed in three quarters. In addition to coursework, students are also required to participate in an internship. Graduates of the program are qualified to perform basic automotive diagnosis and repair, which includes replacing brakes, inspecting climate systems and evaluating electrical systems.
Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences
Students enrolled in this two-year program will spend alternating quarters taking automotive courses on-campus and interning at dealerships. While there are four program options to choose from, all manufacturer programs feature the same format and job placement rate. Courses in the program include electrical systems, brakes and suspension and engine repair.
During their paid internships, students work under the guidance of an experienced mechanic and learn how to service specific vehicles. Graduates are hired by their respective dealerships upon completion of the program.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
The Transportation Technology Department at Lake Washington Institute of Technology features a number of automotive programs. In addition to automotive repair technician programs, the school also offers related programs in collision repair, diesel equipment and motorcycle and marine equipment. Graduates of the automotive repair technician programs are eligible to take National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exams.
General Service Technician Certificate of Completion
The general service technician certificate is a 32-credit program that provides basic training in the field. Courses in this introductory program cover computer basics, business practices, electrical systems, mechanical principles and maintenance procedures. Students who complete this program are eligible to transfer their credits to the automotive repair technician certificate or associate's degree program. This program can prepare students to take two of the ASE certification exams.
Automotive Repair Technician Certificate of Proficiency
The 89-credit automotive repair technician program at Lake Washington Institute of Technology can prepare students for immediate employment upon graduation. In addition to basic core requirements, students also complete higher-level courses in engine performance, heating and air conditioning service, manual transmissions and brake systems. Students have the option to gain work experience while earning credit during the final two terms of the program, subject to approval from their instructors.
Automotive Repair Technician Associate of Applied Science
The automotive repair technician associate's degree program consists of 117 credits and features courses in engine performance, shop practices, engine repair and brake systems. The program can be completed in six terms and can lead to positions at repair shops, dealership service centers and specialty shops.
Comparison of Schools
Students need to consider many aspects of a school when they are making a decision on their education. The following table offers a comparison of these three schools.
|Seattle Community College - South Campus||Shoreline Community College||Lake Washington Institute of Technology|
|School Type||Four-year; public||Two-year; public||Four-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2011)||5,439*||6,115*||4,151*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large suburb||Large suburb|
|Tuition & Fees (2011-2012)|| $3,427 in-state|
| $3,612 in-state|
| $3,461 in-state|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2010-2011)||61%*||49%*||64%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2011)||N/A - open admissions||N/A - open admissions||N/A - open admissions|
|Retention Rate (2011)||N/A*||64% of full-time students// 46% of part-time students*||N/A*|
|Graduation Rate (2011)||20% (16% transfer-out rate)*||37% (22% transfer-out rate)*||21% (8% transfer-out rate)*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.
Other School Options
There are three other schools offering automotive mechanic training near Seattle, including Renton Technical College, which is 10 miles from the city. Olympic College is about 15 miles from Seattle, while Green River Community College is roughly 25 miles from the city.
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