BMW Repair Training Programs, Courses and Classes
BMW, or Bavaria Motor Works, is a German vehicle manufacturer. Individuals interested in pursuing BMW training can look to cooperating vocational institutions or community colleges as well as formal apprenticeship-type programs directly with BMW. BMW training courses are available for aspiring BMW automobile technicians.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
Future BMW mechanics typically complete associate degree programs. These are available as general automotive repair degrees that include BMW-specific electives or as specialized degree plans offered in conjunction with BMW. Upon graduation, students who desire advanced training can apply to BMW's Service Technician Education Program (STEP) available through BMW partner colleges.
BMW works with certain colleges and institutions to offer specialized BMW associate degrees. Selective tuition-free STEP programs are also available to high-achieving students. Students in both programs learn the basics of diagnosing, maintaining and repairing BMW automotive systems.
This 2-year BMW mechanic program is typically conferred as an Associate of Applied Science. These programs combine a liberal arts core with specialized training in BMW vehicles. Students learn to use BMW tools and diagnostic equipment and study documentation practices important to BMW vehicle warranties. BMW training classes include:
- Vehicle suspension systems
- Ignition and fuel systems
- Fiber optic systems
- Certified pre-owned inspection
- Specific model maintenance (MINI)
Service Technician Education Program (STEP)
BMW's 6-month scholarship program is a highly selective program open to individuals who have graduated from a college-level vehicle tech program. In order to qualify for this tuition-free program, individuals must meet minimum GPA and attendance requirements, have instructor recommendations, possess a valid driver's license with a clean driving record, pass a written test and complete a formal interview. They must also be re-locatable and be able to cover their own living expenses while in training. This program is available through cooperating community colleges or directly with BMW.
Mechanics who have graduated from a BMW college program are expected to have completed a dealer internship. Those who have attended a BMW STEP program earn experience while in training; upon completion of the program, they are considered BMW technicians with the equivalent of two years of work experience. Additionally, after taking part in STEP, BMW techs must commit to working for BMW for at least one year. With the equivalent of five years of experience, two of which are earned by participation in STEP, BMW technicians can advance to the level of master technician.
Licenses and Certifications
In addition to BMW training, service technicians can obtain voluntary certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (www.ase.com). ASE grants certification in a variety of specialized service areas, such as engine repair and brake maintenance. Although ASE certification is not mandatory, job prospects are often better for ASE-certified technicians, especially in urban areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
Workshops and Seminars
BMW vehicle organizations may sponsor 1-2 day seminars on various topics of interest to BMW technicians and vehicle enthusiasts. Automotive shows, conferences and conventions, which may run for 1-2 weeks, are another way to learn about trends in BMW research and development.
Additional Professional Development
BMW mechanics can search the Web for relevant discussion forums where they may be able to get tips from other industry professionals. Some sites also post videos of parts repairs for specific BMW models. BMW repair handbooks may also prove helpful. Furthermore, to learn more about the history as well as the future of BMW, technicians may decide to visit the U.S. BMW manufacturing plant and Zentrum display building located in South Carolina.
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