Transmission Training Programs and Requirements

Transmission repair technicians specialize in automotive transmission repairs and maintenance. They know how to fix couplings, gear trains and hydraulic pumps. On-the-job experience, obtained through associate's and bachelor's degree programs, allows candidates to learn to diagnose and service automatic and manual transmissions.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

At minimum, a high school diploma or a GED certificate is required to become a transmission repair technician. Some high schools are members of the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) and work directly with auto manufacturers and dealers to mentor students.

Most employers prefer to hire transmission repair technicians with an associate's or bachelor's degree in automotive technology since these programs provide classroom instruction and hands-on service training.

Transmission repair technicians need extensive knowledge about computer controls, since automotive transmissions contain complicated technology systems. They also need to be able to diagnose transmission problems quickly and accurately as well as possessing strong mathematical and communication skills.

Formal Education

Although some employers hire transmission repair technicians straight out of high school, most employers prefer applicants with postsecondary education in the form of an associate's or bachelor's degree in automotive technology, which provide hands-on practice with automotive equipment. Accreditation for these programs is given through the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.

Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology

In a 2-year associate's degree program in automotive technology, students learn operation, theory and servicing techniques of numerous automotive systems. Students take classes in both automatic and manual transmission fundamentals and repair. Certain community colleges and technical schools work directly with automotive manufacturers and car dealers, allowing students to spend 6-12 weeks attending classes and working full-time in service departments.

Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology

Most bachelor's degree programs in automotive technology are considered a two-plus-two major, which means students complete the coursework for an associate's degree and then continue on with a bachelor's degree. Instead of the bachelor's program taking four years, it only takes an additional two after the associate's degree is achieved. Courses that are offered in the final four semesters of baccalaureate degree programs include advanced automotive technologies, safety management, customer service and automotive technical training.

Job Experience

Many employers require that transmission repair technicians possess at least 2-4 years of automotive mechanical diagnosis, problem-solving and repair experience. Graduates of postsecondary programs may already have work experience, but most employers prefer an additional year of employment and generally seek applicants with certification through the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Additionally, all candidates must own a current driver's license.

Licenses and Certifications

ASE certification is geared toward all automotive service technicians, including those who work on transmissions. Although this certification is not mandatory, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), most service technicians in large, urban areas possess certification. Applicants require two years of relevant full-time work experience, although some high school and postsecondary courses can be substituted for one year's worth of work experience. Once candidates fulfill the work requirements, they can register for the written examination, which is called the A2 exam for the automotive and light truck, including automatic transmissions and transaxles, series. Recertification must be completed every five years.

Workshops and Seminars

Technical seminars are the most common type of training opportunities for transmission repair technicians. Professional organizations sponsor day-long technical seminars at locations all over the country, where technicians can visit with transmission manufacturers and learn about advances to technology. The organizations also provide seminar manuals for technicians to take home for reference purposes. Other technical seminars feature speakers from car manufacturers who discuss updates to their machinery.

Additional Professional Development

Automotive technology continues to advance, and transmission repair technicians must stay current with any updates. If technicians are ASE certified, they must be retested every five years, ensuring that they are up-to-date with new changes. Additionally, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, Inc. (NATEF), which is a non-profit organization, offers continuing automotive service education courses.

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