Automotive, Diesel, Collision and Welding programs are designed to offer students the necessary training to pursue a career as a professional technician. In most cases. However, there are many different choices for education out there and the outcomes can vary wildly.
There are a few for-profit online colleges that offer certificate and diploma programs and some offer a full associate degree. In addition, a number of community colleges also offer programs for automotive or diesel mechanics wishing to advance their knowledge.
- Hands-on Training
- Specialty Training & Associate Degrees
- Manufacturer Partners
- Certifications & Recognitions
- Career Placement
Because of the hands-on nature of specialty trades, students will want to look for programs that require them to complete hands-on practical exercises and tasks in a service environment. Hands-on training will provide more real world experience if done on actual cars and not on clip cars, training simulators or on student’s own cars in a hobby-type program.
Specialty Training & Associate Degrees
Technician training should include a focus on multiple specialty areas such as alternative fuels, aftermarket performance, heavy duty equipment training, off road and industrial equipment, custom paint and graphics, metal working, and manufacturer specific programs. The option of an associate’s degree can make a technician even more marketable as they will be well rounded employees able to interact with a variety of customers.
Technical training programs that contain the most value for students are those in which the college has partnered with the top names in the industry for training aids, curriculum and placement opportunities. There are many benefits from these partnerships including the ability of the college to train on some of the most up to date equipment and often offer certifications for the students through the manufacturers.
Certifications & Recognitions
Students should seek programs that prepare them for industry certifications and recognitions, thus providing the most value for their training. Certifications and recognitions include manufacturer certifications, industry certifications, state and national certifications, awards and distinctions, as well as college degrees and diplomas.
One of the most important aspects of choosing a great technical school is the availability of a career services department and the placement rates achieved by that college. Students will want to pay special attention to make sure the technical college they are considering is placing students into careers in their industry of study. Manufacturing partners often recruit students directly from the technical colleges they work with. Your career services office should be able to provide you with statistics on this.
The bottom line in choosing a career college that suits you is to take all these factors into consideration and not to settle for cheap, easy and close. Go where you will receive the best education and create the most value yourself for a lifelong career.