Engine repair professionals keep America’s automobiles running safely and efficiently by testing, repairing and rebuilding various engine models. With today’s complex vehicles, these specialists have to master more than just engines; electronics and brake systems, transmissions, climate control, and computer chips must also constitute the 21st century mechanic’s areas of expertise. Increasingly difficult to learn on your own, most mechanics master the fundamentals of vehicle repair by getting an online associate degree in engine repair.

An associate degree in engine repair online program is a good choice for someone who wants to quickly begin a career. Typically, it takes only four semesters to complete the degree, and many finish the program in less than two years. Nearly all schools are hands-on, so students master the practical aspects of engine repair, as well as various mechanical theories. Most find work shortly after graduation in repair shops and/or at automotive retailers.

Why an Engine Repair Associate Degree?

Today’s employers expect their workers to have more education than simply a high school diploma; but, in today’s tough economy, most people simply can’t commit to a four-year degree and juggle full-time work at the same time. In these cases, an engine repair associate degree online is an ideal choice because it allows students to earn their credentials in a timely manner; in fact, according to recent data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with associate degrees were 25% more likely to be employed in 2012 compared to those with just a high school diploma.

The associate degree has advantages over a certificate program, as well. According to the BLS data, associate degree holders were nearly 20% more likely to be employed over someone with a certificate, alone. Moreover, those with associate degrees earned more than their certificate holding neighbors; according to a report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, associate degree holders will earn nearly $200,000 more over their lifetimes than those who stopped their education with a certificate.

Getting Into an Engine Repair Associate Degree Program

Most associate degree programs share similar admission requirements; some common prerequisites include as follows:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Sufficient grade point average (GPA) – often 2.0 or better
  • Sufficient score on a placement test (ACT, SAT or administered by the school)

Inside an Engine Repair Associate Degree Program

The best engine repair programs cover the fundamentals of the entire vehicle. Courses cover electrical, suspension, and steering systems; drive trains and axles; braking systems, transmissions, and chassis. Students attend at least one class for using modern diagnostic instruments and other reporting tools.

As an associate degree program, students will also take complementary courses outside the automotive field. Dedicated classes in economics and math are usually required. Many programs also require course work in sociology and interpersonal communication, and most conclude with a practical, problem-solving course.

What’s Next for Engine Repair Associate Degree Holders?

Graduates of engine repair or automotive programs can expect to find work quickly. According to the BLS, the field is expected to grow through 2020. The median hourly wage for automotive mechanics was $17.21 in 2010; more than 700,000 people were successfully employed as automotive service technicians in the United States that same year.

With the associate degree in hand, some engine repair specialists choose to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree. According to the Georgetown University report, bachelor’s degree holders will earn 31% more over their lifetimes when compared with those who stopped their education with an associate degree. In fact, in 2012, those with bachelor’s degrees earned median pay 35% higher than those with associate degrees.