Do automotive schools work on cars?

If your passion is repairing vehicles, then the last thing you want is to enroll in an automotive program where you spend all your time sitting in a classroom.
What you need is a school that lets you get your hands greasy in a garage and doesn’t just teach you with videos and textbooks.

But you also don’t want to only work on spare automotive parts either—carburetors or other loose engine components. You want to work on real vehicles, which means you have a very simple question you want answered when choosing your automotive school: Do automotive schools work on cars?

If you’re worried about not getting your hands dirty at automotive school, then this will ease your mind: most automotive schools understand their students well. They know you learn best with hands-on instruction—by digging into car engines, performing routine maintenance, and diagnosing engine problems in cars that belong to actual customers.

So what skills do you gain while you’re under the hood? Here are five reasons why it’s critical that automotive programs let you work on cars:

  • Hands-on Learning: While it’s true that automotive schools will usually start off by providing you with basic theories of automotive mechanics, much of the learning comes in hands-on situations. Most programs will allow you to work on actual vehicles, repairing a variety of systems and parts, from steering and suspension to brakes and exhaust. You’ll also learn how to use an assortment of tools and related equipment.
  • Advancing Automotive Technology: Vehicles today are becoming more and more complex. In fact, a large part of cars’ operation is tied to a system like an onboard computer. This makes working on cars even more exciting. The proper training can get you up to speed while also giving you the abilities that make it possible to enjoy staying on top of all the interesting changes.
  • Specialization: Many schools will offer you the capability to specialize in vehicles from certain manufacturers. A specialization helps make you a more attractive hire after graduation because you already have the skills needed to work for certain companies or dealerships. You’ll need far more than a textbook to prepare you. The best way to get the experience of knowing one brand inside and out is to work on those vehicles yourself.
  • Apprenticeships and Externships: Nearly all automotive programs end with an apprenticeship or externship. By working at local dealerships or repair shops, you can gain real experience under the hood. Then when you graduate, you can update your résumé with the skills that show you’ve worked for businesses where your skills were tested. This experience will give you the confidence you need when searching for automotive jobs.
  • Problem Solving: You can read all the textbooks or troubleshooting manuals you want, but nothing can prepare you for dealing with the frustration of a nagging automotive repair like firsthand experience. Trying new ideas and identifying solutions not already proposed in textbooks helps you solve complex problems.

Firsthand skills for the future

Once you graduate from school and become an automotive technician, it will be your responsibility to diagnose and fix mechanical issues with all kinds of vehicles. You’ll mostly be working on mechanical components, but you’ll also need to be able to fix electrical problems, given the increase of technology used in cars. A career school that offers you the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge by working directly on these problems with actual vehicles is going to be your best bet for preparing for a rewarding career.