How Much Does Automotive School Cost?

How Much Does Automotive School Cost?

The good news if you’re planning on pursuing a career in automotive repair is this: Your education isn’t going to cost you as much as a brand-new Corvette. But don’t expect your education to be free either.

If you’re giving significant thought to entering the automotive repair field, it’s wise to first consider the cost. After all, education has been quite pricey these days, generally for any subject. And in this career field, you’ll want to find a school that will allow you to complete your training quickly so you can find automotive jobs and start earning a solid salary.

Today’s automotive technicians are trained to inspect, maintain and repair a variety of vehicles that operate on gasoline, electricity or even alternative fuels. Mechanics who want to specialize in diesel-fueled vehicles must receive specialized training courses and usually enroll in a separate training program.

The process for becoming an automotive technician can begin in high school through a vocational program. Or the path could begin in college where you can earn a college-level certificate or complete an associate degree program. So, how much does automotive school cost?

The following estimates can help you determine what you can afford for the type of career opportunity you’re hoping to pursue in this field:

  • Online automotive technician training programs — These programs can cost anywhere from $750 to $1,000. For example, you can find an online automotive technician correspondence course for about $750. Courses of this nature can be completed in about six months to two years and sometimes cover other expenses, such as textbooks, study guides, online exams and access to your instructors.
  • Certificate programs — Expect to pay $5,000 to $20,000 for programs that last six months to two years. Depending on your geographic location, it’s possible to find 18-week certificate programs for around $5,000-$5,500 for tuition and related fees.
  • Associate degree — An associate degree program in auto mechanics generally costs about $10,000-$25,000 and takes two years to complete. Tuition costs at automotive schools can vary greatly based on the demand and reputation of the associate degree program. Like other college programs, sometimes you pay extra for the name or esteem of a given learning institution.
  • Voluntary certifications — You can also anticipate additional charges for voluntary certifications through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. These courses generally cost $30-$60 per test, plus a $36 registration fee. Examples of certifications include those for automobiles/light trucks, collision and refinishing, service consulting, and parts.
  • Licensing requirements — And last but not least, automotive technicians must also take into account licensing requirements that vary by state. For example, Michigan requires all auto mechanics to take a test for each licensing area requested for a $6 fee for each test and a $25 total application fee.

So what should you get for the cost of your education — besides a solid education itself? Most online certificate programs often include automotive tools and related study materials as part of their fees. For classes that can be taken in person, your tuition will cover classroom lectures, instruction and hands-on training with equipment.

Additional fees
As with any college-level course or certificate program, you can expect to pay additional fees for books, tools and other enrollment costs that can raise the total program expense by as much as $1,000-$3,000. These should be factored in before enrollment so you aren’t caught off guard.

Living away from home — if you’re a traditional college-aged student — can also add significant expenses to your college budget. Room and board, for example, could add $5,000-$10,000 to your annual cost.

Check out national automotive industry associations and regional groups to see if you can apply or qualify for scholarship funds. You can also search for lists of available scholarship programs online to help make the cost of your education more affordable. And of course, you can apply for a scholarship worth up to $1,000 toward the cost of your tuition at schools that participate in the Imagine America Scholarship Program. It’s easy to check out schools and apply for scholarships by downloading our Imagine America mobile app.

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