What Kind of Accreditation Should My Degree Program Have?
To be sure that future employers will be interested in your degree, it is important to know that your school has the appropriate accreditation.
For any higher education discipline, particularly for Automotive Technology, accreditation is crucial when choosing an institution.
The college or university is eligible for financial support if the Department of Education has recognized an association that provided the accreditation.
First of all, accreditation shows that an educational institution adheres to the standards.
Secondly, the program is relevant and continues to expand in its field.
There are institutional and programmatic accreditation processes.
One is required for schools, the other for a specific discipline and degree program.
Regional Accrediting Agencies
Regional and national accreditation agencies can provide institutional accreditation.
In short, regional accreditation agencies enhance reputation and credibility.
When studying the conditions of colleges and universities, it is advisable to obtain a “stamp of approval” from one of these accreditation agencies depending on the region:
- The Higher Learning Commission
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
If you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in automotive technology, look for an institution with a “stamp of approval” from one of these regional accreditation groups.
National Accrediting Agencies
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
The Department of Education considers the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) as a leading national accreditation agency for certification and degree programs.
You can only get a diploma if your institution has already been accredited by one of the six accreditation groups mentioned above.
Notably, the accreditation of ACCSC indicates that your program is of recognized standard quality and reliability in the chosen field.
This is valuable certification but not necessary if your institution is accredited at the regional level.
Therefore, accreditation from the agency guarantees a good reputation for the quality of the program and the legality of the certification as well as access to student loans that you can get.
National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
In case of absence of ACCSC certification, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) can accredit the program.
Although the Department of Education does not explicitly recognize NATEF, it is recognized by American Service Excellence (ASE) Alliance as an industry-leading group of professionals.
Thus, the NATEF accredited program conforms to all automotive industry standards and is trustworthy in the professional field.
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
A professional engineering license allows you to combine training in the automotive industry with engineering specialization.
To do this, you need to get a specialist diploma with the appropriate accreditation program.
For your major, accreditation board for engineering and technology (ABET) is preferred.
It is not a commercial accreditation agency for programs in the fictional and natural sciences of computing and engineering technologies.
ABET has confirmed quality control of 3800 programs in more than 77 educational institutions in 31 countries.
The first step for those who want to become a professional automotive engineer is to search for a program with accreditation by ABET.
This important document will confirm your qualifications when seeking employment in a competitive labor market.
To determine accreditation status, you simply need to contact the chosen school.
Chiefly, the database of the Department of Education contains all accredited companies within its competence.
If you know about accreditation, you can consider several options for obtaining a degree.
What Kinds of Automotive Technology Degrees Are There?
Associate Degree in Automotive Technology
An associate degree in automotive technology will distinguish you as a candidate for employers in a competitive environment.
Of course, you can start your career without a junior car mechanic’s diploma as a truck mechanic or electromechanics.
And you have to remember that any of these areas are getting harder and newer every day.
The 60-credit program will provide the necessary skills and help you find a good job in your field after 2 years.
Most of the time, you will learn about various aspects of automotive technology.
Starting from the initial training on maintenance of the heating and cooling system, to suspension and transmission, etc.
You will most likely also have to work with your hands frequently during training.
So you’d better get your own tools for this part of the course.
With an associate degree, you will have the basic knowledge you need.
The qualification will allow you to start maintenance work in repair or production.
You can also get benefits in the selection of sales and distribution managers.
Each of these areas has opportunities for further advancement if you continue your studies and upgrade to a bachelor’s degree.
What Courses Will You Take?
- Service & Maintenance
- Engine Repair
- Power Trains & Transmissions
- Wiring & Electrical Systems
- Suspension & Steering
Bachelor of Automotive Technology
Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology enables management and leadership in this field.
Definitely, you will gain practical experience in service, maintenance, and repair.
Moreover, you will be able to immerse yourself in innovative technologies and automotive technology research and develop your analytical organizational and leadership principles.
You should also focus on areas such as mechanical engineering, fuel production, distribution, and safety.
Surprisingly, for many popular occupations in the field of automotive engineering, it is enough to have a degree and or certification of a specialist to start a career.
Therefore, not every school offers a four-year 120-credit loan program in the field of automotive technology.
Well, if you’re looking to be a leader or a researcher and developer, you need a bachelor’s degree.
This also concerns professionals who are already working with an associate degree.
If you are inspired by the work both on the edge and ahead of the automotive industry, a bachelor’s degree can make this possible.
What Courses Will You Take?
- Mechanical Engineering
- Drivability Diagnostics
- Manufacturing Management
- Mechanical Design
- Heavy Equipment Design
- Collision Science
- Transportation Infrastructure
- Alternative Fuel Systems
What’s the Difference between a Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Technology in Automotive Technology?
Actually, these degrees are slightly different.
Most often this depends on the degree of education that your school provides.
Anyone can learn more about the science and technology that make up automotive technology and innovation.
You will make a direct contribution to innovation.
Master of Automotive Technology
If you want to gain in-depth knowledge of automotive engineering and design, you need a master’s degree in automotive technology.
After two years of training, you will have experience in theoretical and scientific research in the field of automotive technology.
Especially, your dissertation or final project is an opportunity to do intensive research in a specific area, such as saving fuel for improving transport infrastructure, increasing the efficiency of private cars and possibly even autopilot cars.
You can choose to move from higher education to a more prestigious engineering program with a specialization in automotive technology.
In like manner, you will make a direct contribution to innovation with a master’s degree and a special level in your field.
And maybe this will be the next stage in the development of automotive technology.
It is worth noting, that your earnings in the field of automotive technology will grow according to your efforts and skill.
What Courses Will You Take?
- Design & Manufacturing
- Dynamics & Control
- Electronics and Computer Software
- Materials and Commodity
- Urban Transportation Systems
- Alternative Fuel Systems
- National Shipping Logistics
What Kind of Licensing or Certification Do You Need?
Automotive Technology Certification
To increase the trust of employers and customers, it is important to have a certification that shows the level of your skills.
Certification in the field of automotive technology can replace or supplement a specialist diploma.
Sometimes a proven certification program offers the same opportunities for an associate degree as a school program.
But it doesn’t mean that employers will be as loyal.
And it does not give additional advantages due to the transition to a bachelor’s degree.
However, if you already have an associate degree, you can consider a certification program as the next step.
These programs often require you to work as a student if you need certification in automotive or related fields.
It is essential to make sure that the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) or the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) has accredited the program you have chosen.
To become an engineer in the automotive industry, you should have a government license.
If you want to become a licensed professional engineer (PE), you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a program accredited by ABET.
For those, who have received this degree, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying examiners conducts an engineering Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
The license allows you to work in public places as an engineer.
Obtaining the title of professional engineer takes 4 years.
After that, you have to take an examination to determine the principles and application of engineering.
Then you’ll get a full license as a professional engineer (PE).
This status opens up a huge range of professional opportunities.
Some states may require permanent education to maintain this status so that it can vary from state to state.
Popular Degree Programs
What Can You Do With This Degree?
Your degree in automotive technology can open the door to a successful career in service repair and design engineering, automotive construction and many other related fields.
Here is a list of the best jobs in your field:
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanic
- Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanic
- Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver
- Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician
- Material Moving Machine Operator
- Automotive Body and Glass Repairer
- General Maintenance and Repair Worker
How Much Can You Make With This Degree?
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2019 employers offer the following basic wages for the best jobs in your field:
- Automotive/Watercraft Service Attendants — Mean annual wage of $25,940
- Painting Coating Workers — Mean annual wage of $36,810
- Automotive Service Techs/Mechanics — Mean annual wage of $40,710
- Automotive Body/Glass Repairs — Mean annual wage of $41,330
- Automotive Body/Related Repairs — Mean annual wage of $46,460
- Diesel Service Technicians/Mechanics — Mean annual wage of $47,350
- Mechanical Engineers — Mean annual wage of $87,370
- Transportation/Storage/Distribution Managers — Mean annual wage of $102,850
- Industrial Production Managers — Mean annual wage of $113,370
What Professional Associations or Societies Should You Join?
The best way to establish new connections in your field is to join a professional association.
Here you can also learn about useful seminars or contests and improve your personal knowledge.
Obviously, your chosen career path will determine which associations you decide to join.
Find out about Automotive Associations that match your professional direction:
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers
- Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International)
- Automotive Industry Action Group
- United States Council for Automotive Research
- Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Now you have a more particular vision of your automotive technology career.
Choose your own path and start applying your talents in work.
The degree in Automotive Technology allows you to choose one or more interesting directions.
It’s a great opportunity to realize your labor potential and express logical thinking.
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