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Automotive Technician

Common Questions

What is this field like?

Automotive technology has taken quantum leaps forward in engineering. High tech designs now incorporate sophisticated electronics such as computer controls and on-board diagnostics. Graduates from SCC's automotive technology program will find themselves in a career that has more brain work than ever before. Even after technicians enter the job market, those who want top wages and a chance for advancement will continue to upgrade their skills through factory training programs and night classes taught at the community colleges. In return, young men and women entering this field will find a fantastic array of job opportunities. No matter what their interests-from accounting to advertising to machinery to mathematics-there are many opportunities.

What program does SCC offer?

SCC's automotive technology program is a six-quarter A.A.S. (associate in applied science) degree program. It prepares you for employment in many areas of the automotive field-including dealerships, independent garages, fleet shops, service stations and specialty shops. The goals of the program are to prepare individuals who can:

  • Understand basic shop operation
  • Diagnose mechanical malfunctions
  • Make replacement decisions about worn parts
  • Operate precision diagnostic and repair equipment
  • Read and interpret repair manuals
  • Understand the importance of good relationships with customers and co-workers
  • Be aware of costs and profits
  • Word with a minimum of supervision
  • Use tools and equipment skillfully

Students may start the program any fall, winter or spring quarter as openings are available.

What classes will I take?

In the first four quarters, students study automotive basics. They learn the fundamentals of brakes and front ends, automatic and standard transmissions, engines, front and rear wheel drive, fuel injection, emissions, electronic and electrical systems, and accessories. They also take related classes in math, first aid, technical writing, business computer use, arc welding, oxy-acetylene welding and leadership training. (Students may enroll in the Toyota T-Ten program after completing two quarters. If accepted, the rest of their training will be on Toyota-specific products.) the program's fifth and sixth quarters are advanced work, and students concentrate their studies in one or two of these areas:

  • engine performance and air conditioning
  • automatic transmissions, transaxles, suspension and brakes
  • engines and drive trains

in addition, advanced students study business skills, heating and air conditioning repair, tune up, electronic ignition, wheel alignment and balancing. A seventh quarter option-called service writer-is available for those interested in pursuing customer relations or management. Since second-year students work on cars owned by employees and students of CCS, they also learn shop management skills: making out job estimates, ordering parts, completing work orders and dealing with customers. During their final two quarters, they can enhance their education through on-the-job training opportunities. SCC offers evening classes for those presently employed in the industry.

Where will I get a job?

The automotive technology program provides basic skills for entry into a very broad field. There are positions as manufacturers' representatives, auto technicians (general and specialized), field service representatives, technical and catalog writers, inventory control managers and computer operators, as well as jobs in wholesaling/distribution. Graduates may advance to positions as shop foreman and lead technician, or with further education, automotive engineer. They may seek to own their own business, manage a dealership, write how-to automotive books, or break into the high performance industry.

How much will I make?

Entry-level pay for an untrained technician starts at minimum wage, but those equipped with an A.A.S. degree can expect $7 to $8 in the Spokane market-and can expect more and faster advancement. Experienced technicians in Spokane earn around $14 an hour. Pay scales also vary according to the technician's scores on standardized tests given by the Automotive Service Excellence program. SCC's automotive program prepares students for this series of eight tests which are offered twice a year and can be taken separately or all together. Certification in any of these eight areas-engine repair, engine performance, suspension and steering, brakes, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning-indicates to employers the individual's training level and ability.

For more information....

For more information:

Jeff Coffey
SCC Counseling Center, MS 2151
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
Counseling: (509) 533-7026 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 7026
Department: (509) 533-8066
(509) 533-8802



Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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