Program Overview

Learn the art and science of welding, refinishing, and metal fabrication in a real-world setting at one of the best auto fabrication and refinishing schools in Rhode Island to prepare for careers in the aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing industries.

Our Associate in Science in Advanced Automotive Technology with Fabrication and Refinishing (AAFR) degree provides an in-depth study and application of the most advanced trends in the automotive field.

Students interested in the program gain direct hands-on practice in sheet metal fabrication, auto fabrication, auto body repair, fiberglass fabrication and repair, welding, brazing, cutting, and paint refinishing techniques.

Along with the theory of operation, design, and servicing techniques of current automobile systems, the Fabrication and Refinishing (AFFR) degree program offers two additional terms of study in the fabrication and refinishing of structural surfaces.

Those interested in the programs must have a high school diploma, an equivalent recognized diploma (GED), or meet the federal home school requirements. As they attend class to get the theory and practical knowledge, students also gain exposure to soft skills and resume writing, which helps them get a good job after graduation.

The New England Institute of Technology uses the latest industry standards, up-to-date diagnostic tools, and an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) approved curriculum in its training program.

Our comprehensive, practical intensive program prepares students for entry-to-industry-level technical capability and skills needed for rapid advancement in automotive servicing, auto body fabrication, and collision repair industries.

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the states near the east coast are thriving hubs for the automotive industry. Students who attend a trade school are more likely to find meaningful employment.

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Full Description

The Automotive Technology department offers five automotive associate degree programs:

  • Automotive Technology
  • Advanced Automotive Technology
  • Automotive Technology with High Performance
  • Advanced Automotive Technology with High Performance
  • Advanced Automotive Technology with Fabrication and Refinishing

While all programs cover the same topics, the Advanced Automotive Technology Fabrication and Refinishing degree includes a more in-depth study of metal fabrication, collision repair, welding, and auto body repair services.

In this program, students will learn the design, theory of operation, and servicing techniques of the systems and system components of the latest cars and automobiles in the first six terms.

Students will receive training in engine construction and design training, engine repair, electricity, electronics, suspension, steering, brakes, transmissions, heating and air conditioning systems, fuel systems, ignition systems, and emission controls.

Graduate students will spend two additional terms of study at the automotive fabrication school. They will learn fabrication, repair and refinishing, use of power tools specific to vehicles and automobiles, sheet metal fabrication, painting, and advanced refinishing.

Our auto metal fabrication/welding school provides training in metal joining and welding techniques such as electric arc welding, oxyacetylene welding, and shielded metal arc welding. The automotive paint school students also learn handling, operation, and care of spray-painting equipment.

The department instructors train students on masking techniques, surface preparation, preparing sprayable materials, preparation and application of different consistencies of paints and primers.  

New England Institute of Technology participates in the Ford Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) program, including Ford Service Technician Specialty Training (STST) in the following areas:

  1. Electrical Systems
  2. Climate Control
  3. Brake Systems
  4. Steering and Suspension
  5. Tire
  6. Chassis & Maintenance

After graduating from the auto fabrication school, students meet the requirements for the Ford MLR certification.

NEIT also participates in the Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) LOCAL curriculum, designed and developed by Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) Performance Institute for colleges. The curriculum includes a variety of web-based self-study and instructor-led courses and covers two levels:

Level 0: It provides the basic training, including the technician’s role in the dealership, new vehicle prep, FCA online systems, and the use of diagnostic scan tools.

Level 1:  It includes complex training classes such as engine repair and performance, automatic transmissions, driveline, chassis systems, and electrical and body systems. Upon completion, students can work on various vehicles in Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram dealerships.

Students will also take a course in OSHA safety standards, enabling them to complete the OSHA-10 certification.

Graduates of the AAFR program are ready to enter a broader range of technician positions in the automotive service, collision repair, and auto body field. Our curriculum provides a strong foundation for students to apply for ASE certificates to enhance their career prospects.

After completing their training, students are eligible to continue for a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with an Automotive Service/Transportation Management (MGTT) concentration and make a career in management.

NEIT participates in several federal and state financial aid programs that can help lower tuition costs for students.

Job Availability in Rhode Island

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, automotive fabricators work in motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing with 230 active personnel in Rhode Island.

The state employs 2,260 other assemblers and fabricators for motor vehicles and parts manufacturing.

NEIT Campus that Offers Auto Body Repair Program

The NEIT campus that offers the auto body repair program is the Access Road Campus, located at 110 Access Rd #65, Warwick, RI 02886.

License Requirements in Rhode Island

In addition to the knowledge acquired, all auto body repair personnel must hold a license to work in the industry. The term for the license is not more than 3 years, after which they have to renew. The types of licenses available are:

  • Full collision repair license
  • Limited heavy truck and equipment license
  • Limited paint, restoration, and customization license
  • Special use license

Applicants for a license must submit an application/renewal form, $150 for each year of license renewal, certification of financial responsibility, designation and address, an EPA number, and evidence of compliance with the zonal and state fire, health, and safety laws.

Salary Data in Rhode Island

The data from BLS shows the average wage of $40,360, with those in Rhode Island getting $44,090 per annum. Other assemblers and fabricators earn an annual mean salary of $37,150 per annum or $17.86 per hour.

The neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts offer annual mean wages of $41,520 and $50,420, respectively.


The NEIT Automotive Technology program has received Master Automobile Service Technology Accreditation by the ASE Education Foundation, 1503 Edwards Ferry Rd., NE, Suite 401, Leesburg, VA 20176, (703) 669-6650

Potential Career Opportunities

After graduating from auto fabrication schools, students can work in multiple avenues. Potential employers include independent garages and dealerships, mass merchandisers, service stations, specialty shops, automotive parts stores, and car rental agencies.

Your program should prepare you to complete a variety of welding certifications that meet the standards of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

Jobs can range from entry-level technicians to owners/operators or managers. Students will work in diverse areas such as sheet metal fabrication and repair, vehicle maintenance, collision repair, auto parts welding, paints and refinishing equipment shop, auto painting, and modifications.

Our Fabrication and Refinishing (AFFR) program graduates will have the following career opportunities:

Automotive Service Technician

Collision Repair Technician

Generation Technician

Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Light Wheel Mechanic

Shop Foreman

Quality Control Inspector

Operation Supervisor

Parts Manager

Trailer Mechanic


  • What is auto fabrication?

    Auto fabrication is the process of building auto parts, structures, and exterior modifications. The process uses cutting, bending, machining, welding, and grinding to create finished auto products from scratch.

  • What does a car fabricator do?

    A car fabricator works in cutting, grinding, welding, and assembling auto parts and structures.  Fabricators may also work in pure metal fabrication processes such as forging, smithing, and rolling.

  • What are the types of metal fabrication?

    Fabrication methods fall into the following categories:

    • Metal Forming: Forging, Rolling, Drawing, Extrusion
    • Sheet Metal Operations: Cutting, Punching, Shearing, Perforating, Notching, etc.
    • Machining: Turning, Milling, Shaping, CNC, etc.
    • Casting: Die Casting, Investment Casting, etc.
    • Metal Joining: Welding, Brazing, Soldering, etc. 

    We select a fabrication method depending on the part geometry, strength requirements, type of materials, and the intended application.


  • What is fabrication work?

    Fabrication refers to the process of building metallic and non-metallic parts, structures, and machines from raw materials. It involves creating metal, wood, and plastic parts using casting, molding, cutting, forging, turning, milling, etc.

  • What Is Refinishing in Automotive Work?

    Automotive refinishing is a process of custom painting automobiles. It starts with cleaning any anomalies in the bare metal body, followed by applying body filler, sanding, priming, and painting. The process ends with clear coat protection and final wet sanding if required. The vehicles could include cars, motorcycles, vans, and trucks.

  • What Is a Custom Fabrication for Cars?

    Custom fabrication of cars entails building bespoke parts for the interior, exterior, or engine. It is typical for vehicles no longer in production, especially the vintage collection. In these cases, the car owner cannot find a parts supplier to purchase off the shelf.

Related Programs

Program Mission, Goals, & Outcomes

Program Mission

The mission of both the Automotive (AUT) and Advanced Automotive Technology (AAUT) programs is to create entry-level automotive technicians prepared for employment in new vehicle automobile dealerships, independent automotive repair businesses, fleet service and repair centers and car rental companies. Through participation in classroom, hands-on and lab activities, students will gain the knowledge and experiences necessary to obtain an Associate in Science degree. This will enable them to pursue employment at an entry level in the automotive repair industry or acceptance into an advanced-level training program and lay the foundation for future progression into a management discipline, if so desired.

Program Goals

  1. Students understand and explore various opportunities and careers in the auto industry. They identify industry certifications and degree requirements needed to pursue automotive careers.
  2. Students learn from theoretical and practical applications, which prepares them for business and industry.
  3. Students participate in peer learning lab activities. The lab gathers information using electronic and traditional methods to generate a comprehensive vehicle report for vehicle repairs and communicate the diagnosis and need for repairs to the customer.
  4. Students develop a sense of professionalism which helps them grow in the automotive industry. They become lifelong learners for continuous career growth.

Program Outcomes

After completing the Automotive or Advanced Automotive training programs, students at the automotive refinishing school will be able to:

  1. Perform basic automobile engine diagnosis through the use of vacuum testing, compression testing and cylinder leakage testing.
  2. Perform basic electrical system diagnosis and testing on vehicle lighting, starting, and charging systems.
  3. Perform front-end and four-wheel vehicle alignments and repairs on vehicle suspension systems, utilizing the latest, state-of-the-art alignment equipment.
  4. Repair all types of light vehicle tires and wheels.
  5. Perform drivability diagnosis and repairs to automobile fuel, ignition and emission systems.
  6. Diagnose and repair manual and automatic transmission shifting and performance concerns.
  7. Recover, recycle, and recharge automotive air conditioning systems in accordance with EPA regulations.
  8. Diagnose and repair automotive engine cooling system concerns and replace water pumps, thermostats, accessory drive belts and other cooling system components.
  9. Perform automotive drum and disc brake system diagnosis, repairs, and replacement of component parts in accordance with current industry standards for automobile service.

For the latest listing of courses offered, please review our University Catalog here.

Q&A and Technical Standards

Questions & Answers

  1. When do my classes meet?Day Classes: Technical classes normally meet for at least three hours a day for up to five days a week. Classes normally begin in the early morning (7:45 a.m.), late morning (usually 11:25 p.m.), or mid-afternoon. The time slot for your program may vary from term to term.Evening Classes: Technical classes meet on the average of three nights a week, although there may be times when they will meet four nights a week. Classes normally begin at 5:45 p.m.In addition, to achieve your associate degree, you will take a total of approximately seven liberal arts courses customized or specifically selected for automotive technicians. These courses will be scheduled around your technical schedule over the course of your entire programAt the beginning of each term you will receive a detailed schedule giving the exact time and location of all your classes. The university requires that all students be prepared to take classes and receive services at any of NEIT’s locations where the appropriate classes and services are offered.When a regularly scheduled class falls on a day which is an NEIT observed holiday (Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Memorial Day), an alternate class will be scheduled as a make up for that class. The make-up class may fall on a Friday. It is the student’s responsibility to take note of when and where classes are offered.
  2. How large will my classes be?The average size for a class is about 20 to 25 students; however, larger and smaller classes occur from time to time.
  3. How much time will I spend in lab?Almost half of your technical courses consist of laboratory work. In order for you to get the most out of your laboratory experiences, you will first receive a thorough explanation of the theory behind your lab work.
  4. Where do my classes meet?Students should be prepared to attend classes at any of NEIT’s classroom facilities: either at the Post Road, Access Road, or East Greenwich campus.
  5. I have not earned my high school diploma or GED: can I enroll in an Associate Degree Program?A candidate for admission to an associate degree program must have a high school diploma, have earned a recognized equivalency diploma (GED), or meet the federal home school requirements.
  6. How long should it take me to complete my program?To complete your degree requirements in the shortest possible time, you should take the courses outlined in the prescribed curriculum. For this seven-term curriculum, a student may complete the requirements in as little as 21 months.To complete all your degree requirements in the shortest time, you should take at least one liberal arts course each term. Students who need more time to complete their curriculum may postpone some of the liberal arts courses until after the completion of the technical requirements. Students are provided up to two additional terms of study to complete the liberal arts requirements without any additional tuition assessment fee. During these additional terms of study, students are required to pay all applicable fees.Students may also elect to complete some of their liberal arts requirements during Intersession, a five-week term scheduled between Spring and Summer Quarters. Students will not be assessed any additional tuition for liberal arts courses taken during the Intersession but may be assessed applicable fees.Students wishing to extend the number of terms needed to complete the required technical courses in their curriculum will be assessed additional tuition and fees.
  7. Is NEIT accredited?NEIT is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.). Accreditation by NECHE is recognized by the federal government and entitles NEIT to participate in federal financial aid programs. Some academic departments have specialized professional accreditations in addition to accreditation by NECHE. For more information on accreditation, see NEIT’s catalog.
  8. Can I transfer the credits that I earn at NEIT to another college?The transferability of a course is always up to the institution to which the student is transferring. Students interested in the transferability of their credits should contact the Office of Teaching and Learning for further information.
  9. Can I transfer credits earned at another college to NEIT?Transfer credit for appropriate courses taken at an accredited institution will be upon receipt of an official transcript for any program, biology, science, and mathematics courses in which the student has earned a “C” or above within the past three years and for English or humanities courses in which the student has earned a “C” or above within the last ten years. An official transcript from the other institution must be received before the end of the first week of the term for transfer credit to be granted for courses to be taken during that term. Students will receive a tuition reduction for the approved technical courses based on the program rate and will be applied against the final technical term of the curriculum’s tuition amount. No tuition credit is provided for courses which are not a part of the technical curriculum.
  10. What is the “Feinstein Enriching America” Program?New England Institute of Technology is the proud recipient of a grant from the Feinstein Foundation. To satisfy the terms of the grant, the College has developed a one-credit community enrichment course which includes hands-on community enrichment projects. The course can be taken for a few hours per term, spread over several terms. Students who are already engaged in community enrichment on their own may be able to count that service towards course credit.
  11. How many credits do I need to acquire my Financial Aid?In order to be eligible for the maximum financial aid award, you need to maintain at least 12 credits per academic term.
  12. What does my program cost?The cost of your program will be as outlined in your enrollment agreement, along with your cost for books and other course materials. Students who decide to take more terms than the enrollment agreement describes to complete the technical courses in their curriculum will be subject to additional fees and possible additional tuition costs. Students who elect to take the technical portion of the degree requirements at a rate faster than the rate prescribed in the curriculum and the enrollment agreement will be assessed additional tuition.Students who require prerequisite courses will incur additional tuition and fees above those outlined in their enrollment agreement.If a student elects to take a course(s) outside of the prescribed curriculum, additional tuition and fees will be assessed.Remember, students who withdraw and re-enter, one time only, pay the tuition rate that was in effect for them at the time of their last day of attendance for up to one year from their last day of attendance. Second re-entrees and beyond pay the tuition rate in effect at the time they re-enter. The most economical way for you to complete your college degree is to begin your program now and continue your studies straight through for the five terms to complete your automotive training and the additional sixth term courses necessary to complete your associate degree requirements.
  13. What kind of employment assistance does NEIT offer?The Career Services Office assists NEIT students and graduates in all aspects of the job search, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and developing a job search strategy. Upon completion of their program, graduates may submit a resume to the Career Services Office to be circulated to employers for employment opportunities in their fields. Employers regularly contact us about our graduates. In addition, our Career Services Office contacts employers to develop job leads. A strong relationship with employers exists as a result of our training students to meet the needs of industry for over fifty years. No school can, and NEIT does not, guarantee to its graduates’ employment or a specific starting salary.
  14. Where will job opportunities exist?Graduates have obtained employment in the local area. However, one of the most exciting aspects of this program is the ability to look nationally for employment opportunities.
  15. What is the difference between the Advanced Automotive Technology (AAUT) and the Advanced Automotive Technology with High Performance (AAHP) associate degree  programs?AAUT and AAHP associate degree programs have a different number of terms. The AAUT associate degree is a six term program and the AAHP associate degree is a seven term program. The additional seventh term is the high performance term which includes lab experiences with the dynamometer and horsepower measurements not included in the Advanced Automotive curriculum.
  16. What is included in the automotive program?The Automotive Technology program includes a prescribed automotive training curriculum that is distributed over five academic terms, each ten weeks long. To receive an associate degree, you will take a total of six academic terms each ten weeks long, that includes seven liberal arts courses customized or specifically selected for automotive technicians. These courses are scheduled around your technical courses.
  17. Will I need tools or special equipment?No. Any tools you will need will be available for your use either in the main tool crib or in classroom lockers. You will, however, be responsible for the return of any and all tools you check out of the tool crib. Tools not returned or replaced will be charged to your account.
  18. Will I be required to wear special clothing?Yes. Each student is required to purchase and wear uniform shirts. In addition, proper navy blue work pants must be worn (no jeans, sweatpants, nylon pants, shorts, tattered, too tight or oversized pants). Students must have purchased their uniforms and be wearing them to class and lab by the end of the third week of classes. Students who have not purchased their uniforms and/or who do not wear their uniforms will not be allowed to attend class after the third week of classes. Also, proper footwear such as good quality work boots are to be worn at all times. No sneakers, sandals or soft type footwear, shorts and tee shirts are allowed at any time.
  19. Where can I purchase a uniform and what kind of uniform do I need?Students may purchase items for their uniforms online at Alexander’s Uniforms At the site’s homepage, click “New England Institute of Technology” from either the icon or the left tab, then select your department from the list. All items are priced to include a 15% discount. If you have any questions, contact Wendy Magnette via email at [email protected] or at 401-654-6500.
    The required uniforms include:
    Navy Sanmar PC54 Shirt w/ Screen Printing $11.00 (S-XL), $13.00 (2X-5X)
    Navy Sanmar PC54LS Shirt w/ Screen Printing $15.00 (S-XL), $17.00 (2X-5X)
    Navy Red Kap P110 Work Pants $19.99 (waist: 28-42), $23.99 (waist: 44-52)

    You may also purchase your uniform items at Alexander’s Uniforms at one of their three locations (recommended if you are unsure of the size): 1) Rhode Island: Marshall’s Plaza, 1 Lambert Lind Highway, Warwick RI 02886, 860-889-7744, 401-654-6500; 2) Connecticut: 77 Salem Turnpike, Norwich, CT 06360, 781-762-1449; 3) Massachusetts: 500 Providence Highway, Norwood MA 02062. A Student ID is needed to ensure you receive your 15% discount at checkout.

  20. Will I be required to wear any special safety equipment?Yes, eye and ear protection must be worn when performing special tasks or in areas that require them. Students are responsible for the purchasing of proper eye protection and must be carried on them at all times. Eye protection must be worn at all times in the automotive labs. Ear protection is supplied by the College. Also, as a safety precaution, work shoes or boots must be properly laced and tied at all times, shirts must be worn tucked in pants, and no rings, watches, earrings, nose rings and or dangling jewelry is allowed during lab or shop conditions.
  21. Can I work on my own vehicle?It is often possible for students to work on their own vehicles. NEIT does not take in any outside work for the purpose of students having vehicles to work on. However, the student may bring in his/her vehicle providing the work is related to the course that is being taken at that time.
  22. Is there any open lab time?All lab time is specifically for the courses being taken. Students may arrange with an instructor to do some necessary repair to a vehicle, and emergency repairs will be dealt with as they arise. However, all lab work is limited to what is being taught at the particular time. In the event that a student wants some work done that is not related to his or her studies, it may be possible to arrange with a student from another class to do the work for him in a class where the work is related to the course.
  23. Does NEIT supply repair parts?NEIT supplies repair parts for vehicles which NEIT provides for the students to work on. Students are responsible for purchasing their own repair parts if they are working on their own vehicle. There are several parts supplier in the area.
  24. Is there any state or federal licensing required in my field?No license is required for automotive technicians; students are, however, urged to take the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) test upon completion of their NEIT program. ASE certification shows your prospective employer that you are competent in diagnosing and repairing vehicle problems. ASE recognizes your 18 months of training at NEIT as equivalent to one year’s experience in the field toward certification. (Two years field experience is required.)
  25. What kind of jobs will I be qualified to look for?Upon completion of your automotive technical training, you will be employable as a technician in independent garages, dealerships, mass merchandisers, service stations, specialty shops, automotive parts stores and car rental agencies.Jobs range from entry level technician to owner/operator or manager. The U.S. Department of Labor occupational handbook predicts that job opportunities in the automotive field will grow at a faster than average rate with the greatest potential in the higher technologies. Competition for jobs will be keen and requirements will increasingly emphasize an applicant’s training and education. ASE certification greatly enhances your position.Due to the uniqueness of the automotive repair trade, students will not be limited to the automotive field when looking for a job. A qualified student will be able to pursue work in many other areas such as: auto parts stores, automotive machine shops, boat yards (marine engine repair), farm equipment repair and motorcycle repair.

Technical Standards

These technical standards, set forth by the Automotive/Auto body and Marine Technology Departments, establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to these programs to achieve the knowledge, skills and competencies to enter these fields. The successful student must possess the following skills and abilities or be able to demonstrate that they can complete the requirements of the program with or without reasonable accommodation, using some other combination of skills and abilities.

Cognitive Ability

  • Ability to obtain a score of 3 or higher on a ten-point scale mechanical reasoning test.
  • Ability to read and understand warning labels associated with various hazardous chemicals.
  • Ability to learn, remember and recall detailed information and to use it for problem solving.
  • Ability to deal with materials and problems such as organizing or reorganizing information.
  • Ability to use abstractions in specific concrete situations.
  • Ability to break information into its component parts.
  • Ability to understand spatial relationships.
  • Possession of basic math skills through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers and fractions using both the U.S. and Metric systems of measurement.
  • Ability to perform tasks by observing demonstrations.
  • Ability to perform tasks by following written instructions.
  • Ability to perform tasks following verbal instructions.
  • Possession of basic keyboarding skills and knowledge of computer programs.

Communications Skills

  • Ability to communicate effectively with faculty and students.
  • Ability to demonstrate and use the knowledge acquired during the classroom training process and in the lab setting.

Adaptive Ability

  • Ability to maintain emotional stability and the maturity necessary to interact with other members of the faculty and students in a responsible manner.

Physical Ability

  • An ability to work in a standing, sitting, squatting, kneeling, or lying position.
  • An ability to lift, lower, push, and pull using both arms and legs.
  • Ability to lift objects weighing up to 35 pounds.
  • Ability to stand on a hard surface, usually concrete, for 4-6 hours at a time.
  • Sufficient upper body strength to carry 20 pounds.
  • Sufficient strength and agility to lift equipment and move large pieces of equipment independently.
  • Sufficient strength and agility to grasp and maintain tension for long periods of time.
  • Ability to wear and tolerate ear plugs, safety glasses and other protective equipment.
  • Ability to perform learned skills, independently, with accuracy and completeness within reasonable time frames in accordance with procedures.

Manual Ability

  • Ability to manipulate wrenches, screwdrivers, and other tools.
  • Sufficient motor function and sensory abilities to participate effectively in the classroom laboratory.
  • Sufficient manual dexterity and motor coordination to coordinate hands, eyes and fingers in the operation of tools and other equipment.

Sensory Ability

  • Visual
    • Visual ability, with or without correction, to enable the student to differentiate automotive tools and instruments, wires, and components.
    • Acute enough to read small print.
    • Acute enough to read small numbers on precision measuring instruments.
  • Auditory
    • Acute enough to hear and understand words spoken by others in an environment with a high level of noise in the background (such as, but not limited to: air guns, engine noises, drills, radios etc.