Program Overview

Our Associate in Science in Automotive Technology degree will provide you with the theory of operation, design, and servicing techniques of the many systems and system components of today’s automobiles.

The New England Institute of Technology’s (NEIT) automotive technology associate degree exposes students to the latest industry standards, up-to-date diagnostic equipment, and an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) approved curriculum in its training program.

The associate degree in automotive technology is Master Certified by the National Automotive Technician’s Education Foundation (NATEF).

Some of the things you will learn with an expert during the degree in automotive technology are performing routine service and maintenance of vehicles, brake systems, electrical circuits, engine performance, steering systems, suspension, and more.

Work in state-of-the-art labs on real-life diagnostic situations, test and resolve malfunctions using the most modern equipment and software, and work alongside an experienced faculty. Such experiences and skills help you land a high-demand job in the industry after graduation.

After graduation, you can continue for a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with an Automotive Service/Transportation Management concentration.

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Full Description

The Automotive Technology Department at NEIT provides in-depth study and application of the most current trends in the automotive field.

The department offers four automotive associate degree programs:

  1. Automotive Technology
  2. Advanced Automotive Technology
  3. Automotive Technology with High Performance
  4. Advanced Automotive Technology with High Performance

While the basic structure of the two programs is similar, the advanced programs cover the automotive technology field concepts in greater depth.

Students learn the design, theory of operation, and servicing techniques of the many systems and system components of modern automobiles. They train in engine construction and design, engine repair, electricity, electronics, suspension, steering, brakes, transmissions, fuel systems, ignition systems, and emission controls for maximum learning.

Additionally, students get general education and training on air conditioning, drive trains, and transaxles.

The engine performance course covers computerized engine controls, fuel injection systems, tailpipe emissions diagnosis, and ABS braking systems. NEIT uses the latest industry standards, up-to-date diagnostic equipment, and an ASE-approved curriculum in its training program.

NEIT participates in the following programs for on-ground experience for the students:

  1. Ford Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) program: This includes the Ford Service Technician Specialty Training (STST) in electrical systems, climate control, brake systems, steering systems, suspension, tire, chassis, and maintenance.
    After graduation, students fulfill the requirements for the Ford MLR certification.
  2. Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) LOCAL curriculum, designed and developed by Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) Performance Institute -The curriculum has a range of online self-study and instructor-led courses.
    The LOCAL curriculum has two levels:

    • Level 0 provides the basics that every mechanical systems technician needs, including the role in a dealership, new vehicle preparation, FCA online systems, and the use of diagnostic scanning tools.
    • Level 1 includes complex courses such as engine performance and repair, automatic transmissions, drivelines, chassis systems, body systems, and electrical systems. Graduate students gain the qualification to work in Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram dealerships.
  3. Subaru University program: After the successful completion of this program, you will receive the level one Subaru technician certification.

These intensive programs prepare students for entry-to-industry-level technical capability and offer skills needed for rapid advancement.  Graduates of this program are eligible to continue for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with an Automotive Service/Transportation Management (MGTT) concentration.

Job Outlook in Rhode Island

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the total number of automotive service technician and mechanic jobs in 2020 was 703,800. It is set to grow by 2,100 over the next decade.

As of May 2021, Rhode Island employed 2,510 automotive service technicians and mechanics. Connecticut and Massachusetts employed 7,670 and 12,610 automotive service technicians and mechanics, respectively.

NEIT Campus that Offers the Associates Degree in Automotive Technology

The NEIT campus that offers the automotive technician associate program is the Access Road Campus, located at 110 Access Rd #65, Warwick, RI 02886.

License Requirements in Rhode Island

Rhode Island does not require automobile mechanics to hold a license to service and maintain vehicles. However, those who match these standards have higher career opportunities:

  1. ASE certification (Master Mechanic certification preferred).
  2. Work experience in Rhode Island as a parts specialist (2 years) or a service consultant (2 years).
  3. On-the-job training with local automotive dealers.
  4. OEM certifications (e.g., General Motors, Chrysler, Mercedes, BMW, Fiat, etc.).
  5. Automotive technology repair classroom training:
    1. Collision repair training.
    2. Repair technology courses, including diagnostic software.

Salary Data

The median pay for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $46,880 ($22.54 per hour) in 2021, making automotive technology a very rewarding career choice. Rhode Island had an annual mean wage of $48,380. The neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts had mean yearly wages of $50,550 and $53,340, respectively.


NEIT’s 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

The automotive industry continues to expand, with several exciting positions opening up often. Graduates can find work as:

Automotive Service Technician

Automotive Technician

Auto Mechanic

Automotive Parts Specialist

Glass Repairer

Distribution Manager

Shop Foreman


  • Is automotive technology a good career?

    Automotive service can lead to a promising career path, from repair workers, shop mechanics and more. The industry remains especially appealing for individuals who enjoy working with their hands and exercising their problem-solving abilities.

  • What is automotive technology?

    The term refers to the study of the mechanics and technologies propelling today’s moving vehicles. Certificate programs, associate degree programs and other college programs in automotive engineering technology typically focus on service and maintenance, heavy equipment, mechanical design, collision repair, safety facilities, heating and cooling systems, software solutions, and more.

  • What is a technical associate’s degree?

    A technical associate’s degree provides students with the academic education and technical skills needed for work in the field. NEIT fulfills this requirement by offering students both classroom learning and lab instruction.

  • What Individual Qualities Do I Need to Become an Automotive Technician?

    Apart from the necessary education, you need these skills to succeed as an automotive technician:

    1. Attention to detail – Car or truck mechanics must be detail-oriented while diagnosing the problem before repairing or servicing.
    2. Ability to diagnose – The technician should have the troubleshooting skills to detect problems with electrical systems, mechanical systems, wear-related issues, etc. Automotive technology students usually discover and fix issues during studies and on-the-job training.

    Good customer service – The best service technicians develop good personal relations with clients. While many technicians overlook this quality, it goes a long way in building connections and gaining trust.

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Related Programs

Program Mission, Goals, & Outcomes

Program Mission

Both the Automotive (AUT) and Advanced Automotive Technology (AAUT) programs aim to create entry-level employment as automotive technicians. Through the automotive service excellence approved curriculums, get employment in new vehicle automobile dealerships, independent automotive repair businesses, fleet service and repair centers, and car rental companies.

Students will gain the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain an Associate in Science degree through classroom and lab activities. This will enable them to pursue employment as an apprentice in the automotive repair industry. Students can also pursue advanced-level training programs and lay the foundation for future progression into a management discipline.

Program Goals

During the programs, students get hands-on experience with the industry standard equipment and facilities to achieve these goals:

  1. Students will 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 will experience theoretical and practical applications which will prepare them for entry-level jobs in the industry.
  3. Students will participate in peer learning lab activities that gather information using electronic and traditional methods. Using these methods, you can generate a comprehensive vehicle report and use it for repairs and communicate the diagnosis and repair needs to the customer.
  4. Students will gain professionalism and become lifelong learners. This helps them excel in the automotive industry.

Program Outcomes

Students successfully completing the Automotive or Advanced Automotive training programs will be able to:

  1. Perform basic automobile engine diagnosis with the help of vacuum testing, compression testing, and cylinder leakage testing.
  2. Prepare a cost estimate of the repairs needed in the vehicle.
  3. Practice safety while working electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical systems.
  4. Perform basic electrical system diagnosis and testing on vehicle lighting, starting and charging systems.
  5. Perform front-end and four-wheel vehicle alignments and repairs on vehicle suspension systems, utilizing the latest, state-of-the-art alignment equipment.
  6. Repair tires and wheels of all light vehicle categories.
  7. Perform drivability diagnosis and repairs to automobile fuel, ignition and emission systems.
  8. Diagnose and repair manual and automatic transmission shifting and resolve any vehicle performance issues.
  9. Recover, recycle, and recharge automotive air conditioning systems in accordance with EPA regulations.
  10. Diagnose and repair automotive engine cooling system issues and replace water pumps, thermostats accessory drive belts and other cooling system components.
  11. Perform automotive drum and disc brake system diagnosis, repairs, and replacement of parts by current industry standards for automobile service.

Courses Offered

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 a.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 eight liberal arts courses, which will be scheduled around your technical schedule over the course of your entire program. Each liberal arts course meets approximately four hours per week. Liberal arts courses are offered days, evenings, and Saturdays.At the beginning of each term you will receive a detailed schedule giving the exact time and location of all your classes. The College 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 a typical six-term curriculum, a student may complete the requirements in as little as 18 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. 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 considered 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 six terms necessary to complete your 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 programs, 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 Advance Automotive Technology with High Performance (AAHP) programs?
    AAUT and AAHP have a different number of terms. AAUT is a six term program and AAHP 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 six technical terms, each ten weeks long. To receive an associate degree, you will take a total of eight liberal arts courses which 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 are 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.
  26. As an AUT night student, will I be able to get an Advanced Automotive Associate Degree or an Advanced Automotive Degree with High Performance?If you wish to get an Advanced Automotive Associate Degree (AAUT) or Advanced Automotive Associate Degree with High Performance (AAHP) you will have to take AUT 259, AUT 260, TT 114 and all AAUT Electives during the day or evening (Welding and Internship could be done at night) at some point during your 18 months at NEIT.
  27. Must I attend classes during the summer 5-week intersession?
    Students who wish to receive a Bachelor Degree in Business Management, without transfer credits from another college, may need to complete two of their core electives during the summer intersession.

Technical Standards

These technical standards set forth by the Automotive/Autobody 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
  • 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: airguns, engine noises, drills, radios etc.).