What is Automotive Technology?

June 25, 2020

Have you ever wondered more about what helps propel a vehicle forward? Do the mechanics, electronics and additional systems involved in car function leave you fascinated? Then a career in automotive technology might be for you!

Read on for more information on what automotive technology really means, what kind of education it entails, and the different kinds of careers the field has to offer!

Automotive Technology: The Basics

what is automotive technology

What is automotive technology, you may ask? Simply put, automotive technology refers to the study of self-propelled vehicles or machines. That applies to standard automobiles, sports cars, tractor-trailers, marine vehicles and more.

Members of the field will have developed skills related to engine construction, fuel and ignition, brakes, power trains, electronic and diagnostic equipment and more.

Remember, any major technological advancement the automobile industry has enjoyed can be traced back to the study of automotive technology. That umbrella covers areas including automatic windows, electronic ignition, adaptive cruise control and more!

Available Degrees in Automotive Technology

While it is possible to begin working in automotive technology without a degree, the discipline is becoming more sophisticated by the day.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers prefer automotive technicians to complete a program at a post-secondary institution.

Industry certification is usually required. A degree in automotive technology would help prospective employees develop critical skills and provide them with valuable hands-on experience in the field.

Check out the information below on the different kinds of degrees and certifications available in automotive technology. Ensure your chances of landing a great job with a competitive salary today!

Associate Degree in Automotive Technology

An associate degree in automotive technology is a two-year program where you will earn roughly 60 credits. Prerequisites typically revolve around a high school diploma and a minimum GPA, though this may vary across institutions.

You can expect the associate degree to primarily focus on introductory education on repair, maintenance, transmission, suspensions and more. Hands-on learning will likely prepare for work in the service, maintenance, repair or manufacturing level.


Earn your degree in Automotive Technology from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology

A bachelor degree in automotive technology is a four year program where you will earn 120 credits. The degree will cover everything learned during the associate degree and more.

The idea is to prepare students for management and leadership opportunities in the field. Practical skills will be developed and opportunities to explore the research and technologies lending to automotive innovations will be presented.

It is worth noting that not every school will offer a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology, as many employees find an associate level degree or certification sufficient to begin work.

Those who are able to honor the time commitment involved and are looking to land a leadership position in the field or explore research and development should consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology.

Master’s Degree in Automotive Technology

The master’s degree in Automotive Technology is less common than the bachelor’s degree and should be reserved for those who wish to develop expertise in certain specialities and concentrations.


Certifications in automotive technology typically function as a substitute for a supplement to an associate degree. Entry-level positions are attainable with this type of education.

Program length can range in length from 6 months to 2 years, and from 21 to 52 credit hours. Tuition will also vary, ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 per year.

This option may not appeal to you if you’re looking to advance your skills and knowledge with a bachelor’s degree.

You can refer to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence for more information on certificate programs. They outline over 40 categories of certification for automotive service technicians.

You can also check out this guide to find a school for automotive technology near you.

Career Opportunities

The study of automotive technologies can introduce you to a number of different careers, from diesel and collision repair to machine operator, mechanic, automotive technician and much more. Check out some more opportunities for automotive technicians below:

  • Automotive Service Technician
  • Collision Repair Technician
  • Generation Technician
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanic
  • Light Wheel Mechanic
  • Trailer Mechanic
  • Shop Mechanic
  • Shop Foreman
  • Parts Manager
  • Quality Control Inspector
  • Operation Supervisor
  • Tow Truck Driver

Other fields related to a degree in automotive technology include:

  • Automotive Repair
  • Automotive Mechanics
  • Avionics Maintenance
  • Diesel Mechanics
  • Electromagnetic Engineering Technology
  • Hydraulics & Fluid Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology

The following industries are often in need of the services an automotive technician provides, including regular service and maintenance:

  • Manufacturing
  • Government
  • Hospitality
  • Fire Departments

Automotive Technology Job Outlook

The automotive industry has experienced some major technological advancements since 2000, when the first hybrid car was presented. We’ve since been introduced to Bluetooth, automatic parking, reversing cameras, the Tesla autopilot and more.

To be sure, industry shows no sign of slowing down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics holds that some 46,000 technicians and mechanics will be called on to fill roles through 2026, with job prospects on the rise through 2028.

While today’s median salary hovers around $40,000, there are reports of top-level technicians in the field earning upwards of $100,000 a year. This kind of “master mechanic” status can be achieved with just five years of experience.

Don’t let the idea of competition discourage you from pursuing a degree in automotive technology.

With baby boomers aging out of the workforce and more individuals pursuing four-years degrees and jobs outside of the industry, there is an incredibly high demand for skilled automotive technicians who can help keep up with the different tech and trends coming our way.

These exciting developments largely revolve around predictive automobile technology. By this, we mean ways to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning into the driving experience.

Other high-tech introductions include autonomous vehicles, or self driving cars, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, bio metric seat technology for more secure access, automatic high-beam control, backup cameras, smart home integration, child safety technology and more.

Pursue Your Degree at The New England Institute of Technology

New England Institute of Technology
New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

NEIT has been rated among the best institutions to receive a degree in automotive technology.

We offer four automotive associate degree programs: Automotive Technology and Advanced Automotive Technology, Automotive Technology with High Performance and Advanced Automotive Technology with High Performance.


Earn your degree in Automotive Technology from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



Though all our programs cover the same core topics, the Advanced Automotive Technology degrees include more in-depth study.

These curriculum revolve around the theory of operation and service techniques attached to the systems and system components of today’s automobiles.

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

Advanced training in air conditioning, drive trains, and trans-axles are offered as well. We also provide a final engine performance course, which 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 Automotive Service Excellence approved curriculum in its training program.

Our campus is home to several technical training and research centers, including the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. We also offer internships and practical experience to provide students with a more seamless transition into the workforce.

We participate in the Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) LOCAL curriculum, designed and developed by Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) Performance Institute.

The curriculum includes a variety of self-study web-based and instructor-led courses. The first phase of the program introduces the basics of automotive technology, from new vehicle prep, FCA online systems and the use of diagnostic scan tools.

The second phase covers more complex topics to prepare students for entry-to-industry-level positions across the field.

Pro Tip – How to get ASE Certification

NEIT’s Automotive Technology program is Master-Certified by the National Automotive Technician’s Education Foundation (NATEF).

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Apply to our automotive program and graduate in less than 2 years.