Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair
Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair courses prepare students for entry into the automotive service industry with an ASE Student Certification or for entry into another maintenance occupation dealing with automotive technologies. Students service automotive HVAC systems, engine performance systems, automatic and manual transmission and transaxle systems, and practice workplace soft skills. Upon completion of this program of study, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be a successful automotive service technician, have satisfied course requirements to meet the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) standards, and be prepared to pursue further study at a technology center or other postsecondary institution.
ASE Student Certification may be obtained any time during the third or fourth level course. No work requirements are necessary to sit for the exam. Additionally, students completing the MLR program of study through a NATEF-certified program may receive work experience to count toward the requirements for ASE Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification (G1). With additional work experience outside the classroom, students could obtain the G1 certification at the completion of the program of study. Students may gain job experience while still in high school through local and CTSO competitions and work-based learning. Dual credit/dual enrollments opportunities may be established with local postsecondary institutions.
The TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects 520 average annual openings for automotive service technicians and mechanics due to growth and replacement from 2014 to 2024 with a total of 16,840 employed in the group in TN in 2024. This reflects an 8 percent change in the occupation group in Tennessee. Nationally, the growth rate is a little lower with a 5% change predicted. Median annual salaries in 2016 for automotive service technicians and mechanics in TN was $38,190. Additionally, 150 annual average openings are projected for tire repairers and changers who had an annual median wage of $31,360 in 2016.
Openings for automotive service technicians are available across the state with greater concentrations in urban and surrounding areas. The outlook for automotive service technicians and tire repairers and changers statewide is very competitive. Although the growth rates are positive, there were more training completers in recent years than job openings expected.
Related occupations requiring associates or bachelor’s degrees include mechanical and electrical engineers and technicians. The TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects 195 annual average openings for mechanical engineers and 35 annual average openings for mechanical engineering technicians. These engineers may find opportunity in the growing automotive manufacturing industry in Tennessee. A recent study by the Brookings Institution found that Tennessee has more than 900 automotive-related manufacturers. In fact, most Tennessee counties have at least one automotive-related manufacturer (80 out of 95).
Upon completion of this program of study, students will be prepared to enter the workforce or to further their training at postsecondary institutions. Although a high school diploma is typically the minimum requirement for an automotive service technician, some employers may prefer mechanics with training from a postsecondary institution. Automotive Technology programs are available at technical and community colleges across Tennessee. Long term on-the-job training is essential for an individual to become fully qualified in the occupation.
Students who are interested in pursuing related study in a four year university may seek bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering. In response to the large automotive manufacturing presence in Tennessee, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has proposed a graduate concentration in Automotive Manufacturing Simulation and Design in Mechanical Engineering.