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Automotive Technology

Student working under car on lift

Automotive Technology - AAS-T

Choose this program to prepare for a rewarding career as an automotive service technician or mechanic. Occupational choices are extensive in this specialized field; you could work as an automatic transmission, brake, engine performance, or electrical specialist.

If you’re looking for a program that provides a wide range of high-demand skills you’ll use with employers such as automotive dealerships, auto rental companies, federal and local government repair shops, and fleet maintenance businesses, then check out Automotive at BTC!

The entry point for the Automotive Technology program is fall quarter. You must have a valid driver’s license and be insurable to enroll in this associate degree and certificate program.

To learn more about Bellingham Technical College programs you’re interested in, join us for a Virtual Program Info Session. Prior sign up is required. If you do not see an Info Session for the program you’re interested in, email outreach@btc.edu for more information.

Employment Information

78% BTC graduate placement rate

$34,798 starting annual wage
$46,675 average annual wage
$60,299 potential annual wage
  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Wages:
    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( esd.wa.gov) reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program admits students once a year, in the fall quarter.

Prior to registering for program classes, students are required to submit the following documentation to the Admissions Office:

  1. Copy of your valid Driver's License (with no restrictions due to driving offenses);
  2. Current complete 3-year driving record from Washington State DOL. This copy of your driving record will be kept on file for advising purposes only;
  3. Signed Core Program Entry Packet indicating that you understand program admissions requirements and industry hiring standards.
Important Program Notes:
  1. You are required to maintain a valid driver's license as long as you are enrolled in this program;
  2. Many employers, in this field, will only hire applicants who have a clean driving record;
  3. Driving records (abstracts) can be obtained for a fee. It is the responsibility of the applicant to pay for and order his/her driving records. You may obtain a copy of your current "Abstract of Driving Record" at your local Department of Licensing or by accessing the Washington State Department of Licensing;
  4. A renewed copy of your valid driver's license (with no restrictions due to driving offenses) will again be required at the start of your second year in the program;
  5. All General Education courses must be completed prior to the beginning of the 2nd year.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning. 

Program Application Form: Core Program Entry Packet

What are My Next Steps?

Classes

Total Program Credits: 133

  • Quarter 1

  • TRANS 101Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1015 CR
  • TRANS 102Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1025 CR
  • TRANS 103Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1035 CR
  • MATH& 107Math in Society5 CR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • AUTO 104Engines Light Mechanical7 CR
  • AUTO 105Engines Major Mechanical5 CR
  • AUTO 106Applied Engines Technology6 CR
  • AUTO 151Electricity/Electronics2 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • AUTO 107Brakes6 CR
  • AUTO 113HVAC4 CR
  • AUTO 122Basic Drive Train4 CR
  • AUTO 161Steering and Suspension6 CR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • Note: Five (5) credits from AAS-T Acceptable Transferrable Courses List in Humanities, Social Science or Natural Science.
  • Quarter 4

  • AUTO 219Field-Based Experience I12 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • AUTO 229Field-Based Experience II5 CR
  • AUTO 255Electricity/Electronics 27 CR
  • AUTO 265Engine Performance 23 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • AUTO 250Automatic Transmissions/Transaxles7 CR
  • AUTO 259Field-Based Experience III5 CR
  • AUTO 260Manual Transmission/Transaxle3 CR
  • Quarter 7

  • AUTO 275Engine Performance 311 CR
  • AUTO 279Field-Based Experience IV5 CR
  • See instructor regarding alternative options for AUTO 229, AUTO 259 and AUTO 279.
  • Electives

  • Electives15 CR
  • Requirement is to complete THREE of the Field-Based Experience or Shop Practicum classes listed below. NOTE: The Field-Based Experience courses are already reflected in the quarterly distribution of classes above.
  • AUTO 229Field-Based Experience II5 CR
  • AUTO 259Field-Based Experience III5 CR
  • AUTO 279Field-Based Experience IV5 CR
  • AUTO 291SHOP PRACTICUM 18 CR
  • AUTO 292SHOP PRACTICUM 28 CR
  • AUTO 293SHOP PRACTICUM 38 CR

Program Outcomes

After successfully completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Comply with personal and environmental safety practices specific to the automotive industry.
  • Evaluate and use technical information and testing procedures from a variety of sources to diagnose and repair various automotive system failures.
  • Perform maintenance and light repair common to the automotive industry.
  • Diagnose and repair common electrical and electronic system failures.
  • Perform diagnostics and repairs consistent with an entry-level automotive technician.
  • Communicate and document work performed using trade specific language.
  • Demonstrate positive work traits and excellent customer service skills as a member of a technical team.

Employment Outlook

About 78% of BTC Automotive students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual income in this field is $46,675, with an earning potential of about $60,299 per year.*

BTC’s General Automotive Repair and Vehicle Service Technician certificates prepare graduates to work in entry-level automotive positions like lubrication, tire, and muffler service positions.

Most program graduates work as automotive service technicians. In larger shops, positions have become increasingly specialized. Opportunities for specialty positions include automatic transmission specialist, brake specialist, engine performance specialist, front end specialist and electrical specialist.

Potential places of employment include automotive dealerships, independent service garages, federal and local government repair shops, rental industry, service stations, specialty shops, tire and service industry, and fleet maintenance.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Daniel Beeson
Daniel Beeson

Dan Beeson has been an Automotive Technology instructor at Bellingham Technical College since 1996. He has more than a decade of hands-on experience as an Automotive Technician and is currently an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician with an Advanced Engine Performance Specialist certification. <br /><br /> Dan received his apprenticeship training in the San Jose, California area and became a journeyman automotive technician in 1988. He worked primarily for GM dealerships in California and Washington, eventually reaching the level of Chevrolet Master Technician specializing in drivability, fuel injection, and electronics troubleshooting. In addition, Dan has worked as a trainer with Snap-On Training and Clark College.

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Certified Journeyman Automotive Technician - 1996

    ASE Master Automobile Technician - 1996

    WA Professional Technical Certification - 1996

    ASE Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certified - 1996

Photo of Paul Wallace
Paul Wallace