Automotive Technology

Student working under car on lift

Automotive Technology - Certificate - Vehicle Service Technician

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.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

82% BTC graduate placement rate1

$38,480 starting annual wage2
$49,587 average annual wage2
$61,922 potential annual wage2


  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (Washington State wage) and reflect 2015-2018 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

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 Industry Expectations form 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?

ACCUPLACER Classic (valid for 5 years from testing date):
  • Reading Comprehension score of 71 or RDG 085 with a grade of C or higher
  • Sentence Skills score of 71 or ENGL 092 with a grade of C or higher
  • Arithmetic score of 38 or MATH 090 or ABE 050 with a grade of C or higher
ACCUPLACER Next-Generation (starting January 23, 2019):
  • Reading score of 247 or RDG 085 with a grade of C or higher
  • Writing score of 245 or ENGL 092 with a grade of C or higher
  • Arithmetic score of 230 or MATH 090 or ABE 050 with a grade of C or higher

Program Application Form: Core Program Entry Packet

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 15

  • Quarter 1

  • TRANS 101Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1015 CR
  • TRANS 102Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1025 CR
  • TRANS 103Basic Transportation Service & Systems 1035 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

  • 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