Automotive Technology

Automotive Technology - AAS

If you’re interested in how cars and trucks run and how you can service and repair them, choose BTC’s automotive technician training program, which will help prepare you for top jobs in the automotive field.

Career choices are extensive in the field of automotive technology; you’ll be well-qualified for automotive technician or service technician jobs. Or you can work as a specialist in automatic transmission, brake, engine performance, or electrical systems. If you’re looking for an Automotive Technology associate degree program or certificate program that provides a wide range of high-demand skills sought by top employers (including automotive dealerships, auto rental companies, federal and local government repair shops, and fleet maintenance businesses), then check out the program at Bellingham Technical College.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

83% BTC graduate placement rate1

$37,918 starting annual wage2
$48,381 average annual wage2
$61,214 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 2017-18 and 2019-20. 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.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 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.

  • Estimated Program Costs

Tuition Fees and Rates overview page

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

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

Additional Requirements:

Prior to enrolling in program classes, students are required to submit the following documentation to the Admissions & Advising 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.

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 and internship providers 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 their 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) may 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 for assistance with academic planning.

Program Application Form: Core Program Entry Packet

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 123

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Quarter 1

  • AUTO 100Introduction to Automotive Technology8 CR
  • AUTO 102Introduction to Automotive Technology Lab4 CR
  • AUTO 113HVAC4 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • AUTO 150Engines6 CR
  • AUTO 151Electricity/Electronics2 CR
  • AUTO 152Engines Lab8 CR
  • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • AUTO 160Chassis Systems8 CR
  • AUTO 162Chassis Systems Lab8 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communication5 CR
  • Quarter 4

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

  • AUTO 220Electricity/Electronics 26 CR
  • AUTO 222Electricity/Electronics 2 Lab6 CR
  • AUTO 229Field-Based Experience II4 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • AUTO 230Transmission Systems8 CR
  • AUTO 232Transmission Systems Lab4 CR
  • AUTO 259Field-Based Experience III4 CR
  • Quarter 7

  • AUTO 279Field-Based Experience IV4 CR
  • AUTO 280Engine Performance4 CR
  • AUTO 282Engine Performance Lab6 CR
  • AUTO 290Alternative Energy and Emerging Technology2 CR
  • View past class requirements for this program.

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

Approximately 78% of students in the automotive technology program at Bellingham Technical College are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual income in the automotive technology 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 for entry-level jobs at muffler repair shops, tire stores, and oil change service centers.

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

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. 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

    Certificate, Certified Journeyman Automotive Technician

    Certificate, ASE Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certified

    Certificate, ASE Master Automobile Technician

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State


If you have questions about this program or want help with the admissions steps to Bellingham Technical College, please email

Current students wanting academic planning and support, can connect with the program Instructor(s) or email