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School for auto mechanic

Hi,



My son is 19 years old and is interested in a career as a mechanic. Can anyone recommend a school or program in Massachusetts? Thanks for your help!

What part of Massachusettes?

Nashua Community College, just over the border, has an excellent program. He’ll get a fully accredited associate’s degree and take the ASE exams at the end of the program. Check it out.

I went to Franklin Institute of Boston years ago through their 2-year auto mechanics program. The program is setup to spend one week in class, followed by a week in the shop/lab/garage - and keep alternating back and forth for two years.

It was a great school then and based on my conversations with recent grads, it’s still top notch.

Update: I just looked at the Nashua Community College program that Mountainbike suggested. The curriculum they offer looks similar to what I took at Franklin. I’d suggest checking out both schools.

Thank you for the information!

Speaking as a former high school counselor, I strongly recommend the programs based at the public community colleges. Many of them are affiliated with major car makers, such as Ford, GM, and Toyota, thus allowing the students to get both general automotive training as well as training specific to the manufacturer affiliated with that particular college.

The students are given part-time apprenticeship jobs (for pay, naturally) at a local dealership while they are students, and graduates are almost always hired by a dealership right after they finish their degree program --either the dealership at which they apprenticed or another one selling the same make of car.

Beware of programs run by Lincoln Tech! They are extremely expensive and I heard nothing but complaints from my former students who had gone there (against my recommendation). They told stories of over-subscribed, overcrowded classes (“Today you can look over someone’s shoulder, tomorrow you can swing a wrench while the other guy watches you”), tool shortages, outdated electronic equipment, and uninspired/uninspiring instructors.

They paid far more for their training than the students who went to the local community college, got less out of it–including no degree, and frequently had a much harder time finding a job after graduation.

Right. A bit of added info…

Community colleges will often have two simultaneous automotive programs,

one sponsored by a manufacturer (Nashua CC has Honda, Manchester has Ford, Stratham has Toyota, etc.) that includes as a part of the program internships. The manufacturer-specific program requires sponsorship by a dealer, and utilizes cars and specialized equipment provided by the manufacturer.

The second will be a program requiring no sponsorship. It’s “full-blown” also and also shares the equipment and shop.

In the Nashua CC program they have a large bay building complete with multiple lifts, the latest in alignment, balancing, and diagnostic gear, an engine rebuild room, a tranny rebuild room, and even a frame alignment table (for the collision repair degree program). Everything a young man could ask for. Once they clear the ASE exams, many of the graduates go to work making more than the instructors…

Mountainbike is correct. Almost always, these 2 year county-based programs come in two tracks–manufacturer-sponsored, and non-sponsored. The equipment that I have seen at the programs in NJ was state-of-the-art, and these training programs are an incredible value for the relatively low tuition fees.

As MB stated, the young guys (and sometimes girls) who successfully complete these programs wind up with very nice starting salaries. At one point (this was perhaps 10 years ago), Ford was even giving them a free Focus to join their team after graduation!

Thank you very much for your detailed answer,it was very helpful and my son was very interested in your information.

One of the best plans ever put together was BMW’s step student program. Due to todays economic climate BMW has stopped the program as the graduates were not finding jobs upon graduation.

Make sure your info about schools and the demand for graduates is as up to date as possible. Things are not the same today as they were even 5 years ago.

Plenty of schools will take you and train you (and charge you) but don’t expect the open arms from Dealerships that used to exist.

Independants look upon automotive school graduates with much scorn,they must prove themselves. the Dealer must fill so many slots with people with certain levels of training,thats why the credentials are important to Dealers. trouble is not so many open spots at Dealers today.

Thank you for making some very valid points!

All post-secondary schools and colleges are required to collect statistics on the percentage of graduates who found work within 6 months of graduation.

The problem with this is that some of the schools will include graduates who trained for a specific career, but who took a job within 6 months in an entirely different field of endeavor–thus making the quality of their career training questionable. If you trained as an auto repair technician, but wound up doing landscaping work, that does not represent a good expenditure of money on education.

The statistic that you can ask to see (and they all have this information, but may not volunteer it) is the percentage of graduates who found employment in the career for which they trained, within 6 months. This will filter out the schools whose graduates wound up as K-Mart cashiers, despite having paid perhaps $20,000 for their auto technician training at a private (for profit) career school.

Trust me–the stories that I could tell about some of those career schools would curl your hair.

Not to be a downer, but most every Harvard on the Hill is accredited. Also even after 2 years of school, your son will need a year of work experience to be ASE certified.