Universal Technical Institute

I watch too much late night television, on channels where Universal Technical Institute runs commercials to attract students for their auto maintenance courses.

Any of you pros have experience with UTI? I’m wondering what percentage of their graduates actually do get jobs as auto mechanics and what the quality of their courses is.

IMHO the most critical question is whether their program culminates in the taking of the ASE exams and what percentage of their students pass. That patch is the thing that tells shops that you’ve been assessed by a nationally recognized third party accrediting agency.

NOTE: when you enquire you’ll probably be told that no school can give the ASE tests legally. That’s true. It’s also true that no law school can give the bar exam legally. But that doesn’t lessen the importance of a law schools focusing their program on successfully passing the bar exam. In the case of the ASE exam, any school with a serious program will provide the ASE with the facilities and resources to perform the examination right on site at the end of the school’s educational program.

These are the things you need to look at with ANY school you consider, including UTI.

I’ve never attended a place like that but based on what I’ve seen and heard they’re a diploma mill more than anything else. A lot of people leave there owing a fortune in student loan debt.
Several reasons why they’re extremely suspect.

  1. I’ve worked with several graduates of UTI, Wyotech, etc. Neither one barely knew where to start a diagnosis even with the simplest of complaints.

  2. Some car dealers are involved by being on the board of directors. That presents a conflict of interest. In a nutshell, they’re manufacturing future gullible employees.

3.They’re publicly held so this means the end game is profit generation for the shareholders first and foremost. Recruitment of warm bodies and playing the student loan game is the priority.

  1. Last and not least. I caught the tail end of one of their half hour infomercials one weekend a few years back. They were touting the great benefits and pay available to graduates. A bulletin board at their facility was shown and the biggest ad on that board was a large poster promoting mechanic job openings at a very large dealer whom I will not name.

That ad touted great benefits, great working conditions, great pay, and a “5000 dollar sign-on bonus”.
I worked for that dealer and I can assure you that not a single word of that ad is true. As to that sign-on bonus, no one has ever at any time gotten a bonus there; not even 50 dollars much less 5 grand.

These are for-profit technical institutes.

You’re better off going to local technical institute to get the same training.


Thanks, guys. I suspected they were a diploma mill but didn’t want to assume.

Not to worry, I’m not considering going back to school. Just curious. :wink:

Looks like the average cost is about $30K with almost all students leaving with $20K or more Federal student loan debt (per their web site).

I agree 100% with @‌ok4450

When I was at the dealership, a bunch of these UTI graduates started getting hired. Eventually, only UTI graduates were hired.

These guys showed up, owing a ton of money, and they had to sign a 1 year contract with the dealership.

The UTI recruiters apparently lied to them, and told them they’d be earning 100K . . . Ha ha ha

The only way you’re doing that . . .

High hourly rate
Flag lots of hours every day
Drink lots of Red Bull, 5 hour energy, Mountain Dew, Jolt cola, etc.
Super high efficiency
No warranty work
No goodwill work
Only customer pay work
No mistakes
The dealer always has plenty of work
No customers wasting your time with chit chat
No "problem cars"
No diagnostic challenges
No timekeepers jerking your chain and shortchanging you
I’m sure I left out some stuff . . .

Only if you can answer yes to all of the above, do you have a chance of earning 100K

Many of these guys left soon after their one year obligation was up, because they realized they’d been played for fools

Some of them stuck around . . . these were usually the extremely sharp guys and the really hard workers.

Some of these guys showed up with no skills, but they had a good attitude about it. The willing ones said “Boss, show me how to do it” and/or “Boss, can you explain how this works”

The “dumb” ones just did what they were told and didn’t care about the hows and whys

So where does a wannabe mechanic get the best training for the lowest cost? Tested mentioned local technical institutes.

I would suggest your local community college

There’s some pretty good stuff on this website


Work with someone who’s actually a mechanic?

Or? Technician?


What I would love to see and hear is some UTI instructor answering the following question as posed by a student.

“If a newly minted UTI mechanic such as myself can earn anywhere near a 100 grand as you claim then why are you, the mechanically astute mechanic instructor, standing in front of us teaching for a salary nowhere near a 100k a year?”.

Instructor’s answer: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.” :wink:

And I say that tongue in cheek, coming as I do from a whole family of teachers. My dad taught at a private school, and he definitely never made $100k. Maybe he should have tried auto mechanic school. :slight_smile:

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.”

Or, to take it one step further, as Woody Allen said:
“Those who can, do.
Those who can’t, teach.
And those who can’t teach, teach physical education”

But, to return to the original question, all you need to know about UTI is what those initials stand for in the medical field. If you name your educational institution after a Urinary Tract Infection, can anything good result from it?

Another issue I have with places like UTI is the heavy promotion of the idea that when the course is over and the certificate is doled out the graduate will be a competent, qualified mechanic.
A few may well be but how long they last is up for debate once they receive a large taste of flat rate reality and it’s discovered “they didn’t say anything about that in school…”.

There also has to be an inner desire to solve problems and somewhat of an inherent knack for the field.
One of those guys went to work for us one time and he was horrible to be around. I have no objection to heavy metal music but don’t find blowing the cones out of the speakers as being conducive to a pleasant work environment.
That guy could also not change wiper blades or perform a simple engine oil change without screaming and cursing the entire time.

Thankfully the service manager had enough by finally removing the obnoxious shop radio. The screaming and cursing was then highlighted with the radio gone so thankfully the service manager removed the second part of this noisy equation. :slight_smile:

"If a newly minted UTI mechanic such as myself can earn anywhere near a 100 grand as you claim then why are you, the mechanically astute mechanic instructor, standing in front of us teaching for a salary nowhere near a 100k a year?".

There are a lot of college professors who LOVE to teach…and are brilliant. And they make no where near what they could in industry. Especially in fields like Computer Science or many of the engineering fields. Only the Top schools - do the professors make some real money. MIT computer science professor can make well over 100k a year. Professor teaching the same courses at UMass Lowell (which is a pretty decent school) makes about $50k.

I have no experience with these Auto tech schools and how good their students are. But I have interviewed several candidates from University of Phoenix (the biggest for profit school in the country)…and all the candidates I interviewed were totally worthless. One was at the top of his class. He was well behind even a kid who graduated from UNH with a C average.

As a hiring manager I do have positions for junior engineers. I can’t just hire someone off the street and HOPE they’ll be able to do the work. That’s why I hire college graduates from decent colleges. Doesn’t have to be MIT or Harvard. UNH, BU, UMass Lowell are all decent universities. At least if they graduate from a decent university there’s a higher probability they’ll be able to handle the work and training our company offers. Some can come in and start working immediately, while others need a little training. We have a 3 month incubation period…in that 3 month period if we feel they’re aren’t working out…we let them go.

Speaking of round pegs in square holes…it’s too bad that high schools don’t give seniors aptitude tests and suggest appropriate career fields. It seems many young people leave school with no idea what type of work they are suited for.

it's too bad that high schools don't give seniors aptitude tests and suggest appropriate career fields

They do. In fact there are several tests and placement guides to help the students.

Hmmm. I wonder if it depends on the state. Here in MA my friend’s daughter recently graduated high school with apparently no aptitude testing and little or no guidance counseling and is floundering in college because she has no idea of her own aptitudes and what aptitudes various career paths require.

Even though I live in NH…my three kids all went to private college prep schools in MA…and all were given career tests. Maybe because it was a private school…but the tests do exist.

Those career-based aptitude tests do still exist, but the sad reality is that most public schools have had to drop them as a result of two factors, namely inadequate funding and the emphasis on achievement testing at almost every grade level.

When I began my career as a HS educator, we administered a career-based test to students in 10th grade. However, once government-mandated achievement testing grew and grew, the career testing was dropped.

By the time that I retired, I had to devote over 30 days each year to achievement testing, re-testing, and make-up testing for absentees. When you consider that a typical school month has only ~20 instructional days, having to devote over 30 days per year to the task of testing puts severe constraints on everything else that you want to do with your students.

Luckily, I had a very good relationship with the local military recruiters, and as a result I was able to get them to come in once each year to administer the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). While the test results are geared toward military job titles, a skilled test score interpreter can explain to a student how those results translate to civilian job titles as well. We had to administer the test after school–on my unpaid time as well as on the “off time” of the students who took it–but at least we knew that the students to whom we administered the ASVAB were serious about taking that test.