The Road Ahead: Finding Automotive Technician Scholarships and Grants

When students invest money and time in a career, they expect it to support them through their working lives. Outsourcing and increased computerization have eliminated many good jobs that were available in the past, so a current challenge is to choose a field that offers long-lasting prospects. Automotive technology is one such field. A career in auto tech generally requires that students earn at least a diploma in the field before obtaining an entry-level job. Fortunately, there are a number of sources of scholarships and grants available for prospective automotive technicians who need financial aid.

A Career in Automotive Technology

The field of automotive technology has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, with high-tech systems now standard. The days when an auto mechanic learned repair skills under a shade tree from a friend or relative are pretty much in the past.

Nowadays, technicians must learn how to repair computerized systems, such as stability and traction control, GPS mapping, and voice recognition systems. Hybrid, electric and alternative fuel vehicles also require technicians with new skills. Auto technicians increasingly must have the kind of sophisticated training that only a laboratory setting, access to state-of-the-art tools, and professional instruction found in a college or vocational school can provide.

Following is some information on just some of the opportunities for financial aid available to students seeking a career in automotive technology.

Funding Your Auto Tech Training

You might think that most students seeking financial aid are pursuing a four-year curriculum. The fact is, it’s quite common these days for high school graduates in one-year and two-year job training programs to seek financial help through scholarships and grants.

Federal Grant Programs

Long-time federal programs welcome trade students seeking Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) that will lead to a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree in their vocation. Pell Grants do not need to be repaid if you successfully complete your coursework, which must be done within 12 semesters or six years.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Another governmental program being offered to vocational and tech students is the Sallie Mae Unmet Need Scholarship. The Sallie Mae Fund provides additional aid without trade school restrictions.

Educational benefits are also available to current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces through the GI Bill. Additionally, the State of Virginia offers some financial aid programs for undergraduates.

A number of scholarships and awards are available from organizations specific to the automotive profession, such as the Automotive Hall of Fame (for two-year programs). NATEF, an organization that tests and certifies automotive technicians, collaborates with the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) Scholarship Fund to provide several scholarships each year.

Other organizations that award scholarships for students in the automotive field are:

A general scholarship program for students seeking an associate’s degree is the Coca Cola Scholarship Foundation. High school seniors who are enrolling in an accredited program at a two-year trade or vocational school may compete for these merit-based awards.

The auto supply and repair chains, Carquest, and AutoZone, offer scholarships to help students enter the automotive technology field, as do many major automobile manufacturers. In addition, automotive manufacturers often partner with community colleges and trade schools to recruit students by way of underwriting their training, with the expectation the students will go to work for a dealership service shop or other entity owned by the manufacturer.

Auto Repair Training & Education

To become an automotive technician, your best bet is to enroll in a college program and pursue a diploma, followed by certification from a recognized industry organization, such as NATEF/ASE (National Automotive Technicians’ Education Foundation/Automotive Service Excellence). Students should expect to study diagnostic procedures and repair methods in both a classroom and laboratory setting, using modern test equipment and special tools, with hands-on training in a shop environment.

Among the courses you might enroll in to complete your auto tech training: basic gasoline engine, steering and alignment, brakes, drivelines, vehicle electrical and electronics, environmental comfort system, automotive diagnostics and fuels and advanced diagnostics and admissions. You can take additional courses leading to a two-year associate’s degree if you’re interested in transitioning to management.

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You could earn your diploma in Automotive Technology in as little as 55 weeks through Advanced Technology Institute. To learn more about the Automotive Technology with Service Management (AOS) diploma, contact us at 800-468-1093 or request information online today.

Automotive Tech Training School

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