Typical Course Descriptions

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When you contact a trade or technical school you will receive a catalog. Carefully read the course descriptions to determine if the school offers the subjects and covers the areas you are interested in learning about. Here are some typical skills you'll acquire at the schools that offer the AYES program (Automotive Youth Education Systems), a school-to-work program that begins in high school and continues through a post-high school program in cooperation with several car manufacturers and their dealerships, at colleges around the country.

Technical Skills

Engine Repair

  • general engine diagnosis, removal and reinstallation

  • cylinder head and valve train diagnosis and repair

  • engine block diagnosis and repair

  • lubrication and cooling systems diagnosis and repair
Automatic Transmission/Transaxles
  • general transmission and transaxle diagnosis

  • transmission and transaxle maintenance and adjustment

  • in-vehicle transmission and transaxle repair

  • off-vehicle transmission and transaxle repair
Manual Drivetrain/Axle
  • clutch diagnosis and repair

  • transmission diagnosis and repair

  • transaxle diagnosis and repair

  • drive and half-shaft universal and CV joint diagnosis and repair

  • rear axle diagnosis and repair

  • four-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive component diagnosis and repair Suspension/Steering

  • steering and suspension systems diagnosis and repair

  • wheel alignment diagnosis, adjustment, and repair

  • wheel and tire diagnosis and repair
  • hydraulic systems diagnosis and repair

  • drum brake diagnosis and repair

  • disk brake diagnosis and repair

  • power assist units diagnosis and repair

  • miscellaneous (wheel bearings, parking brakes, electrical, etc.) diagnosis and repair

  • anti-lock brake systems
Electrical/Electronic Systems
  • general electrical system diagnosis

  • battery diagnosis and service

  • starting system diagnosis and repair

  • charging system diagnosis and repair

  • lighting system diagnosis and repair

  • gauges, warning devices, driver information systems diagnosis and repair

  • horn and wiper/washer diagnosis and repair

  • accessories diagnosis and repair
Heating/Air Conditioning
  • a/c system diagnosis and repair

  • refrigeration system component diagnosis and repair

  • heating and engine cooling systems diagnosis and repair

  • operating systems and related controls diagnosis and repair

  • refrigerant recovery, recycling, and handling
Engine Performance
  • general engine diagnosis

  • computerized engine controls diagnosis and repair

  • ignition systems diagnosis and repair

  • fuel, air induction, and exhaust systems diagnosis and repair

  • emissions control systems diagnosis and repair

  • engine-related services
Employability Skills
  • effective self-motivation techniques

  • time management skills

  • stress management skills

  • communication skills

  • interpersonal skills

  • presentation of a favorable, businesslike image

  • team participation skills

  • standard business/social etiquette

  • ability to develop a resume and an employment portfolio

  • ability to complete a job application successfully and interview for a job
As you can see from the skill descriptions, it should be a simple matter to determine if a school offers the skills that you require. The courses are not the same from school to school, and you should take the time to select the one that most closely fits your expectations and objectives.


Of course, cost will be a major factor in deciding which trade or technical school to enroll in. Keep in mind that you are making an investment in your future and that money spent today can pay off in the future by helping you to land a higher paying job.

When requesting a catalog from a school, also ask for a schedule of fees for the course or courses in which you are interested. For example, costs at Prairie State College are $60 per credit hour. An A.A.S. degree program requires 45 hours; General Education requirements add 15 hours. Tuition for district residents is $3,600 a year. Other costs may include books, lab fees, out-of-district resident costs, and so on.


A prime source of advanced training in the automotive technology field is the community or junior college. One of the greatest advantages of community or junior colleges is that they often offer full-time day classes as well as evening and, occasionally, Saturday classes. For the person who cannot afford to go to school full-time, this can be a lifesaver. The student can pursue a full-time job and get an education during evenings and weekends. Many of the schools also offer intensive summer programs that enable the student to complete about a half of a semester of work in as little as eight or ten weeks.


Most community colleges have an open door policy, but preference is given to those who reside in the community that a particular college services. Out of district students do have an opportunity to enter the school, however, and should consult with the college itself or their high school guidance counselor.

Usually students seeking admission must supply grade transcripts from high school or verification of passing the GED tests. American College Test (ACT) scores are sometimes also requested. These scores are usually used for guidance and counseling and to help determine admission to some programs. Some colleges may require additional testing.

In general, the normal class load is from 12 to 17 credit hours. Anyone taking fewer than 12 hours is usually considered a part-time student. Part time students may take as little as one credit hour at many schools. A credit hour usually represents one 50-minute period of classwork per week or the equivalent in laboratories or other types of activities.


All colleges have set tuition prices that they charge their local students, and those from outside the community usually have to pay an additional premium. The best thing to do is contact the college or colleges of your choice and find out what the charges are. You may be expected to prove your residency. Other fees usually include an activity fee, application fees, graduation fees, and laboratory fees.

To help students meet their financial obligations, many schools have assistance programs that help the student find part-time or even full-time employment. You should check with the school's placement officer for assistance. If you can prove the need, you may be eligible for a grant such as a Basic Educational Opportunity Grant (BEOG) or perhaps a local state monetary award or grant. The college also may be able to help you get a loan that is guaranteed by the state or federal government. Some students may be able to take advantage of Veterans Administration (VA) benefits if they are veterans of the armed forces. If you think you may qualify for social security benefits or state vocational rehabilitation money, be sure to check into these possibilities.
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