Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced - Certificates of Proficiency


Program Description

The Automotive Technology Program curriculum is certified with the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF) and is designed to provide entry-level skills in the automotive mechanics field. Students learn to diagnose automotive problems in a practical hands-on shop environment, using state-of-the-art diagnostic and repair equipment. Upon completion of this program students will be qualified for a broad range of employment opportunities. 

Career Opportunities

The automotive industry employs more than 17,800 persons in the state of Washington.  There is a shortage of qualified journey-level workers. Studies show many employers are reluctant to hire trainees without on-the-job or live shop experience. Job prospects are best in high population centers. Some mechanics specialize in one aspect of repair work while others become technicians or general mechanics. Car dealers, garages, service stations, industrial plants, and public agencies are potential employers. See Automotive, Welding & Manufacturing  » Automotive for more career and employment information.

Beginning Automotive Technology Certificate leads to work in basic automotive maintenance; basic electrical; fuel systems.

Intermediate Automotive Technology Certificate leads to work as a Tune-up Technician or Entry-level Electrical Technician.

Advanced Automotive Technology Certificate leads to work as an Air-Conditioning Technician, Electrical Technician, Chassis Technician, or Advanced Engine Performance.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of the Automotive Technology Program, the successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze and provide diagnostic solutions to automotive repair projects
  • Apply effective communication skills as a team member by properly completing work order summaries containing the three “C’s” (complaint, cause, correction)
  • Interpret and apply mathematical equations used in the automotive industry
  • Apply the appropriate legal repair standards and technical practices while diagnosing and repairing customer-based cars
  • Critique their own ability to work effectively and collaboratively  in multi-disciplinary lab teams

In addition, students who complete the program will demonstrate the following skills standards specific to Automotive Technology:

  • Be proficient in the safe and proper use of automotive hand tools
  • Demonstrate the skills and knowledge in the use of modern shop diagnostic and repair equipment
  • Demonstrate the hands-on competency in the following NATEF task areas; automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train, steering and suspension systems, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, heating and air conditioning, engine performance and engine repair
  • Research applicable vehicle information using computer based service manuals
  • Demonstrate the ability to write a vehicle work order summary containing the three “C” (complaint, cause, correction)
  • Demonstrate the entry-level knowledge necessary to take the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) tests

Program Requirement

All 100 level Automotive courses must be completed with a “C” or better in order to enroll in 200 level Automotive courses.

Certificate Requirement

A Ceritificate of Proficiency in Beginning or Intermediate or Advanced or Certificate of Achievement in Engine in Automotive Technology will be awarded upon successful completion of the courses listed below.

Program Information

Admission:  Students are accepted into the Automotive Technology Program every quarter.

Length of Program: The Automotive Technology Program takes a minimum of two years of full-time studies for the Associate in Applied Science degree.  The beginning certificate can be completed in a minimum of two quarters leading to the intermediate certificate for an additional two quarters. Completing the advanced certificate will take the student an additional two quarters.

The engine certificate will take the student one additional quarter (summer).

Additional Costs: The required set of first year professional grade tools will typically cost $2,000 or more depending on the vendor.  Second year purchase of professional grade tools are highly recommended before graduation and can cost up to $3,000 or more. Books will cost approximately $800 for the two-year course.

Special Program Note: Students with previous automotive background or completion of high school automotive training can receive advanced placement credit for AUTO 100 and enroll directly into AUTO 111.  Students who have had no previous automotive training must enroll in AUTO 100 or have instructor’s permission.  Students may enroll in AUTO 100 and AUTO 111 concurrently.

The program is certified by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation.  For the technician in the field, single classes may be taken for update upon instructor approval.  For information during summer quarter please contact the Counseling/Career Center, (360) 596-5261.

Additional Program Information

Educational Plan

Certificates of Proficiency

Beginning Certificate
37 credits

AUTO100 Introduction to Automotive 5 Credits Search Schedule
Introduces basic engine systems design on most import and domestic automobiles, including green technology vehicles. Emphasizes use of automobile owner manuals, technical service information, computer based information systems, tools, shop safety practices, and OSHA regulations and procedures. Recommended concurrent enrollment with AUTO 110 if student intends to enroll in Automotive Technology program. Prerequisite: None.
AUTO111 Basic Electrical/Electronic Systems 16 Credits Search Schedule
Electrical and electronic systems theory, diagnosis, and service relating to modern import and domestic vehicles, including green technology. Covers in-depth application of Ohm's Law and Watt's Law. Shop electrical diagnostic equipment and tools are studied with emphasis on safety and setup. Prerequisite: "C" or better in AUTO 100 or instructor's permission.
AUTO120 Automotive Fuels and Ignition Systems 16 Credits Search Schedule
Fundamental knowledge and work experience in basic engine performance diagnostics, Ignition systems, fuel and fuel delivery systems as it relates to the modern automobile. This course was formerly known as AUTO 118 and 119. Prerequisite: AUTO 111 or instructor's permission.


Intermediate Certificate
32 credits
Intermediate Certificate Prerequisite: AUTO 111 or Automotive Placement Test

AUTO121 Automotive Steering,Suspension and Brake Systems 16 Credits Search Schedule
An in-depth study of modern, domestic and import vehicle steering, suspension and braking systems. We will emphasize on inspection, diagnosis, repair and adjustment of the steering and suspension and braking systems. Includes: complete hydraulic system and components, power assist, parking brake, anti-lock brake, electronic skid control systems, and hybrid vehicle regenerative brake components, use of ABS diagnostic scan tools, shop special service tools, and 4-wheel alignment equipment will be utilized. Emphasis will be placed on safety, setup and use. Extensive review of shop safety practices and proper equipment use will be done. This course was formerly known as AUTO 116 and 117. Prerequisite: AUTO 100 or instructor's permission.
AUTO220 Automotive Drivability and Emission 16 Credits Search Schedule
Continues the study of electronic control systems, the diagnostic process used to locate engine performance concerns, and procedures used to restore normal operation. Upon completion, students should be able to diagnose and repair complex engine performance concerns using appropriate test equipment and service information. Prerequisite: "C" or better in AUTO 100, AUTO 111, AUTO 121, and AUTO 122.


Advanced Certificate
32 credits
Advanced Certificate Prerequisite:  AUTO 220 or Automotive Placement Test

AUTO215 Automotive Heating and Air-Conditioning 8 Credits Search Schedule
Theory and application of automotive heating, air conditioning, and automatic temperature controlled systems as applied to modern import and domestic automobiles, including hybrid electric vehicles. Emphasis on using schematics, troubleshooting, diagnosis, and A/C safety precautions. Course is taught concurrently with AUTO 223. Prerequisite: "C" or better in AUTO 100, 111, 120 and 121 or instructor's permission.
AUTO221 Automotive Drive Trains 16 Credits Search Schedule
An in-depth study in the theory and operation of the complete drive train, including hybrid transmissions. Familiarize students with the tools and techniques necessary to properly maintain, diagnose, service, and repair automatic transmissions, automatic transaxles, torque converter, manual transmissions, manual transaxles and all related components. Prerequisite: "C" or better in AUTO 100, 111, 120 and 121 or instructor's permission.
AUTO223 Automotive Chassis and Accessory Circuits 8 Credits Search Schedule
Advanced study of the automotive chassis and accessory electrical circuits and related components. In-depth diagnosis, troubleshooting, and repair of electrical and electronic related problems encountered in the modern domestic and foreign automobile, including hybrid electric vehicles. Course is taught concurrently with AUTO 215. Prerequisite: "C" or better in AUTO 100, 111, 120 and 121 or instructor's permission.


Effective Catalog Year 2017-2018, Revised March 21, 2017