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Automotive Schools in California

California roads may be some of the most crowded in the nation. The Golden State has the highest population of any state in the U.S. by a long shot, so naturally there are also more drivers than in any other state. In fact, there were over 24 million licensed drivers recorded in California in 2012, compared to Texas which came in second at 15 million licensed drivers. With all of those cars on the road, there is certainly a need for automotive technicians.

If you're considering a career in the auto industry, a great first step might be to enroll in one of the many automotive schools in California. Although automotive technician repairers and mechanics can learn their skills on the job, companies may prefer to hire employees who have completed a formal education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is because vehicles are becoming more technically complex, and training programs can help provide students with the diagnostic skills useful to working on both older and newer cars.

Specializations in automotive technology

There are many specialized programs that you might consider when enrolling in automotive schools in California. These can build upon existing programs or be offered separately. As cars become more equipped with computer technology, advanced skills and training may become even more essential. That said, some of the available specializations that you may find offered through automotive school programs in California include:

  • Automotive and Manual Transmission: Specialize in care and repair of transmission systems, and learn about transaxles.
  • Collision Repair and Finish: Learn about custom body and paint fundamentals and how to analyze structural damage.
  • Diesel: Learn about engine and fuel systems and other types of motorized equipment such as big rigs and farm equipment.
  • Marine: Discover how inboard gas and diesel engines operate and about their related maintenance and repair, as well as 2-stroke and 4-stroke outboard engines.
  • Motorcycle: Learn about vehicle maintenance, electrical testing, and the suspension and chassis on motorcycles.

Depending on which of the automotive schools in California you enroll in, you may also be able to take classes or complete programs related to specific manufacturers. For example, you might find niche training for vehicles made by companies, such as BMW, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, Toyota or others.

Degrees and certification available through automotive schools in California

Entry requirements for automotive school programs will vary, but they usually prefer students to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. There are many paths you can take, but most programs last from one to two years. Depending on the length and specific outline of the program you enroll in, you could end up completing a diploma, certificate or associate degree, the latter which generally takes about two years to complete. Common courses may include:

  • Brakes
  • Electronic Technology
  • Emission Systems
  • Engine Repair
  • Power and Performance

Automotive school programs in California can also help students to prepare for certification in the future. In fact, some schools may even state on their website pages what credentialing exams students may be eligible for. One of the well-known organizations offering certification is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), which offers credentials in eight different areas, ranging from brakes to engine repair to suspension and steering.

Automotive tech salary and career outlook

Jobs for automotive service technicians and mechanics are expected to grow by 15 percent in California from 2012 to 2022, according to Career One Stop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. This job growth could result in 2,590 new jobs becoming available in the state during this time. In fact, the job demand for the occupation in the state is higher than it is on average across the country, at 9 percent, according to Career One Stop.

According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for automotive tech and mechanics working in California was $43,220, as of May 2013. This breaks down to a mean hourly wage of $20.78. That's about $3,770 more than the mean annual wage for auto mechanics nationwide. The highest 10 percent of auto mechanics nationwide earned as much as $61,210 annually. Because job demand and mean annual wages in California are higher than nationwide figures, completing one of the automotive school programs in California could be advantageous. Keep in mind that an education can not only be helpful toward seeking ASE certification, but can also give you the opportunity to challenge yourself through postsecondary learning.


Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics: California, Career One Stop, Accessed Jan. 18, 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/49-3023.02

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm

Automotive Technician, San Bernardino Valley College, Accessed Jan. 18, 2015, http://www.valleycollege.edu/academic-career-programs/degrees-certificates/automotive-tech/automotive-tech-cert

Automotive Technician Training, UTI, Accessed Jan. 18, 2015, http://www.uti.edu/programs/automotive

May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, California, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm#00-0000

Tests, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, Accessed Jan. 18, 2015, https://www.ase.com/Tests.aspx

California Automotive Schools
This list also contains online schools that accept students from California
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Rancho Cucamonga: 9494 Haven Avenue Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

San Joaquin Valley College is an accredited private junior college committed to the professional success of its students and graduates. Founded in 1977, SJVC has campuses located throughout California-including an Online division and offers a variety of accelerated Certificate and Associate of Science degree programs in the business, medical and technical fields. Students benefit from a balance of classroom instruction and real-world experience, learning the skills they need to go straight to work in today’s competitive job market.

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Online: Online, CA

San Diego: 3870 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite 310 San Diego, CA 92123

Livermore: 2481 Constitution Drive Livermore, CA 94551

Gardena: 1515 W. 190th Gardena, CA 90248

Chula Vista: 2060 Otay Lakes Road Chula Vista, CA 91915

Lathrop: 17000 S. Harlan Road Lathrop, CA 95330

Beale AFB: 17849 16 Street Beale AFB, CA 95903

Ontario: 3110 E. Guasti Road Ontario, CA 91761

El Centro: 3095 N. Imperial Avenue Suite 101 El Centro, CA 92243

Lancaster: 1220 W. Avenue J Lancaster, CA 93534

Palm Desert: 75153 Merle Dr. Palm Desert, CA 92211

Salida: 5330 Pirrone Road Salida, CA 95368

Woodland Hills: 5955 DeSoto Ave Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Pasadena: 299 N. Euclid Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101

Murrieta: 25240 Hancock Avenue Murrieta, CA 92562

Costa Mesa: 3150 Bristol Street, Suite 100, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Bakersfield: 4900 California Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93309

Fresno: 45 East River Park Place West Suite 101 Fresno, CA 93720

San Marcos: 277 Rancheros Drive San Marcos, CA 92069

Fairfield: 5253 Business Center Drive Fairfield, CA 94534

Sacramento: 1760 Creekside Oaks Drive Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95833

San Bernardino: 451 E. Vanderbilt Way Suite 100 San Bernardino, CA 92408

Los Angeles: 14320 Firestone Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038

San Jose: 3590 N. First St San Jose, CA 95134

Oakland: 1200 Clay Street Oakland, CA 94612

Visalia: 301 East Acequia Ave Visalia, CA 93291

Diamond Bar: 1370 S. Valley Vista Dr. Diamond Bar, CA 91765

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North Hollywood: 5250 Lankershim Boulevard North Hollywood, CA 91601

Santa Monica: 2900 31st Street Santa Monica, CA 90405

San Diego: 7650 Mission Valley Rd San Diego, CA 92108

Sacramento: 2850 Gateway Oaks Drive Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95833

San Francisco: 1170 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102

Santa Ana: 3601 West Sunflower Avenue Santa Ana, CA 92704

Sunnyvale: 1120 Kifer Road Sunnyvale, CA 94086

San Bernardino: 674 East Brier Drive San Bernardino, CA 92408

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Alhambra: 1000 S. Fremont Ave. Alhambra, CA 91803

Oakland: 505 14th St. Oakland, CA 94612

Anaheim: 1900 S. State College Blvd. Suite 150 Anaheim, CA 92806

Palmdale: One 39115 Trade Center Dr. Ste. 100 Palmdale, CA 93551

Sherman Oaks: 15301 Ventura Blvd B-100 Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Fremont: 6600 Dumbarton Circle Fremont, CA 94555

Oxnard: 300 E. Esplanade Dr., Suite 100, Oxnard, CA 93036

San Diego: 2655 Camino Del Rio North Suite 201 San Diego, CA 92108

Bakersfield: 3000 Ming Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93304

Pomona: 901 Corporate Center Dr. Pomona, CA 91768

Colton: 1090 E Washington St Colton, CA 92324

Fresno: 7575 North Fresno St. Suite 575 Fresno, CA 93720

San Jose: 2160 Lundy Ave. Suite 250 San Jose, CA 95131

Long Beach: 3880 Kilroy Airport Way Long Beach, CA 90806

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