10 Top Mechanic Schools and Automotive Colleges

April 11, 2010

You are a gearhead. Why not get paid big bucks for it?
You love the roar of the horsepower and smell of the rubber hitting the road. You would rather restore a rusted-out piece of you-know-what to it’s former glory than buy a car new.
You would tear apart a big-block V8 and see what makes it tick – than watch football for 8 hours on any given Sunday. You, my friend, should be doing what you love, and getting paid good top dollar for it.
The schools listed below may be just the ticket you need to take the next step and become a professional mechanic. Get real-world mechanic training in state-of-the-art shops from automotive instructors who know what they’re doing.Universal Technical Institute
Universal Technical Institute (UTI) offers the training you need for an exciting career as an Automotive, Diesel or Collision Repair & Refinishing technician in a little more than a year. With nine locations nationwide, manufacturer specific training for Audi, BMW, Ford FACT, International, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo, and the incredible high performance training at Hot Rod U, you need to take a look at what UTI has to offer.WyoTech
WyoTech is dedicated to superior quality, college-level, career-oriented education in the automotive, diesel, motorcycle, aviation, marine watercraft and collision/refinishing industries. Most WyoTech diploma programs can be completed in less than a year and a half, and there are seven WyoTech campuses located across the country. WyoTech prepares students for the post-graduation working world by teaching on a workday, not a school day schedule. Most students attend classes approximately eight hours a day, five days a week. This is real world technician training for Automotive, Motorcycle, Collision & Refinishing, Aviation, Diesel and Marine technology.NASCAR Technical Institute
Shift your training into high gear and let over a half a century of racing heritage work for you! NASCAR and UTI have teamed up to open the first-ever NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) – a training facility committed to high performance, not only on the track, but also in the classroom. Here you’ll receive a wide range of automotive technology courses to train you for a rewarding career as an entry-level automotive technician with the added boost of NASCAR-specific courses and a Ford FACT elective that revs up your training and delivers a fast-paced, well-rounded course of study.YTI Career Institute
Motorcycle popularity has become mainstream – proven by the increase in riders. With this growth comes the demand for skilled technicians for motorcycle repair and maintenance. At YTI Career Institute’s new Motorcycle Technology Center, you get real-world training in a 15,000 square foot facility which includes motorcycle diagnostic & test equipment – including a DynoJet ® 250i dynamometer – 16 fully equipped service bays, wireless Internet access throughout the campus and student laptop computers.Marine Mechanics Institute
The Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) provides real-world marine technician training programs to start your career in the marine industry. With support and/or endorsements from major marine manufacturers such as American Honda, American Suzuki, Mercury Marine, Volvo-Penta, SeaDoo, Polaris, Bombardier, Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA, and Yamaha Motor Corp. you can train to be a marine technician and launch your career in as little as 60 weeks.Baran Institute of Technology
Since our founding in 1979, Baran Institute of Technology has emphasized exciting hands-on training in our automotive technical programs and electrical technical programs. You get to work and learn on real projects — for practical knowledge you can use in the real world. Programs include auto body, automotive, CDL, diesel and motorcycle training.Nashville Auto Diesel College
Love cars and trucks? Get the technical training you need for a rewarding mechanic career at NADC. For over 80 years, Nashville Auto-Diesel College (NADC) has been providing students like you with the hands-on training they need to succeed. Career focused diploma and associates degree programs are available in diesel, collision and refinishing repair, and high performance technologies.Motorcycle Mechanics Institute
The Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) Motorcycle Technology programs provide the knowledge and skills you need to become a successful entry-level motorcycle technician. Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) has two great locations: Phoenix, Arizona or Orlando, Florida, each offering a wealth of exciting places to explore and enjoy with people who share your passion for motorcycles.Lincoln Technical Institute
Are you looking for hands-on training at a well-respected technical school? Since its founding as a post-war job skill training source in 1946, Lincoln Technical Institute has been helping people just like you achieve their goals in the skilled trades. With national accreditation, state licensing, career education and career placement expertise, Lincoln Tech knows what it takes to help give you the competitive edge you need to not only compete but be successful in today’s fast-paced marketplace.
Regardless of whether you’re still in high-school trying to figure out ‘what you want to be’ or a bit older and looking for a career change to get you out of your current dead-end job, a career in automotive mechanics may be the answer you are looking for. The top mechanic colleges listed above are the best in the business. Take a look at what they have to offer and decide for yourself. Good luck!

A Rare Blend of Opportunity and Timing: the Light Sport Aviation Mechanic

February 27, 2010

Someone once said, “Someday your whole life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”  

Along the same lines, I read somewhere that about half of all people don’t really like their jobs. And I thought, “What a waste of a life that is to get up every morning and do something that you really don’t like.” So it is exciting to work with people who sign up for the 3 week long- 120 hour Light Sport Repairman Maintenance Course to start their own business, usually as a second career.

There are few occasions when a great opportunity crosses our path, and it is rarely when the timing is just right. So with great enthusiasm that both timing and opportunity were merging,  Ted Finck signed up for Rainbow Aviation’s Light Sport  Repairman Course offered in November 2008.  

While the course itself is an incredible opportunity, Ted capitalized on the initial investment by adding the Powered Parachute and Weight shift modules. “These two modules just added a week to my trip, for a total of four weeks. But with the added ratings, I have tripled my customer base.”

But Ted went one step further, taking advantage of the opportunity to earn his Powered Parachute Instructor’s certificate at the same time. “It was a great opportunity. Morris Yoder and Lee Woodriff  were also taking the repairman course at the same time and are both powered parachute instructors. So we would train in the morning before class, in the evenings after class and on weekends. I took my practical exam with Morris Yoder on the last week of the course and left with not only my Repairman Maintenance Certificate for  airplane, weight shift and powered parachute and my Rotax repairman service level certification, but also my powered parachute instructor certificate.

Course participants comprise an incredible, diverse community, attending the course for a variety of reasons. Some owners take the course to maintain and inspect their own SLSA aircraft, some participants are already airframe and powerplant mechanics, others are aircraft manufacturers, and some are instructors who want to perform their own 100 hour inspections, but most, like Ted, are interested in starting their own full time or even part time business. And after participants earn their LSRM certificate their businesses comprise yet again an incredible, diverse community.

For example, Clyde Poser owner of Rule Aviation Services in Buckeye, WA is a retired airline captain. Clyde used the LSRM certificate as a stepping stone to earn his DAR authorization (designated aircraft representative), he then used his LSRM and DAR certificates to qualify to become a contract instructor for the 2 day Repairman courses. He also offers both powered parachute and weight shift flight instruction, so he gave flight lessons while attending the three week course in California. “There’s almost an advantage in some respects to waiting until mid-life to make a significant career change because often times,” Clyde explains,  “the experience you had in your previous career can be utilized and can benefit the next chapter in your life.”

As you might have guessed most participants have high expectations for their businesses.  Mike Zidziunas ( known as Mike Z.) is no different. Mike is a sport pilot instructor and realized early on that light sport was going to be the future of aviation so he earned his LSRM in August of 2006. “I was not prepared, however, for the incredible opportunities the certificate would offer.” And Mike is taking full advantage of those opportunities. He has opened a  Rotax Service Center, he works with manufacturers assembling SLSA aircraft and he plans to expand his business by becoming an  A & P mechanic. Maintenance is Mike’s primary focus and he will soon be able to include Amateur-Built aircraft inspections to the list of services he offers.

On the other hand, Aldo Sibi, who earned his LSRM in May of 2006, works full time for Indus Aircraft. He is the Manager and Director of Production and the head of Research and Development. He has made over 56 modifications to the Thorpedo design and has protyped and built the first Thorpedo Diesel engine/airframe combo. Like mIke, Alod is also in the process of becoming an A & P mechanic.

Roger Lee is retired from the Tucson Fire Department  has a business in Arizona , Roger’s LSA Service & Repair. Roger works on  all LSA aircraft, but he specializes on the Flight Design CT aircraft and the Rotax engines.  Roger works as a LSRM out of his truck. He also takes his mechanical skills on the road performing maintenance and inspections  at his customer’s location. “I didn’t want to go back to work full time, but there is enough work there to keep me plenty busy.”  Roger comments. Roger is able to keep his overhead down and his customers appreciate the lower rates. “This (work) is quite a bit different than being a firefighter because I haven’t had to do CPR on an engine, start an IV in the fuel line or defibrillator a carb.”

The FAA has created an incredible opportunity with the Light Sport Repairman Maintenance Course for an individual to start a new career or a homebased, low-cost business that is rewarding- not just financially- but personally.  Additionally, an individual can earn the certificate quickly- in just three weeks. This is incredible when you compare that to the 1900 hour requirement for an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. This powerful three week course is what entrepreneurship is all about: success.