Automotive Technology

This is the automotive department's project car. This car was built from the ground up by the SCC Automotive Association, a student club, as an extracurricular activity. The club members come from the automotive technology program, automotive collision and refinishing technician program, and the automotive machinist program.

The automotive technology program at SCC is one of the leaders in the industry in training students for a rewarding career in the automotive field. To find out more about our program and what it has to offer you, explore this site.

The automotive technology program is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and meets the requirements for Master Accreditation, the highest level of achievement recognized by NATEF.


Average Length of Program: 16-117 credits, 1-6 quarters
Completion Award: A.A.S. degree, certificate
Enrollment: Fall, winter, spring

The Automotive Technology program prepares the student for employment in many areas of the automotive field including dealerships, independent garages, fleet shops, service stations and specialty shops, which cover areas such as tune-ups and brakes. Students may enter the program in any of the first five quarters. The one-year certificate requires completion of any three quarters of the Automotive Technology program and the four related classes identified in footnote 1. This flexible schedule also enables students to receive short-term certificates while pursuing their degree.

Brakes and Suspension Certificate: This short-term certificate provides students with both theory and practical lab applications in automotive brake, suspension and hydraulic systems. Students gain experience in the diagnosis and repair of the following systems and components: master cylinder and hydraulic systems, drum and disc brakes, parking brakes, machining of brake drums and rotors, power brake units, and anti-lock brake systems.

Engine repair certificate: This short-term engine repair certificate program provides students with theory and operation fundamentals of engine diagnosis. Students gain practical shop experience in engine repair, inspection of cylinder heads, valve trains, engine blocks, and lubrication and cooling systems.

Electronics/Electrical Certificate: This short-term certificate program introduces students to basic electrical concepts including Ohm's law, magnetism, analog and digital meters, and test equipment. Students gain practical shop experience in the testing of such equipment as test lamps, voltmeters and ammeters. Hookup and testing of electronics and electrical components and circuits also are included.

Engine Performance/Air conditioning Certificate:This two-quarter certificate program emphasizes both engine performance and air conditioning systems and components. Content areas include ignition systems, fuel and exhaust/emissions systems, theory of carburetion and ignition systems. Students are introduced to heating and air conditioning systems and gain practical shop experience in their diagnosis and repair procedures.

Automotive Transmissions/Transaxles Certificate:This short-term certificate program introduces students to the theory and operation of both manual and automatic transmissions/transaxles, differential, drive line, and constant velocity joints, late model transmissions, and transaxles components.

Toyota T-TEN: Students interested in receiving special training in Toyota T-TEN (Technical Education Network) may substitute specialized courses specifically catering to Toyota T-TEN option.

Hybrid Cars: Spokane Community College is starting a Hybrid class in the automotive program. This is a 16-credit course. It will start winter quarter 2008 and can be taken after the completion of an A.A.S. degree or equivalent.

High Performance Cars: Spokane Community College has started a high performance class in the automotive program. This is a 16-credit course. It will be offered during summer quarter and can be taken after the completion of an A.A.S. degree or equivalent.

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  1. understand basic shop operation
  2. diagnose mechanical malfunctions and performance problems and make necessary repairs
  3. operate precision automotive diagnostic and repair equipment
  4. interpret repair manuals and computer-based programs dealing with specifications and repair procedures
  5. understand the importance of good public relations with customers, employer and fellow employees
  6. work with minimum supervision for or with a journeyman technician
  7. skillfully use tools and equipment

Career Opportunities in Automotive Technology

Most automotive technicians are employed by automobile dealers, independent automobile repair shops, specialty shops and fleets. Employment is expected to increase because of the expansion of the driving-age population, consumer purchasing power and multi-car ownership. All current automobiles are equipped with sophisticated computer controlled devices including ignition and braking systems, air bag, etc. which require highly technical skills.

Some potential Positions

  • automatic transmission specialist
  • salesperson
  • automotive technician
  • farm equipment technician
  • front end alignment technician
  • heavy equipment repair
  • parts department clerk
  • service station operator
  • heating and air conditioning specialist
  • engine performance technician
  • electrical/electronics specialist
Darrell Farris
Mechanix North
"We do all kinds of automotive and light truck repair. I like the challenge, the problem solving. There's nothing hum-drum about being a technician. The SCC program covers such a broad spectrum of the industry that you can pick an area to specialize in, or decide, like I did, to become an all-around technician. It's a real strong program. As a technician, you have to be willing to put out a lot of money in tools, but if you enjoy the challenge and are willing to buy the equipment, it's a great field."

Karen Shelley
Delivery Driver
Barton Jeep/Eagle
"My grandfather used to own a service station and I would pump gas and do oil changes in the summer while I was still in high school. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to try college, but I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed the way the SCC automotive program was set up and how the teachers were so willing to help. It's a good program. All the new technology makes this a very interesting field. At SCC they are very up -to-date, and learning the new stuff is very interesting."
Browse additional programs in the CCS Online Catalog.

What is this field like? (Click to open)

Automotive technology has taken quantum leaps forward in engineering. High tech designs now incorporate sophisticated electronics such as computer controls and on-board diagnostics. Graduates from SCC's automotive technology program will find themselves in a career that has more brain work than ever before. Even after technicians enter the job market, those who want top wages and a chance for advancement will continue to upgrade their skills through factory training programs and night classes taught at the community colleges. In return, young men and women entering this field will find a fantastic array of job opportunities. No matter what their interests-from accounting to advertising to machinery to mathematics-there are many opportunities.

What program does SCC offer?

SCC's automotive technology program is a six-quarter A.A.S. (associate in applied science) degree program. It prepares you for employment in many areas of the automotive field-including dealerships, independent garages, fleet shops, service stations and specialty shops. The goals of the program are to prepare individuals who can:

  • Understand basic shop operation
  • Diagnose mechanical malfunctions
  • Make replacement decisions about worn parts
  • Operate precision diagnostic and repair equipment
  • Read and interpret repair manuals
  • Understand the importance of good relationships with customers and co-workers
  • Be aware of costs and profits
  • Work with a minimum of supervision
  • Use tools and equipment skillfully

Students may start the program any fall, winter or spring quarter as openings are available.

What classes will I take?

In the first four quarters, students study automotive basics. They learn the fundamentals of brakes and front ends, automatic and standard transmissions, engines, front and rear wheel drive, fuel injection, emissions, electronic and electrical systems, and accessories. They also take related classes in math, first aid, technical writing, business computer use, arc welding, oxy-acetylene welding and leadership training. (Students may enroll in the Toyota T-Ten program after completing two quarters. If accepted, the rest of their training will be on Toyota-specific products.) the program's fifth and sixth quarters are advanced work, and students concentrate their studies in one or two of these areas:

  • engine performance and air conditioning
  • automatic transmissions, transaxles, suspension and brakes
  • engines and drive trains

In addition, advanced students study business skills, heating and air conditioning repair, tune up, electronic ignition, wheel alignment and balancing. A seventh quarter option-called service writer-is available for those interested in pursuing customer relations or management. Since second-year students work on cars owned by employees and students of CCS, they also learn shop management skills: making out job estimates, ordering parts, completing work orders and dealing with customers. During their final two quarters, they can enhance their education through on-the-job training opportunities. SCC offers evening classes for those presently employed in the industry.

Where will I get a job?

The automotive technology program provides basic skills for entry into a very broad field. There are positions as manufacturers' representatives, auto technicians (general and specialized), field service representatives, technical and catalog writers, inventory control managers and computer operators, as well as jobs in wholesaling/distribution. Graduates may advance to positions as shop foreman and lead technician, or with further education, automotive engineer. They may seek to own their own business, manage a dealership, write how-to automotive books, or break into the high performance industry.

How much will I make?

Entry-level pay for an untrained technician starts at minimum wage, but those equipped with an A.A.S. degree can expect $7 to $8 in the Spokane market-and can expect more and faster advancement. Experienced technicians in Spokane earn around $14 an hour. Pay scales also vary according to the technician's scores on standardized tests given by the Automotive Service Excellence program. SCC's automotive program prepares students for this series of eight tests which are offered twice a year and can be taken separately or all together. Certification in any of these eight areas-engine repair, engine performance, suspension and steering, brakes, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning-indicates to employers the individual's training level and ability.

For more information....
For more information:
Jeff Coffey, or
Ric Villalobos, Counselor
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
Counseling: (509) 533-7356 or 1-800-248-5644 ext. 7356
Jeff Coffey: (509) 533-8066
(509) 533-8802