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Automotive Technology | Auto Career Education | College of Marin

Career Options

Depending on the certificate (or degree) you earn, typical positions include:

  • Auto Mechanic
  • Auto Service Technician
  • Brake Specialist
  • Computer Systems Specialist
  • Diagnostician Specialist
  • Electrical Repair Specialist
  • Emission Control Systems Specialist
  • Front End Specialist
  • Fuel Injection Specialist
  • Mechanic
  • Parts Salesperson
  • Service Manager
  • Transmission Specialist
  • Tune-Up Specialist

Career Profile

Experienced mechanics with leadership ability sometimes advance to shop supervisor or service manager. Those who work well with customers may become service estimators or open their own repair shops. Automotive Technicians/Mechanics:

  • Usually specialize in an area of repair.
  • Use a variety of tools and techniques.
  • Are sometimes self-employed.
  • Diagnose problems and recreate problems by test driving cars.
  • Look at a car’s computer for a trouble code and look the code up on your computer.
  • Make sure cars meet emissions standards.
  • Keep up with new technology, such as in-car Internet access.

Plan your Education

View the classes you need to take to complete your certificate or degree in Auto Technology at College of Marin.

Available Certificates and Degrees

Certificate of Achievement, Master Auto Repair Technician – 58.5 units

  • Time to Complete: Can be done in 6 semesters.
  • Estimated Cost: $2,961 in tuition and fees.

Certificate of Achievement, Auto Chassis and Drivetrain Specialist – 21 units

  • Time to Complete: Can be done in 3 semesters.
  • Estimated Cost: $1,128.

Certificate of Achievement, Auto Electronics Specialist – 32.5 units

  • Time to Complete: Can be done in 3 semesters.
  • Estimated Cost: $1,657 in tuition and fees.

Certificate of Achievement, Auto Emissions/Performance Specialist – 32.5 units

  • Time to Complete: Can be done in 2-3 semesters.
  • Estimated Cost: $1,657.

Certificate of Achievement, Advanced Transportation Technology – 18.5 units

  • Time to Complete: Can be done in 2 semesters.
  • Estimated Cost: $985.

Associate Degree, Master Repair Technician – 58.5 units + general education requirements

  • Time to Complete: Two years for full-time students.
  • Transferable to the California State University.

Also note that having your own tools will be required when you enter the workforce. See FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Why College of Marin?

  • State-of-the-Art Automotive Facility: College of Marin has over $9 million invested in providing the most up-to-date training environment.
  • High-Quality Instruction for High Wage Industries: CTE programs at College of Marin prepare students for high-wage and high-demand careers at a fraction of the expense of private programs. Our instructors are highly experienced industry professionals recognized as experts in their respective fields who understand their industry’s needs and trends. Our graduates enter the workforce with comprehensive work skills and the ability to be innovative critical thinkers.
  • Affordable and Accessible: College of Marin classes are open to all and cost only $46 per unit for California residents. Financial aid and student support services are available to those who qualify. Class meeting times and locations are convenient to the working student’s schedule.
  • Small Class Size: Most classes have 10-22 students. This low student-to-teacher ratio allows instructors to work individually with students as needed while covering material in-depth.
  • Agency ASE certification for technicians as part of the program, an important industry certification.


Questions? Contact Counseling:

  • (415) 485-9432
  • (415) 485-9430

Automotive Dept.

  • Auto Technology – Nick Fara (415) 457-8811 x8531
  • Auto Collision Repair – Ron Palmer (415) 457-8811 x8532

Automotive Technology Advisory Committee

Ron Davis, San Rafael High School | Ken DeMartini, Japan Auto Repair, San Rafael | Jon Fowkes, Joint Apprenticeship Committee, Oakland | Mike Gomez, Gomez Automotive, San Rafael | Dave Hulbert, City of San Rafael, Fleet Manager | Geoff Lakritz, Novato Toyota, Novato | Dave Maffei, PG&E, San Rafael | Brian Scott | Dan Silin, Terra Linda High School | Dave Wendt, Napa Auto Parts, Novato | Arthur R. Yee, Excelsior Auto Clinic, Novato | Mike Grant, Marin County Office of Education

Gainful Employment
For more information about College of Marin graduation and completion rates, the median debt of students who have completed our programs, and other important gainful employment information, please visit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to earn the certificate?

The most advanced certificate, Automotive Master Repair Technician, takes 6 semesters. Other certificates can be done in 2-3 semesters.

Are there any pre-requisites?

No, there are no requirements or prerequisites. However, good working English is essential.

Can I take classes in the evening?

Yes, classes are available in the evenings, great for working students,

How do I get a high paying job in auto repair and technology?
  • Going through the program and flourishing is what gets you a high paid job.
  • The range varies greatly, typically $15-$30/hr for entry-level, can go up and is often commission-based. A top Technician in a dealership will make over $100K/year plus benefits. Mid-level jobs typically earn $23-24/hr.
Can I work on my friends or (if I’m already working) a customer’s car?

No. Only allowed to work on school cars or your own car. COM has a very strict policy about this, due to liability concerns.

How do I get started?

To get started, you need to enroll at College of Marin and should meet with a career counselor (who can help you with planning your education, direct you to financial alternatives, and more!)

What tools do I need to have?

You need to have your own tools to enter the workforce, but not to start at College of Marin. College of Marin has all you need to complete your education.

You will need a toolbox when you finish and find a job. Fortunately, College of Marin has an agreement with Snap-On, half off for College of Marin students. Other agreements exist too, to help you get started. Most students get their tools in the last semester to take advantage of these deals.

The average student needs to spend $5-10K for a toolbox. A Master Technician will have over $40K in tools.