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Auto mechanics are needed throughout the nation in this large occupation. Annual openings are considered very high, and the ten-year growth estimate is much faster than average according to the Idaho Career Information System (CIS 2016). Many master mechanics are paid between $70,000 - $100,000 per year, while in comparison, the median wage in the Boise area is $38,130. Most beginning mechanics, having formal training and being certified increases your chances of being hired. For students who earn the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification, a nationally recognized industry certification, once hired, over the course of just a few months, move on to journey-level status. For those who learn these skills on-the-job, it takes anywhere between two and five years. Experienced mechanics, with strong leadership abilities, often move up into management and those with good people skills may become services estimators.
West Ada School District's Automotive Technology Program is certified by the national Automotive Technicians Education foundation (NATEF) and has been awarded Outstanding Program of Excellence by the State Division of Professional-Technical Education. Students who complete this program who learn the culmination of automotive technology skills and knowledge taught, are able to earn an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification. All three program classes are taught at the Meridian Professional-Technical Center located next door to Meridian High School. Students from throughout the district attending any of the zoned-home high schools or an academy, may attend these program classes. Most years students representing the program do well in local and state industry-related competitions. And, typically several students each year who have applied and been accepted into competitive postsecondary auto tech programs, are awarded scholarship money to help off-set college expenses by program industry sponsors such as Napa Auto Parts.
Over the course of the program, students take three classes beginning their 10th grade year. These classes are taught in two large state-of-art auto shops, which mirror 'live' shops in the community along with two conveniently adjoining classrooms. 10th graders start by taking Automotive Technology 1 which is a semester-long class. As a level 1 student, you learn the necessary basic skills through a combination of lectures, bookwork and lots of hands-on experiences which is designed to prepare students for shop work the following year. Along with the Auto Tech 1 class, students also take another Professional-Technical class. This allows these younger students to 'try on' more than one career-focused program class. Then as a junior, students are able to focus a program of choice according to their interest and aptitudes. As a level 2 student, junior students, commit to a year-long class and spend the majority of time working on vehicle repairs and diagnostics in the 'live' shop. Students apply their know-how on either a car they bring in to work on or, they work on community vehicles that have gone through an in-take process and are a good fit for the students considering what they need experience doing and whether they have the knowledge to perform such tasks. By the third year of the program, senior students, take a year-long class that is equivalent to taking three other elective classes per semester. This gives them the time and opportunities needed in the shop applying their skills to increase their skillset and knowledge of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) industry standards in order to earn their certification.
For complete details, see the current Course Description Handbook
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