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Learn to perform preventative maintenance, diagnose faulty operations and repair automotive vehicles and light trucks. If you like problem-solving, performing precise work and working in a constantly evolving environment with independence, you'll enjoy the automotive service trade.
As an automotive service technician, you will adjust, test and repair engines, steering systems, braking systems, drive trains, vehicle suspensions, electrical systems and air-conditioning systems as well as complete wheel alignments. If you work in a larger shop, you may also specialize in repairing, rebuilding and servicing specific parts. If you work in a smaller shop, you may work on a wide variety of repair projects.
As an automotive service technician, you'll take in work orders and examine a vehicle to find the cause of faulty operations. You'll use testing equipment, take the vehicles for a test drive and refer to the manufacturers’ specifications before dismantling faulty assembles, repairing or replacing worn or damaged parts before reassembling, adjusting and testing the repaired mechanism.
You may also perform scheduled maintenance services like oil changes, lubrications and tune-ups. Some Automotive Service Technicians also advise customers on the work they have performed, general vehicle conditions and future repair requirements.
To work in this trade, certification is required. This means that you must either be a registered apprentice working under the guidance of a certified journeyperson or you must be a certified journeyperson yourself.
To thrive in this career, it is important to have the following traits:
- strong customer service and communication skills
- detail-oriented with a desire to do precise work
- good hearing, eyesight, and manual dexterity
- mechanical aptitude and interest in the field
- passion to stay up-to-date with changing technology
- working knowledge of electricity and computers
- a commitment to safe work habits.
Upon successfully completing the required working hours and apprenticeship education periods, graduates will be awarded journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Automotive service technicians is a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada.
Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training
You can fast-track your career as a Ford Dealership Technician with hands-on learning at SAIT and on-the-job training at a Ford dealership. This program includes a paid co-op work experience at a Ford dealership and four, 8-week periods of Ford-specific technical instruction at SAIT.
Graduates receive Ford Motor Company of Canada Service Technician Specialty Training (STST) credentials, recognized throughout North America.
GM Automotive Service Educational Program
Streamline the path to becoming a certified General Motors Automotive Service Technician. Combine GM-specific, hands-on learning at SAIT and paid work experience at a local dealership.
Work at a GM dealership, earn a post-secondary certificate and grow your career in one of the most important industries:
- fast-paced apprenticeship program
- alternate between attending school and working at a GM dealership for two years
- four, 8-week periods of technical instruction at SAIT
- GM product-specific training pre-requisites included with your training
GM provides new vehicles, training components and training aids for students to learn from. SAIT instructors are GM-trained and in touch with the latest automotive technology trends.
Career enhancement opportunities exist for graduates to progress within the dealer organization to roles such as service manager, parts manager, fixed operations manager, etc.
Careers and opportunities
The term of apprenticeship for an automotive service technician is four years (four 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of classroom instruction each year.
Year 1 | Period 1
You will start by learning workplace safety, materials and tools. You will then learn suspension, steering, brake systems, electrical level one and basic maintenance.
Training length: 8 weeks
Year 2 | Period 2
You will learn engines, manual transmissions, transaxles and clutches, transfer cases, drive axle assemblies and electrical level two.
Training length: 8 weeks
Year 3 | Period 3
You will learn electrical level three, ignition systems, fuel systems, emission control systems and electrical systems diagnosis.
Training length: 8 weeks
Year 4 | Period 4
You will learn automatic transmissions and transaxles, diesel fuel systems, HVAC systems, hybrid electrical vehicles, workplace coaching skills, Red Seal standards as well as vehicle system management, integration and vehicle networks.
Training length: 8 weeks
Apprenticeship education performance
To succeed in apprenticeship education, you must pass each section of the course and the AIT exam.
The passing grade for each section in a course is 65%. A passing mark on each provincial exam and the interprovincial qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.
You can earn your journeyperson designation in the following way.
The traditional training pathway begins with finding a job with an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice. Once you are an apprentice, you will alternate between on-the-job training and educational periods.
You must apply for an apprenticeship through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training before attending your first education period at SAIT.
SAIT’s two-year diploma program, Automotive Service Technology, equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully challenge the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) exams for Automotive Service Technician periods one through four.
In addition, upon completing the program, you will be eligible to receive a 300-hour credit towards the on-the-job training requirement for each of the four periods of the Automotive Service Technician apprenticeship.
SAIT’s Pre-employment Automotive Service Technician program prepares you to enter into an apprenticeship with hands-on skills. Upon successfully completing the program, you’ll qualify to challenge the first-year Automotive Service Technician apprenticeship exam.Pre-employment Automotive Service Technician
To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.
Entrance requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Successful completion of the following courses:
- English 20-2
- Math 20-3
- Science 10
A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam
Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:
- English 30-2
- Math 30-3
- Physics 30 OR Chemistry 30 OR Science 30
- Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training and GM Automotive Service Educational Program admission process
You should be ready to learn in a fast-paced, challenging environment in these specialized programs.
To gain admission, you must first follow these steps:
- Obtain a letter of sponsorship from a participating dealership. You will be required to participate in an interview with the dealer to ensure you meet the entrance requirements.
- Complete and submit the preliminary data form. Submit your high school transcripts with this form. If you are having trouble obtaining your transcripts, contact SAIT at 403.284.8471.
- Complete the aptitude test. Contact the School of Transportation at 403.284.8471 or email email@example.com to book your test date and time. If you pass the aptitude test, you will be notified that you can register as an apprentice.
Once you have begun working as an apprentice, you can attend SAIT to complete your technical training.
You'll register for technical training at SAIT on MyTradeSecrets or you can register by phone.How to register
2023/24 tuition and fees
The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023.
|Period||Number of weeks||Tuition fees||Additional fees
Books or modules, along with other items for classes, are approximately $600 per period.
It's recommended you don't purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes, and they cannot be returned to the Bookstore.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.
Funding options for apprentices
Apprentices get to learn while they earn, but there are still costs to consider. Many resources are available at SAIT and federally to help support apprentices.Financial aid
Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.
Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:
- What sets SAIT apart
- An introduction to the program and area of study
- Admission requirements
- Future career paths
- Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.
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