How To Become An Auto Mechanic For Free

With the cost of tuition constantly rising, students should seek ways to get their training for free. Since the year 2000, annual tuition at 2-year college institutions has nearly doubled. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual tuition for a 2-year institution in the 2000-01 school year was $5,466. Compare this to the 2015-16 school year where average tuition was $10,432. That is quite an increase! So, if you are an aspiring auto mechanic, you should always keep your eye out on ways to cut that cost down. Here we will give you some tips!

Step 1: Decide How You Will Gain Training

As you may know, there are many different ways to gain training as an auto mechanic. Each route will vary in cost, training styles, and job opportunity so this is an essential step. Perhaps the two most common routes are attending a trade school and completing an apprenticeship.


In an apprenticeship, you will learn the ways of being an auto mechanic simply by working underneath an experienced mechanic. This is an amazing learning opportunity for students who learn best by doing. Almost all apprenticeships use practical (hands-on) learning as the primary teaching tool while some will scatter in portions of theoretical. You can become a great mechanic through an apprenticeship and you even will get paid throughout the program!

According to the US Department of Labor, the average apprentice is paid $15.00 per hour. So, if this sounds good to you, this is probably the safest way to become an auto mechanic without paying for anything. There are downsides to apprenticeship so keep those in mind. Here you will find all the pros and cons of apprenticeship.

Trade School

At a trade school, you will gain more of a well-rounded education, which can be extremely helpful as an auto mechanic. Trade schools offer a blended learning style, mixing practical and theoretical learning into one program. Some auto mechanic programs even connect you with local mechanic shops for internships to accompany your classroom/lab learning. Some of these internships are paid which can help you pay for school while you are in it.

The downfall of attending a trade school simply is the cost. The Idaho Department of Labor partnered with the National Center for Education Statistics to collect data on the cost of education. They found that the average total cost of education for associate’s degrees is $32,832. This is quite the payment for training. This along with the average amount of student debt upon graduation at $10,000 gives a student quite the motivation to find ways to pay for school.

Step 2: Apply for Scholarships

In the 2010-11 school year, there were $49 billion in scholarships awarded across the country. This amount is split up between three different types of scholarship providers; federal, private, and state/local. All of these are great places to earn scholarships but each has different characteristics.


According to Fluid Review, 31% of scholarships awarded are state/local scholarships. This is an important place to start, as there will be less competition for these types of scholarships. Many of these are specific to certain programs, which lessens the competition even more. In the end, the average amount awarded from these scholarships is $2,844.


Private institutions make up of the second most scholarships provided at 36%. Many of these private institutions are giving scholarships to students going into majors that align with their company. Keep an eye on your favorite auto manufacturer or other companies you may like as they often are giving out scholarships. For example, Buick offers over $100,000 in scholarships and there is the Siemens Math, Science and Technology Award Scholarship that also offers $100,000 in scholarships. These are great ones to apply for as they award the largest average amount per student at $8,366.


Finally, federal institutions account for almost half of the scholarships provided to students around the country at 48%. Very many students apply for these federal scholarships, as they are often most known about. This does not mean you shouldn’t apply, as there are so many scholarships available that you could win at least one! The average amount awarded from federal institutions is $4,755.

Don’t Think There’s a Scholarship for You?

Think again! There are scholarships out there for everyone; so many that about $100 million of scholarships go unawarded each year. Along with that, there are many obscure scholarships you may never know about. For example, there are scholarships for being tall, scholarships for loving coffee, even scholarships for drawing ducks! Just keep applying for any scholarship you can. You never know what can happen!

Step 3: Work While You Learn!

No matter what you do, working while you gain training will advance your skills immensely. If you decide to participate in an apprenticeship, this work will be built into your training. Whenever you can work while you learn, it will bring a whole new level of understanding of your craft. Not only this, you will earn money to help pay for your training. Although you may not earn enough to pay for all you will owe, it can help tremendously to offset the cost. If you combine a paycheck with scholarships it is very possible to pay for school completely as you are going through it.

Keep in Mind…

Getting ready to start something new can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. It’s so important to keep all of this in mind when getting ready to start school or an apprenticeship. If school is the route you decide to take, make sure you apply for all the scholarships possible before you even think about applying for loans. You will be much better off if you can graduate debt-free from training. If you can do this, you will even be ahead of those who took an apprenticeship route as trade school typically lasts 2 years while an apprenticeship lasts 4 years on average.

Author Bio

Daniel is a researcher and author for Trade School Future, which empowers students to pursue a career as an auto mechanic. Along with that, Daniel loves working on his bike and living in Phoenix, AZ with his wife and dog.