Automotive Technology

Female student reading a manual

Program Mission 2020 Best Colleges

The Automotive Technology program's mission is to serve the community as a learning-centered, open door program that provides technical training to meet the demands of the automotive industry and the needs of the individual. An open-exit option allows the students to identify their career objectives and participate in program exploration.

Program Description

The Automotive Technology (AMT) program at Honolulu CC is a comprehensive five semester program master certified by the National Automotive Technology Education Foundation (NATEF) that prepares students for employment as automotive technicians. Students completing the program may earn a Certificate of Achievement after one year or an Associate in Applied Science degree upon program completion. The program has maintained its NATEF certification since 1993, undergoing a review every five years. It is certified in all eight ASE areas: engine repair, automotive transmission and transaxle, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical/electronics systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance.

Program Prerequisites

  • Placement in ENG 100
  • "C" or higher in MATH 50, OR Placement into MATH 150 or higher.
  • Valid driver's license

Degrees That Can Be Earned

  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
  • Certificate of Achievement (CA)


The competencies that students are expected to achieve in the program are based on the tasks described by NATEF. Students who successfully complete the program will be prepared with the skills and competencies necessary for a successful career in the automotive industry with emphasis on marketability by receiving training in all eight areas described by NATEF: engine repair, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical/electronics systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance. The program is also structured for individuals exploring automotive as a potential career path, and allows individuals the opportunity to acquire knowledge in theory of operation and experience in vehicle repair for personal gain.

Physical Requirements

The physical requirements of the program include the eye-hand coordination necessary to make precision repairs and to avoid unnecessary material losses and personal injury.

Cost of Textbooks/Supplies

Tools/supplies for 5 semester program approximately $3,500.

Upon successful completion of the AMT program, students will be able to:

  • Gain employment in the automotive industry in any of the eight NATEF areas: engine repair, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical/electronics systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance.
  • Increase their marketability through learning time management and team work skills.
  • Gain personal knowledge and experience in vehicle repair.

Our program technical standards have been developed to help students understand the minimum essential mental, physical, and behavioral skills necessary for participation in and completion of all core aspects of our curriculum.

Thinking Skills


Diagnose mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and computer-related automotive failures.


  • Read and interpret automotive manuals, diagrams, charts, meters and gauges.
  • Do searches on computer and in manuals for necessary information.
  • Take measurements and do conversions.
  • Identify automotive components and systems.
  • Recognize indicators of malfunctions.
  • Analyze information and draw conclusions based on a review of findings.
  • Measure and calculate electrical power.

Sensory/Observation Skills


Use sensory cues to inspect and test components to determine root causes of failures and respond properly.


  • Interpret readings on meters, gauges, and computers.
  • Distinguish identifying colors of wires, knobs and other parts.
  • Recognize and interpret colors and textures of residue on parts.
  • Detect and respond to noises, vibrations, temperatures, and smells that indicate problems.
  • Select appropriate materials, tools and equipment for maintenance and repairs.
  • Judge distances and space relationships of objects.
  • Manipulate certain parts and tools by feel only.

Motor Skills


Possess sufficient physical strength, flexibility, and dexterity.


  • Operate necessary tools and equipment.
  • Remove and replace failed components and small parts.
  • Position and maneuver in confined spaces.
  • Work at varying heights.
  • Lift and transport equipment and materials as necessary.

Communication Skills


Communicate effectively to gather and convey information.


  • Obtain necessary information from oral and written sources.
  • Express information coherently.
  • Utilize automotive technical terms and expressions.
  • Document work accurately.

Behavioral Skills


Behave appropriately and safely in a cooperative learning environment.


  • Fulfill personal and shared responsibilities.
  • Work cooperatively with partners and groups.
  • Exercise good judgement.
  • Follow safety procedures.

Environmental Tolerance


Function safely in an auto shop environment.


  • Work for prolonged periods amidst: Extreme noise, Extreme heat, Sharp tools and materials, Electrical equipment, Chemicals and toxins, Dust and fumes, Machinery with moving parts, Moving objects and vehicles, Slippery or uneven surfaces, Variations in lighting

1. What kind of skill do you need to have from the start to do well in the AMT program?

Although being able to work with your hands is important, soft skills plays just as big a role in successful completion of the program. Being able to write, and being comfortable with mathematics and Physics helps the student succeed.

2. Where have graduates been able to get jobs in the past?

Dealerships, Private sector shops, Pearl Harbor, Fleet vehicle Service

3. What kind of salary can I hope for after finishing my degree?

50,000 - 100,000+ a year

4. Is the AMT program certified? And why is that important?

We are currently accredited through ASEEF (Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation) which means you receive a high level of education equivalent to many mainland schools.

5. Are there any specific scholarships for AMT students?

Toyota Technical Education Program (TTEP) is offered to those in third and fourth semesters that have a 3.0 GPA

6. How much do the tools/supplies cost?

Approximately $3,500

7. When and where are these classes offered?

The classes are offered Monday through Thursday at either 7:00am until 12:50pm or 12:00 until 5:50pm depending on which semester you are in. The classes themselves are located at Building 43 which is at the makai end of Kokea Street.

8. Are there any classes offered in the evening or through distance education?

There are no AMT courses offered in the evening or online. All classes are held face-to-face.

9. What are the program prerequisites?

Placement in ENG 100; "C" or higher in MATH 50, or placement into MATH 150 or higher. A valid driver's license is also required.

10. Are there any tips that a student can follow to succeed in the AMT program?

Expect a rigorous program, lots of book work and hands on activities. Time management and hard work are required.

11. What is the best way for a new student to prepare for their 1st semester?

New students should come to the first day of class ready to work. The first class, AMT 121, only lasts 9 or 10 days with the last class being used to take the final exam. As a result of this time issue, 17 chapters will need to be covered in 9 days so there will be chapters covered on the first day.

12. Should you pick up your textbooks before the semester begins?

Yes, it is a good idea to pick up your textbooks prior to the beginning of the semester. If you wait until your first day in class, all the textbooks may be gone. You would also avoid the chaos of the first week of the semester. Chapters will be covered on the first day of AMT 121 so it would be good to have your book on the first day of class.

13. How should you come dressed on the 1st day of your first major course?

A student should wear covered shoes, jeans/pants, and a collared shirt. The dress code for the rest of class will then be covered on that day.

14. Should new students come to the 1st class prepared with their tools?

The faster they get their tools, the better off they are so yes

15. What is the difference between a Certificate and an Associate degree?

The certificate requires no general education and only the first two semesters of major courses. The associate degree requires 16 credits of general education and four semesters of major courses.

16. Can I get a Certificate of Achievement and then later come back to get my Associate in Applied Science degree?


17. Do I need to find my own internship or cooperative education activity?

There are many jobs openings that are relayed through the program to the students, but students are responsible for getting a job and arranging for their COOP credit and need to talk to the Coop counselor.