• Automotive Service Technology

    Do you have the drive to succeed as an automotive service technician? With M State’s training in state-of-the-art diagnostic and repair equipment, you’ll soon be on the road to success in an automotive career.

Automotive Service Technology

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Automotive Service Technology

As a student in M State's Automotive Service Technology program, your training will focus on the diagnosis, repair and preventative maintenance of cars and light trucks. Program instructors are highly skilled with years of experience in private industry, and our graduates are recruited by businesses throughout the region.

An advisory board comprised of local and regional industry members reviews our curriculum, ensuring that students learn the skills needed by employers. The program and instructors are NATEF/ASE certified in all eight areas of automotive service.


Here’s what you’ll learn

  • Understand vehicle operating system theories
  • Diagnose vehicle operating system problems
  • Repair vehicle operating systems
  • Interpret service information


Why M State

  • Exceptional education value
  • Small class sizes and personalized instruction
  • Service and diagnostic procedures taught using state-of-the-art equipment
  • Emphasis on hands-on learning
  • Opportunity to work with local dealerships and independent shops while enrolled in program
  • High placement rates for graduates

Program Video


Programs & Majors » Automotive Service Technology Back to program list »

Degrees Offered Click on a degree below to view details

Automotive Service Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Locations: Moorhead

Automotive Service Technology Diploma
Locations: Moorhead

Click a degree on the left to get started


M State Automotive program earns No. 4 ranking

M State's Automotive Service Technology program has been ranked No. 4 of the best in the nation by the Washington Monthly college guide in its 2018 "Best and Worst" ranking of 12 college vocational programs.

M State earned one of the top automotive rankings based on the $34,427 median annual earnings of its Automotive Service graduates three years after graduation. The guide also includes information about: annual debt payments as a percent of earnings (3.88 percent at M State), annual debt payments ($1,446 at M State) and estimated total debt ($11,298 at M State).

All the top-ranked colleges also meet the gainful employment rule, which holds career programs accountable for producing graduates who earn so little that they cannot pay back their education loans.

M State offers both a 72-credit degree and a 66-credit diploma in Automotive Service Technology. The program is based on M State's Moorhead campus, where students get hands-on training in the newly renovated and state-of-the-art Transportation Center.

For Washington Monthly's complete 2018 College Rankings, visit https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20180910/index.php#/1.


Students learn what makes a Deere run

April 2019

As part of their electronics class this spring, Automotive Technology students toured three John Deer Electronic Solutions facilities in North Fargo to watch the design, building and testing of electronic engine equipment. Students met with engineers and watched the process of robotic circuit board assembly and durability testing, with components subjected to hot-cold cycling, water pressure testing, high-voltage testing, magnetic interference, vibration and drop testing.

"We appreciate having the opportunity to do this each year," said Automotive instructor Dennis Miller. "We thank John Deere for their hospitality."

Photo: Students viewed the x-rays used to determine what had failed inside the circuit boards of an engine computer.


Auto student on the road to fulfilling a dream after winning grand prize drawing

The luck of the draw has put some muscle into Hunter Hedstrom's plans for his career following his upcoming graduation from the Automotive Technology program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

Hedstrom and two dozen classmates and instructors traveled in late October to the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas, where he says he entered vendor drawings "for everything I saw" at the automotive trade show. About six weeks later, he was stunned to get a call with the news that he'd won the grand prize - a Valvoline 2017 Chevrolet Camaro from the PowerNationTV show "Detroit Muscle."

"She had to explain to me that this was real, and I wasn't getting scammed," Hedstrom says, laughing. "It didn't really sink in until I was flying down to Tennessee to pick up the car."

Hedstrom, a Detroit Lakes native, attended the SEMA Show with the Auto Club on the Moorhead campus, where he is a second-year student and planning to graduate in May.

M State auto instructor Scott Ripplinger, who arranged the SEMA trip with fellow instructor Dennis Miller, said they try to plan visits to industry events for their students every other year.

"Our hope is to make it as much of a learning experience as possible by exposing students to current industry trends and environment while teaching them some basic skills and camaraderie," says Ripplinger, a long-time resident of the Fargo Moorhead area who has worked in the automotive service field for 31 years.

Hedstrom flew to Nashville to pick up his muscle car in early January with his father, James, a Detroit Lakes insurance agent. "I drove through Minnesota in the middle of a blizzard," he says. "Roads were slick, and snow was flying." (And yes, he had full insurance coverage on the car.)

Cars have long been a passion for Hedstrom; he's done extensive work on his 1979 Bronco, and he enjoys turning heads with his "fun summer car," an Italian Lancia Beta coupe. He's found a home in M State's auto program, where he has a bond with classmates and instructors that he says are "some of the best teachers I've ever had."

While he works at an auto parts dealership and plans for life after college, Hedstrom is considering selling his Camaro to finance a dream: owning his own shop where he can build and sell cars.


Auto students hit the road for Vegas

Nov. 7, 2018

Eighteen members of M State's Auto Club traveled to Las Vegas in early November to see what's new in the automotive and truck world at the annual gathering of the Specialty Equipment Market Association. They were among the 200,000-plus people at the SEMA show, billed as the top automotive specialty products trade show in the world.


Auto student Dylan Parsons a national Skills winner

July 5, 2018

Dylan Parsons' diligence and determination paid off with a 7th place finish in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference on June 25-29 in Louisville, Ky.

Parsons, 17, just completed his first year in the Automotive Technology program on the Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College. He won the right to represent Minnesota in the national SkillsUSA competition by placing first in the high school category at the state Skills contest in March.

Parsons, who was a high school senior during his first year in college, enrolled at M State through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program and graduated from Frazee High School in May. He took only one basic auto maintenance course in high school prior to enrolling at M State, but he's long been interested in working on vehicles.

"A lot of my family is big into working on cars," said Parsons, who never missed a day of classes despite having to drive 110 miles round trip from his home in Frazee to the Moorhead campus.

"So when students said they couldn't make it to class due to the weather, I'd point to Dylan," said automotive instructor Shannon Mohn, laughing.

Mohn accompanied Parsons to the SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, where an estimated 6,000 career and technical education students - all winners in their state competitions - competed in 100 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

Parsons was competing against nearly 50 other students in the high school automotive category. In addition to hands-on demonstrations of their automotive skills, competitors took a written test and went through mock job interviews and resume writing.

After completing the second year of the Automotive Technology program next year, Parsons said he intends to work as an auto mechanic.

"I took him with me on a visit to a dealership in town, and he was offered a job before we left," said Mohn, adding that he and fellow Automotive Technology instructors Scott Ripplinger and Dennis Miller are "extremely proud" of Parsons' accomplishments.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit that serves high school and college students who are preparing for careers in a trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Its state and national competitions are based on industry-driven occupational skills standards.


Meet the faculty

Dennis Miller

Automotive Technology Faculty
Contact Dennis

Shannon Mohn

Automotive Technology Faculty
Contact Shannon

Scott Ripplinger

Automotive Technology Faculty
Contact Scott


Apply now


Required Automotive Service Technology courses

  • Alignment and Suspension I and II
  • Brakes I and II
  • Starting and Charging
  • Automotive Electronics
  • Engines I and II
  • Drive Trains I and II
  • Body Electrical/Mechanical I and II
  • Exhaust Analysis Fuel Systems
  • Electronic Powertrain Control I and II
  • Ignition Systems
  • Automatic Transmissions I and II
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
  • Introduction to Transportation

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M State's Automotive Service Technology program has an articulation agreement with Minnesota State University Moorhead. Graduates from M State's program can transfer into MSUM's bachelor's degree programs in Operations Management and Construction Management.

Articulation agreements ensure that students completing specified coursework or degree programs at M State will transfer into designated programs at partner universities or colleges according to the terms of the agreement. This cooperative effort eliminates or minimizes the questions and confusion that sometimes accompany transfer and allows our students to be confident that their degree from M State will satisfy a substantive portion of the completion requirements for the bachelor's degree at the university or college they will be attending.

Last modified: April 11th, 2019 at 09:41am