Nascar Technical Institute Auto Mechanics Review

NASCAR Technical Institute was the first of its kind to offer NASCAR-specific automotive training programs along with diploma and associate degree programs. We will examine what makes this school unique and compare it to some other automotive degree programs in the state of North Carolina.

What Is NASCAR Technical Institute?

three person trying to fix machine

Image Source: flickr.com

NASCAR Technical Institute is a division of Universal Technical Institute (UTI) located in Mooresville, North Carolina. Mooresville is known by the nickname "Race City, USA" because of its proximity to Charlotte Motor Speedway, the zMAX Dragway, and several local short tracks. The NASCAR Technical Institute was started in 2002 and is the first and only NASCAR-specific technician training program. Students receive a complete education in automotive technology in addition to training that is specific to NASCAR.

 

NASCAR Technical Institute houses is a nearly 146,000 square foot facility that has both classrooms and approximately 50,000 square feet of lab space for hands-on training. Students can choose between two core programs (Automotive or CNC Machining) with additional specialized manufacturer-specific training programs. The location houses 39 classrooms and 16 labs, and students will receive instruction from teachers who are industry-experienced. Students can begin their path to ASE Certification here by substituting their training for one year of ASE's required two-year on-the-job training.

Learning Programs at NASCAR Technical Institute

The two core programs at NASCAR Technical Institute are Automotive and CNC Machining as well as manufacturer-specific training on a number of automotive brands. New students can begin the Automotive program every three weeks and the CNC Machining program every six weeks. Upon graduation, a student will receive either a diploma of completion or an associate degree in Occupational Studies, depending on the core program and additional training.

 

Automotive Program


This program lasts a minimum of 48 weeks at the NASCAR Technical Institute, which is shorter than the 51-week program at the other UTI campuses. Students learn how to diagnose problems, how to perform vehicle maintenance, and how to do repairs on both domestic and foreign vehicles. Students also learn about the entire electrical system of a vehicle and each of its components. Topics covered include powertrains, transmissions, steering, suspension, brakes, climate control, and hybrid vehicle maintenance.

 

CNC Machining Program


CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. In this 36-week program, students learn to fashion performance parts and materials from raw materials. NASCAR Technical Institute has partnered with Roush Yates to offer a program that teaches students how to read blueprints, how to interpret geometric dimensioning, and how to set-up and operate CNC mills and lathes. Students will become familiar with industry-standard tools and technology from brands like Mastercam, Mitsubishi Materials, and Mitee-Bite.


Manufacturer-Specific Programs


Students who graduate after taking a manufacturer-specific training program are likely to receive a higher starting wage as well as find a job sooner. Students can choose to take these additional programs after one of the core programs has been completed. NASCAR Technical Institute offers specialized training in Ford, Lincoln, Dodge, Nissan, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Jeep.

NASCAR Technical Institute Pricing

The average cost for tuition is between $19,000 and $20,000. Most students apply for some sort of financial aid in the form of either federal grants, institutional grants or Pell grants. This price does not include housing, transportation, or meals. Students may also need to buy their own supplies and tools.

 

How It Compares

We picked a few other auto mechanics schools to see how NASCAR Technical Institute compares.


1. Universal Technical Institute
2. Fayetteville Technical Community College
3. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

 

person standing at the side of auto machine

Image Source:​ flickr.com

NASCAR Technical Institute offers several programs for their students, including housing assistance and financial aid. The school offers employment services that help students find part-time jobs to help cover living expenses while attending. They also host events like career expos.

Price $$

Costs run between $19,000 and $20,000 for the program.

Performance: 4 out of 5 stars

NASCAR Technical Institute seems to have mostly favorable reviews from students. The teachers are experienced, knowledgeable, and approachable. Students seem excited about their classroom experiences and look forward to attending class. The only complaints seem to revolve around poor student housing conditions and the overall expense of the school. Many students wish better financial aid options were available.

Accessibility: 5 out of 5 stars

There are no pre-requisites for students to attend NASCAR Technical Institute, and the school has a high acceptance rate. The biggest hindrance is the price tag, but most students are able to obtain financial aid.

Certification: 3 out of 5 stars

Students leave with an AOS degree, but no automotive certification. However, students are able to use their training at NASCAR Technical Institute as one of their two required years of hands-on experience in order to receive their ASE Certification. Students are also easily able to obtain jobs in the field after graduation, so the school does position them to receive certification.

Facilities: 4 out of 5 stars

Both the classrooms and lab spaces are impressive and provide a great learning environment. However, housing leaves something to be desired with many complaints from students.

Pros

  • Excellent classroom and hands-on instruction from industry-experienced professionals
  • NASCAR and automotive brand-specific training
  • Easy to receive employment and ASE Certification upon graduation
  • Completed in less than one year

Cons

  • More expensive than some other schools
  • Housing conditions are problematic
person looking the auto machine

Image Source: flickr.com

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is the parent company of NASCAR Technical Institute, and so it has many distinct similarities. The programs are identical, except the regular UTI campuses do not offer NASCAR-specific training. The only location in North Carolina is the NASCAR Technical Institute campus. However, there are several other locations across the country if a student is willing to study outside the state. There are schools in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

 Price $$

Costs here run approximately $20,000 for the program. 

Performance: 3 out of 5 stars

While the NASCAR Technical Institute has generally positive student reviews, UTI's reviews are a little less enthusiastic. Students complain mostly about the expense, claiming that other similar schools are cheaper and have smaller classroom size with more individualized attention. Students also seem less happy with the instructors at the UTI schools than at the NASCAR-specific location.

Accessibility: 5 out of 5 stars

Like the NASCAR Technical Institute, UTI has no prerequisites for attendance and all students are welcome.

Certification: 3 out of 5 stars

Also like the NASCAR Technical Institute, UTI offers no official certification, but it does put students well on the path to earning their ASE Certification after graduation.

Facilities: 4 out of 5 stars

In general, students seem happy with the classroom and lab experience at UTI, particularly with regard to the amount of hands-on training which is infinitely valuable to future mechanics. However, some students complained about the vocational school feel, saying the environment seemed too much like high school. Housing was also a concern.

Pros

  • Comprehensive auto mechanics training program
  • Completed in less than one year
  • Lots of hands-on work experience

Cons

  • Cost of tuition is much higher than other schools
  • High school vibe with less-than-excited students and teachers
  • Complaints about housing
fayetteville technical community college

Image Source: www.faytechcc.edu

Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that specializes in career development. The school offers several programs related to auto mechanics. Like NASCAR Technical Institute, they offer both diploma and associate degree programs in Automotive Systems Technology. They also offer continuing education classes along the same lines, including Vehicle Safety Inspection, Transportation Vehicle, Equipment and Systems Inspectors, and General Maintenance and Repair Workers.

Price $

For students in the state of North Carolina, this could be a far more affordable option than NASCAR Technical Institute. You'll pay about $80 per credit hour as an in-state student, and around $270 a credit hour for out of state students. 

Performance: 4 out of 5 stars

FTCC has mostly favorable reviews among students regarding the quality of teachers and instruction. However, some complain that the school seems "cheap" overall and the advisors are unhelpful.

Accessibility: 4 out of 5 stars

Fayetteville Technical Community College accepts all students pending completed application, placement testing, receipt of transcripts, and approval for financial aid. Students in the health programs have additional requirements that need to be met.

Certification: 3 out of 5 stars

The school is accredited by ASE Education Foundation & Ford. Students do not receive an actual certification, but they will be prepared to take the ASE Certification exam. 

Facilities: 3 out of 5 stars

Students appreciate the combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training in the lab. However, the school is small and the facilities are not as impressive as NASCAR Technical Institute.

Pros

  • Very affordable option for in-state students
  • Comprehensive automotive training program that prepares students for the ASE Certification exam
  • Lots of hands-on training

Cons

  • School is small and has a reputation as a "cheap" college
  • Safety was a concern for some students
  • Problems with advisory staff
caldwell community college and technical institute

Image Source: www.en.wikipedia.org

Like FTCC, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) is a small community college that focuses on career development. It is located in Boone, North Carolina, and it offers several automotive programs. Students graduate with a diploma or an associate degree in Automotive Systems Technology along with several certificates in subjects like Basic Engine Performance and Climate Control.

Price $

Pricing is nearly identical to that of FTCC, and therefore makes CCC&TI a potentially more affordable option for in-state residents than NASCAR Technical Institute.

Performance: 4 out of 5 stars

Students are happy with their teachers and the overall environment of the school. They feel positive about going to class and their career prospects for the future. However, as with many schools, there have been some complaints with the other staff, particularly the advisors.

Accessibility: 4 out of 5 stars

All students are accepted upon completion of application and placement tests, receipt of transcripts, and financial aid approval. Some programs may have additional requirements.

Certification: 3 out of 5 stars

Students do not graduate with certification, but like the other schools in this review, CCC&TI does prepare students for employment in the field of automotive repair as well as to take the ASE Certification exam.

Facilities: 3 out of 5 stars

While people enjoy the campus and surrounding area, there have been some complaints about the lack of diversity at the school. Some resources available to students are out-of-date.

Pros

  • Affordable program compared to some other technical schools
  • Great instructors and community
  • Comprehensive automotive education and preparation for ASE Certification

Cons

  • Complaints about advisory staff
  • Lack of diversity on campus
  • Some facilities are dated

Conclusion

Compared to the community colleges in North Carolina, the NASCAR Technical Institute and Universal Technical Institute are far more expensive. This might be a turnoff for many students because all the schools we reviewed offer the same end results. Each school offers either a diploma of completion or an associate degree as well as the preparation to become ASE Certified. Based on cost alone, we would recommend one of the community colleges instead.


However, there are perks associated with attending NASCAR Technical Institute. Many prospective auto mechanics are probably fans of NASCAR and would enjoy learning in an environment centered around that theme. If they are interested in working with NASCAR, NTI might be a more desirable path to take for training since the school offers NASCAR-specific learning as well as specialized training in working with several specific automotive brands. Students who choose NASCAR Technical Institute over their other available options will receive a specialized training that students attending other colleges will not.


Ultimately, it is up the prospective student on whether or not they want to take a more NASCAR-centric route with their automotive training. If they do choose to do so, we would highly recommend NTI, even with the higher cost. However, if a student is merely interested in obtaining an automotive degree and a job as a normal auto mechanic, we would most certainly recommend one of the community colleges. Based upon the specialized training and uniqueness of the programs at NASCAR Technical Institute, we give it 4 stars out of five.

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