The Best Automotive Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools

The Best Automotive Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools

Last Updated July 21, 2021 | Andrew Boyle

At CJ Pony Parts, we believe that young people with a passion for mechanics hold the keys to the future of the automotive industry. If you are excited about a future in the automotive industry, the best thing you can do to realize that dream is get educated.

To help future technicians succeed, we’ve created a scholarship program for them. We’ve also put together a list of the best automotive colleges and trade schools from around the nation, to give prospective students a head start when it comes time to make a decision about where to apply and what to expect from different institutions.

How did we come up with this list?

We started with a large collection of America’s public and private campuses, and then evaluated them based on closeness with the automotive industry, price and livability using metrics from You’ll find acceptance rates, average tuition fees and links to each school’s home page, making it easy to learn more about the schools you’re interested in.

Achieving your goal of becoming an automotive engineer or technician begins even before you attend college. Those high-school shop classes are a great foundation for a bright future in the industry. When it comes time to put out applications, you’ll want to look for something all of these schools have in common — a focus on engineering and the opportunity to work hands-on.

The Best Automotive Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools

Large Schools and Universites - Undergrads 10,000+

School Location Undergrads Tuition Acceptance Rate Livability Score
University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas 37,083 $9,798 40% 80
Texas A&M University College Station, Texas 36,219 $8,506 69% 83
Michigan State East Lansing, Michigan 34,196 $12,862 69% 79
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan 27,046 $13,142 37% 80
Universal Technical Institute Scottsdale, Arizona 19,741 N/A N/A 84
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, Michigan 18,564 $11,220 63% 73
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California 17,027 $8,724 37% 73
University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas 16,164 $8,878 60% 79
Purdue School of Engineering and Technology Indianapolis, Indiana 16,127 $8,756 75% 76
Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina 15,643 $13,076 58% 83
Cornell University Ithaca, New York 14,245 $45,358 16% 75
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Georgia 13,272 $10,650 55% 77
Western Washington University Bellingham, Washington 12,860 $8,863 84% 75
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois 12,387 $12,093 79% 76
Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia 25,384 $5,732 78% 81
Weber State University Ogden, Utah 11,784 $4,990 N/A 75

Small Universities and Trade Schools - Undergrads less than 10,000

School Location Undergrads Tuition Acceptance Rate Livability Score
Ferris State University Big Rapids, Michigan 9,366 $10,466 76% 72
Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana 8,675 $8,256 83% 73
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, Missouri 8,170 $7,265 81% 80
Stanford University Stanford, California 7,003 $43,683 6% 82
Farmingdale State College East Farmingdale, New York 5,787 $7,125 53% 79
Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, Kansas 5,734 $5,906 79% 76
Michigan Technological University Houghton, Michigan 5,196 $13,728 77% 76
University of Michigan-Dearborn Dearborn, Michigan 4,869 $10,614 63% 75
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, Pennsylvania 4,764 $14,940 N/A 75
Colorado State University-Pueblo Pueblo, Colorado 3,901 $7,327 94% 74
University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, Ohio 3,645 $9,565 N/A 70
Alfred State College Alfred, New York 3,212 $7,294 55% 72
Morrisville State College Morrisville, New York 2,708 $7,412 59% 76
New England Institute of Technology Warwick, Rhode Island 2,320 $21,285 N/A 77
WyoTech Blairsville, Pennsylvania 1,784 N/A 100% 80
Baker College of Port Huron Port Huron, Michigan 1,776 $8,100 N/A 73
Kettering University Flint, Michigan 1,628 $35,600 62% 68
Siena Heights University Adrian, Michigan 1,173 $21,890 68% 71
Automotive Training Center Warminster, PA 1,007 N/A N/A 73
Pennco Tech Bristol, Pennsylvania 937 N/A 89% 68
Arizona Automotive Institute Glendale, Arizona 780 $31,964 N/A 79
McPherson College McPherson, Kansas 599 $22,891 87% 82

So you’ve chosen a school and you’re well on your way — good for you! There’s still a great deal to be done, and you can bolster your credentials for a future in automotive work by getting involved with auto-themed clubs and groups. For example, Cal Poly’s Society of Automotive Engineers runs programs every year to build and compete Baja, formula and electric racers.

The future begins now, so check out our list and don’t forget to apply for the CJ Pony Parts Scholarship. You might have the good fortune of attending one of these schools with a little help from the coolest parts shop around!

Andrew Author Photo

About the Author

Andrew is a Jeep TJ owner and car industry aficionado with over 150 articles under his belt. Read full bio →

The Best Automotive Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools

If you're interested in starting a career as an automotive technician, picking a college or trade school is a good first step. In order to make the process a little easier, CJ's has compiled a list of the best colleges and trade schools. Hopefully this list can give you a head start in finding a place to apply and learn.

Related Resources

Dodge SRT Demon vs Shelby GT500Dodge SRT Demon vs Shelby GT500

With all the hype over Dodge’s new SRT Demon over recent months, it’s hard to not compare it to Ford’s upcoming GT500. With many of the details speculative and not set in stone, it’s tough to say which one will be the best option until the Shelby is officially released. However, it’s always fun to sit back, check out the specs of each and wonder who’s going to be out in front whether it’s the dragstrip or the road course. With the Demon now officially released, we know what to expect from Dodge - and that’s blistering straight-line acceleration. But what does Ford Performance have up their sleeve for the GT500?

Top 5 Ford F-150 EcoBoost ModsTop 5 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Mods

While the Ford F-150 EcoBoost is a pretty great truck to begin with, adding aftermarket F150 mods and upgrades is a great way to both customize the look of your truck while optimizing performance. From installing an aftermarket cat-back exhaust to a cold air intake, there are plenty of modifications you can make to your F-150. Whether you want to enhance off-roading performance or simply look mean on the streets, these top five F150 mods can do just that!

What Does Trail Rated Mean?What Does Trail Rated Mean?

The Jeep Wrangler is built for the outdoors, whether that’s crawling over rocks, racing in the desert, or traversing a creek. All JK and JL Wranglers are Trail Rated, as well as some of Jeep’s other vehicles including certain models of the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade. But what does Trail Rated mean, exactly? Jeep’s Trail Rated vehicles have surpassed an extreme series of tests in five areas: articulation, ground clearance, maneuverability, traction, and water fording.