If you're the type of mechanic who likes working on high-tech, precision-engineered machines, BMW FastTrack training might be the right path for you. BMW FastTrack -- as well as its more intensive cousin, the BMW STEP program -- can give you the sort of detailed, in-depth knowledge of the famed German company's automotive systems and specialized service methods that BMW dealers and service centers look for in their mechanics.
Here's a quick FAQ about the BMW FastTrack training program, using information current as of September 2015. Whether you want to get your start with FastTrack or work toward the BMW STEP program and join the ranks of elite technicians, the BMW mechanic programs at institutes like UTI (Universal Technical Institute) and OTC (Ohio Technical College) can help you get your career underway.
What are the requirements for the BMW FastTrack Program?
Most formal education programs require a high school diploma, and BMW mechanic programs at OTC and UTI are no exception. Both schools that offer BMW FastTrack and STEP programs do typically accept a passing score on the general educational development (GED) exam in place of a diploma.
According to the automaker's own web portal for its training programs, the BMW FastTrack program also requires the completion of a post-secondary auto mechanic degree or certificate program. In the case of training at UTI and OTC, students can enroll directly in BMW FastTrack training after they complete their general auto mechanic program.
Are there specific benefits to completing the BMW FastTrack Program?
Technicians who finish the BMW FastTrack program can earn up to seven factory credentials and potentially achieve BMW Level IV technician status. A working mechanic may be able to pick up hints and tips about BMW vehicles through just work experience, but the knowledge gained through FastTrack training is designed to provide a deep understanding of the brand and its systems.
How does BMW FastTrack differ from the BMW STEP program?
While FastTrack training is designed to help you get your start working under the hood of BMW vehicles, the BMW Service Technician Education (STEP) program can be the difference between entry-level technicians and top-level BMW mechanics. BMW STEP program graduates earn no less than eight factory credentials from the manufacturer and begin their careers as Level III BMW technicians -- a distinction that often takes working mechanics several years to earn through a standard schedule of on-the-job training.
BMW STEP program students share a large portion of their curriculum with the FastTrack program, with some new modules added and some expanded in scope or studied in more detail. Here's a list of subjects found in the BMW STEP program that go beyond the typical FastTrack curriculum:
- New Engine Technology (Expanded) - includes complete disassembly/reassembly and focuses on New Generation engines such as the N63, N20 and N55
- Engine Electronics - takes a detailed approach to diagnosis and repair of high pressure fuel injection, turbo charging and other electrical engine components
- BMW Body Electronics II - goes beyond the starter and battery to study power management and CAN BUS systems
Another benefit of the BMW STEP program is that administrators work with dealership service departments throughout the program to arrange job interviews for students, in order to help fulfill the 12-month minimum dealership employment period that's required after graduation. You're free to explore other career options at the end of that first contract you sign, but the stated goal of the BMW STEP program is to forge long-lasting employment relationships between its graduates and the brand's authorized dealers.
If you're already trained as a mechanic and want to start a career in the ranks of elite BMW technicians, applying to the BMW STEP program might be the right move. Check with career services at a reputable technical school for program details in your area.
Here's a little detail about the four modules covered during BMW FastTrack training:
- BMW Technical Systems - focuses on diagnostic and information technology used in BMW cars and service centers
- BMW Body Electronics I - teaches BMW-approved methods for analyzing and servicing vehicle battery and electrical systems
- BMW Undercar Technology and Chassis Dynamics - covers suspension, alignments, balancing and brake service
- BMW Engine Electronics and New Engine Technology - emphasizes manufacturer-approved procedures for engine disassembly, service and repair
Another potential benefit for aspiring BMW techs is that FastTrack student transcript information is entered into BMW's national technician database, which is searchable by dealerships nationwide.
How does BMW FastTrack training further your career?
Although completion of the BMW FastTrack program may not be listed as a requirement for technician work at a BMW dealership or service center, employers may prefer candidates who have been formally trained in the standards, tools and methods of BMW service.
Records of salary information specific to graduates of the BMW FastTrack program aren't kept in detail, but it is the case that education and hands-on experience are two of the most potent factors involved when deciding employee compensation, even a BMW mechanic’s salary. Formal training programs like FastTrack and STEP that can help you become a certified BMW mechanic may help push your salary value closer to the higher figure.
How can you find a good BMW school for the BMW FastTrack program?
According to the manufacturer's online training portal, the FastTrack training is available at BMW mechanic schools in three U.S. locations. Ohio Technical College in Cleveland offers the program in the northern Midwest, and BMW mechanic programs at UTI, or Universal Technical Institute, can be found in Phoenix, Arizona and Orlando, Florida.
Students accepted into the BMW STEP program may be assigned to complete their training at any one among dozens of partner schools and other instructional locations across the country. Check out our school listings below and at right for more information.
- Course Objectives, BMW FastTrack, Universal Technical Institute, accessed September 24, 2015, http://www.uti.edu/partners/bmw#tabbed-nav=course-objectives-fasttrack
- FAQ, Universal Technical Institute, accessed September 24, 2015, http://www.uti.edu/faq
- BMW FastTrack Training Program, Ohio Technical College, accessed September 24, 2015, http://www.ohiotech.edu/bmwfasttrack-program/
- Admissions, Ohio Technical College, accessed September 24, 2015, http://www.ohiotech.edu/admissions-enrollment/
- BMW STEP Program, BMW STEP, accessed Nov. 24, 2015, http://www.bmwstep.com/
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Employment and Wages, 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed September 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed September 24, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
- Program Brochure, BMW STEP, accessed November 29, 2015, http://www.bmwstep.com/docs/Full%20Size%20STEP%20Brochure.pdf
- BMW FastTrack/STEP, Universal Technical Institute, accessed November 29, 2015: BMW STEP Overview, http://www.uti.edu/partners/bmw#tabbed-nav=bmw-step-overview; Course Objectives, http://www.uti.edu/partners/bmw#tabbed-nav=course-objectives-step