Universal Technical Institute

Cut-down “clip cars” enable UTI to make more-efficient use of lab/shop space. A wide variety of late-model vehicles are on hand.

For better and worse, the days of shade-tree mechanics are long behind us. Today’s highly sophisticated cars, trucks, and motorcycles require equally sophisticated tools and techniques for proper repair and maintenance, and technology continues to advance at a lightning-fast pace. These days, a career as a service technician requires much more than a high school diploma. Many technical schools offer specialized training for these fields, but the most prominent and well known among them might be Universal Technical Institute.

UTI boasts 11 locations nationwide, and Consumer Guide recently toured the Chicago-area campus, which is located in Glendale Heights, Illinois. It’s a 170,000-square-foot facility that has the capacity to train more than 2,000 students. The campus offers 11 different programs ranging from 45 to 90 weeks. After taking a core Automotive or Diesel and Industrial Technician program, students can choose elective courses that offer specialized training for a specific manufacturer’s products. UTI has partnerships with more than 30 manufacturers, including BMW, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota.

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Let’s take a quick walk-through . . .


UTI’s manufacturer partnerships enable brand-specific classes with an up-to-the-minute curriculum. Pictured here is a section of the classroom for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion product training.


Since most graduates will move into jobs where a uniform is required, UTI dictates that its students must adhere to a specific UTI-uniform dress code.


An engine, steering wheel, shift lever, instrument panel, and headlights all in one compact training station.

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Professional stock-car racing is big business, and top-notch fabricators, mechanics, and pit-crew members are always in demand. UTI also offers an official NASCAR training program at its NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina.


The Toyota training program features plenty of current Toyota products at the ready for hands-on instruction.


Ever been in a school where a well-stocked NAPA Auto Parts “mini-store” is just around the corner from the classrooms? Students get a discount on parts and supplies for their own projects.


UTI offers hot-rod and aftermarket-performance courses for students interested in working at a custom or hot-rod shop. A fiberglass-bodied T-bucket is the perfect hot-rod starter car, and the Chicagoland UTI campus has a dozen (you’re seeing only half of the classroom here).


UTI also offers a Diesel and Industrial Technology core program, which can be followed with brand-specific training for manufacturers such as Navistar International and Cummins. A shop full of gigantic diesel-truck engines is an impressive sight. There is a lot of torque in this room.


The diesel and industrial curriculum covers more than just trucks and engines. Pictured here is a row of 18-wheeler-trailer refrigerator units.


Students are expected to follow a general code of behavior that is aimed at preparing them for the demands of a full-time job as a technician.

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