Auto tech lab

West-MEC offers a high-tech automotive technician lab.

The Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) automotive technology program received elite National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) accreditation for its program. Students also participated in the UTI Top Tech Challenge.

West-MEC is one of three certified programs in the Phoenix area that holds the NATEF accreditation.

“We are the only NATEF certified school with the category of AST (Automotive Service Technician) in the state of Arizona and we accomplished it within a year and a half of being open, something that is unheard of in the certification process. We are definitely in an elite group,” said automotive technology instructor Brady Mitchell.

The accreditation shows the automotive program meets high standards and it benefits schools, students, future employers and the automotive service industry. Schools have a higher potential of receiving funding from public and corporate sources and having programs identified for excellence to bring in more students to the school.

Students are provided ways to identify quality schools and programs, assurance of higher quality education and increased potential to land a career after graduating. Employers are able to choose highly trained entry-level technicians and are able to connect with schools that have quality graduates. Automotive service industry benefits include an increase in professionalism and respect for automotive service employees.

Along with receiving accreditation from NATEF, the automotive technology students competed in the UTI Top Tech Challenge, where contestants participated in a variety of hands-on labs, such as electrical diagnosis, scan tool usage and component identification. More than 30 different teams competed from more than 10 different high schools across the Valley, and West-MEC walked away with multiple awards and more than $15,000 in tools and scholarships.

For more information about West-MEC and the automotive technology program, visit