Imagine an audio and video system that looks as amazing as it sounds. Now, imagine you built it with your own hands. If you have the desire to do just that, or hope to simply conquer ohm's law, then it might be time to further your mobile electronics education. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, with the price of college tuition these days), you won't find the proper training for this field at a four-year university. However, there are several trade schools that can help you start your career and achieve your goals. Truckin' explored these different schools to help you find a place to develop or master the requisite skills needed for this field.

List of mobile electronics schools:

Acoustic Edge Institute (AEI),
established in 2001
acousticedge.com
Oklahoma City, OK (866) 813-3343,
Houston, TX, (866) 634-3343,
and coming soon to Chicago, IL

Installer Institute (II),
established in 1990,
installerinstitute.com
Holly Hill, FL (800) 354-6782

Metro Auto Electronics (MAE),established in 1996,
metro-auto.com
Kenilworth, NJ, (800) 649-METRO.

Mobile Dynamics (MD),
established in 1990,
mobiledynamics.com
Tempe, AZ, (800) 610-2122, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, (800) 325-0568

Mobile Technical Training (MTT),
established in 2000,
mobiletechtraining.com
South Hackensack, NJ (877) 832-4682.

Classes Offered:
AEI
Multimedia (home theater and home security) four weeks
Mobile Electronics Installation, four weeks
Custom Fabrication, four weeks
Custom Interiors, four weeks

II
Graduate Certification Program, five weeks
Advanced Certification Program, five weeks

MAE
Mobile Electronics
Custom Fabrication
Enclosure Design

MD
"Phase" Program, eight weeks
How to start your own business.
Custom Home Audio and Video Installation, one week

MTT
Segments 1-4 Installation
Segments 5-8 Fabrication
Custom Upholstery Course

AMOUNT OF HANDS-ON TRAINING:
AEI 80%
II 68%
MAE 70%
MD 50%
MTT 75%

Cost of program:
AEI Acoustic Edge classes run from $3,700 for one course, to $13,900 for all four courses (or $3,475 per course).

II Installer Institute's program cost is $10,299 to include housing, MECP Basic Study Guide, MECP Basic Exam (first try), MECP Advanced Study Guide and Exam (first try), Basic and Advanced tool kits (17 tools in total) and a Porta-Calculator that is used as a handheld box-building program. A student will have no other expenses to pay in order to attend classes.

MAE Metro Auto Electronics programs starting out at $2,500 and up.

MD Mobile Dynamics has several courses available for various budgets. Students can choose a program that best suits their needs. The school's most popular program is the eight-week hands-on training package that costs $7,499. This price includes all school materials and books.

MTT Mobile Technical Training's Mobile Electronics and Fabrication course is $6,370, plus lab fees. Custom Upholstery course is $2,800, plus lab fees.

Financing Available:
AEI Yes, with several options.
II Yes, with several options.
MAE Yes, with opportunities for everyone through federal financial aid, student loans, parent plus loans, and Pell grants.
MD Yes, Sallie Mae-one of the largest student loan providers in the U.S. Out of state students can opt to include accommodations, travel, and living expenses in their loans.
MTT Yes, through Sallie Mae and other agencies, such as Dept. of Veteran Affairs, DVR, GI Bill, and unemployment. Payment plans are also available.

Temporary Housing:AEI Yes.
II Yes, located directly behind the school. Apartments are 800 sq-ft with fullsize kitchen, bathroom, and fullsize beds.
MAE Affordable housing is available within walking distance of the school.
MD The school's student services department arranges for student housing. Most out of state students stay in one of the school's partner hotels. In addition, the school offers economical student housing through a local provider. This form of accommodation places the student in a local apartment complex.
MTT Yes, housing is available within walking distance from the facility.

Job Placement Program:
AEI Yes, it offers a lifetime job placement assistance.
II Yes, a list of more than 400 companies is given to the student on the last day of class.
MAE Yes, lifetime job placement.
MD After graduation, the school's alumni department becomes the graduate's resource for retail store owner contacts from all over the U.S. The alumni department is often instrumental in securing a job for the schools graduates. In addition, the schools alumni website allows retail store owners to post job opportunities.
MTT Yes, it offers job placement assistance, as long as you meet the program qualifications.

Average Time To Find A Job After Graduation
AEI A few weeks.
II It will take two months, within six months to a year they will hold some type of management position.
MAE A 3-week externship program allows students to find employment right away.
MD 83 percent of the school's graduates got a job after graduating.81 percent of those that found a job were working within 90 days of graduating.78 percent of those finding work got a promotion within the first 12 months.25 percent went on to start their own businesses.
MTT It usually takes 1-3 weeks to set up an interview. After students are hired, it follows up with employers to check on student's progress.

School Specialities:
AEI Small class sizes, mostly hands on, and very passionate about what they do.
II First to offer a painting and welding class and remold or reshape ABS plastics. Also, a class focuses on structured wiring in a home.
MAE Accredited mobile electronics school offering a wide variety of finance options and externship program for real- life work experience.
MD Oldest school, campuses in U.S. and Canada, employs professionals as instructors, custom home integration, online training, and MECP basic and advanced certification.
MTT Students work on their own cars or school cars at no additional fees. Program offers a one-on-one learning environment.

So, if you are ready to build your dream system, or are interested in getting into the mobile electronics industry, now is the time to go to school. This will at least let you know what these schools have to offer, allow you to take a glance, and compare which school is cool for you.

CLASSES COVER THE FOLLOWING:
SCHOOL AEI II MAE MD MTT
Navigation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Satellite Radio Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Satellite TV No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fabrication Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Security Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MECP Testing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Home Audio Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Home Security Yes No No No No
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