In the old days, almost anyone could repair a car. I had just opened the hood and everything was there: the spark plugs, belts, radiator, oil pump, and other engine components were in full view. The cars were simple and easy to repair, and you could spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon making the old Chevy Camaro purr like a kitten (or roar like a lion, if you prefer).
Not now! Today’s vehicles have sophisticated computers and power systems that include flexible fuels and hybrids of gas and electricity. Open the hood and you may not see much that the layman would recognize. Not many people can fix their own cars these days because the vehicles are too complex. They have to take their car to a qualified technician.
Automotive service technicians must have extensive knowledge of the design and interplay of increasingly complex vehicle components. They must be able to work with both older hand tools and advanced electronic diagnostic equipment. They must be able to quickly learn new technologies and keep up with the rapid rate of change in the automotive industry.
Good career prospects
If you are a qualified auto, truck, or diesel technician, you may have good career prospects. According to the U.S. Government Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), from 2008 to 2018, automotive service technician and mechanic job opportunities are expected to be good for those who have automotive training from higher education.
Total job openings should increase due to overall job growth and because many skilled technicians are expected to retire. The job opportunities for automotive technicians and mechanics are expected to be very good for those who complete post-secondary automotive training programs and attain ASE certification.
Get the right training
But you can’t just start a career as an automotive service technician. Getting the proper training can be important. Even for entry-level jobs, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification has become a standard credential for automotive service technicians. To prepare for certification, many training authorities recommend that students complete a formal training program in high school or a postsecondary vocational school or community college.
You may want to start with a service specialty. Certification can be earned in eight different areas of automotive service, including engine repair, suspension and steering, brake systems, electrical systems, and heating and air conditioning. Once you’ve started your career, employers may send their technicians to manufacturer-sponsored technician training programs to improve or maintain their skills. Sometimes technicians focus on one make of car or truck. Manufacturers also send experts to visit repair shops to provide brand-specific training.
How to Find an Automotive Training School
Here’s how to get started. Log into a reputable college directory website, like the one below. By using your zip code, you will be able to get free information on automotive training schools in your area. Compare schools and find out which ones offer flexible hours, financial aid for those who qualify, manufacturer sponsorship, and career guidance services. Then contact the schools that work for you. In just a few minutes, you could be on your way to training for a rewarding career as an automotive technician.