I’m 18/female and considering going to school to be a automotive technician. I don’t know to much about cars but I’d really like to work with my hands and not behind a desk all day. I’m married, w/ my husband in the military, and looking to make a career for myself and bring in extra money. How is the pay and physical demand? I’d love any advice I can get. Thanks guys!
May I recommend the words of wisdom from Tom & Ray themselves on that subject matter?
My recommendation is to get training from a public institution, like a community college. Don’t go to a private school. They will leave you in a lot of debt, maybe without a job. You can get the same thing from a community college, but it will cost less, and they are held accountable by state rules and their accrediting body.
There are many ways to be an auto mechanic. A desk probably pays much better and has some advancement. So much more advancement that it is almost impossible to comprehend. Get rich first and then get training. Then give up and find a desk. Avoid auto repair at all costs.
Your garage will thank you.
InterestedInAuto, I think you will get similar advice from others, and it has nothing to do with your gender. The same advice has been given to young males in this forum interested in becoming mechanics.
You might want to stay out from behind a desk, and I understand that desire. However, most current and former mechanics will probably tell you not to expect to be treated with respect, even if you were a man.
If you are sure you want this career, I recommend you only work under an employer for a set amount of time. This way, you can learn as much as you can about the business and open your own shop. I once had the same plan for truck driving. Most companies treat their truck drivers like crap, so I was going to drive for a company for a year, get out, and buy my own truck. It didn’t work out that way, but it ended up being for the best.
It sounds to me like your desire to not get stuck behind a desk is more powerful than your interest in being a mechanic (please tell me if I am wrong). There are many careers to choose from where you don’t work behind a desk. Restaurant management is the first that comes to mind, but there are many others. At your age, you have a lot of options, and when I was your age, I enjoyed restaurant work, although I never moved up into management. Restaurant management is one career where you can move up without an education, but it works best if you can distinguish yourself in more than one position. You could start as a hostess, then train to be a waitress, land a promotion to bartender, and move into management from there, and for the most part, people will treat you with respect.
I’d try to become an Aircraft Mechanic. That wwork is cleaner and requires a lot of analytic ability as well as physical dexterity. The military has lots of them.
If I had a son the engouragement to become an auto mechanic would be hard to give too him BUT somebody has to do the job. I would not worry at all about resentment of a woman being in the shop. Last on the list to come around were the auto shops but they finally did.
That being said, in 35 years I never even knew somebody that knew a woman auto mechanic. The job is tremendously physical. Can you see your self picking up a 75lb tire and slapping it on a truck hub? even I did not like it (I am 6/1 220lbs and 400lb bench presses were not an issue). Now if the shop cuts you slack ( and limits your dispatch to on light work) because you don’t have the physical ability that could cause some resentment. Some of the most productive mechanics I ever new had quite a bit of atheletic ability and stamina. I am talking full on brute strenght (applied with discretion).
Training is a combination of teach yourself, community college, and employer provided (and the get real picky about who the send for training anymore).
Go get a job as a tire buster/oil changer some place (not Jiffy Lube) for a few months to see if you can stand the environment. Employers like Firestone, Pep Boys, Sears and Midas would be good for this initial experience. If you still have a desire to be a mechanic after that, then go get some training to advance your skills.
Before considering the field and any related schooling you should have at least a mild knack for solving mechanical problems. Graduation at the top of the class from a trade school does not a mechanic make.
Spending money on tools will be a lifelong process so factor that in. Most of it comes out of your pocket.
Pay? Iffy; there’s good weeks and bad weeks. Standing around twiddling your thumbs means you are making zero dollars as the work is commission based. Working for a new car dealer means warranty work and with warranty work you WILL be screwed to death as far as your paycheck goes.
The job is physical no doubt about that but the mental part is far tougher in my opinion. It’s a constant brain drain and when combined with the many frustrations in the day (many of them digging into your paycheck) it can make things pretty tense.
Being female you no doubt would have to put up with that certain amount of sexual harassment and condescension from other mechanics and even customers. Unfair maybe, but it’s a fact of life.
Would I recommend you go into this field? No. I think there are less stressful and more lucrative professions.
Just my opinion for what it’s worth.
Look into Nursing instead. More rewarding, write your own ticket, earn four times the money…
There are 280 different models of cars and trucks sold in the United States…But Humans come in only 2 different models. MUCH easier to work on…
Here is another wrinkle not mentioned by others. I am not a professional mechanic but have done enough to know that I would not like for long to come home dirty at the end of every work day with black grease under fingernails, dirt in hair, dirty clothes, etc.
Nursing is a good idea. I especially like the fact that you can go a lot farther in that profession than a lot of people think. Being a LVN (licensed vocational nurse) or LPN (licensed practicing nurse) is a lot of hard work, but RNs are higher up the food chain, and you can still go even higher if you want. I once met a hospice nurse who had a Ph.D. in nursing. Can you imagine being a nurse who is referred to as Dr. _____? I would make all the doctors call me Dr. Whitey.
How are aircraft mechanics paid? If they receive a salary or an hourly wage instead of a commission, that would be a big plus.
My former mechanic had a daughter who helped him out in their shop, She taught for a while at a local college and now works for a shop that gives her a spot on the radio. If it is what you want to do, do it. The physical demand includes the regular busted knuckles, back strains etc…
Had my spinal fusion in July, Doctor did a good job too, no loss of flexibility at all. I looked the bills over and Medicare and my supplemental put out close to $60,000 over the course of 2 years related to my back, Thanks all you tax payers.
It sure would be nice to hear from “InterestedinAuto”.
Nursing isn’t the right career for many. Neither is auto mechanics. A good friend, in her 50s, has been an RN for many years and enjoys it. She is paid quite well but some mechanics are able to equal her pay and the physical and mental stress on her is often very difficult. She enjoys changing her own oil and rotating the tires, etc., on days off, go figure.
If a young woman is talented mechanically and enjoys the “gear head” atmosphere it wouldn’t do any harm to take a closer look at the opportunities. A good community college would certainly be the best place to get started. And if you think mechanics get dirty just get a nurse to fill you in on what they face from day to day.
I know 4 people who have had spinal fusion, one being my wife, I am glad you are doing well!
Thanks for the “get well” waterboy. The nursing situation at times has me scratching my head, what I mean is at times you read about how so many more will be needed then while I was in the hospital the nurses told me how hard it was to get a job.
What I do know is that the spots in nursing schools are limited due to lack of instructors.
There’s no way I could ever be involved in the medical field. I have an extremely soft spot in my heart for kids and I don’t think seeing children who are abused, mangled in car wrecks, or suffering from terminal diseases is something I could take; at all.
Some of my various sore spots from over the years (and pretty much unknown as to whether the mechanic profession caused any of them) are 2 lower back surgeries, neck surgery for crushed spinal cord, major right shoulder surgery, and major knee surgery. Throw in 2 broken feet, left shoulder separation (twice), left elbow separation (twice), dislocated left ankle, a dislocated hip at one time, and it could make one think twice about wrangling car parts.
Reading your post OK4450 made me think,who paid? what I mean is I have a friend who works for an Auto Nation Dealerhip. This friend has worked for the same Dealership for 15 years but only about 3 under Auto nation. Well my friend needed an emergency apendectomy and even with full insurance from this job it still cost him about $4000.00. I think it is pretty sad as to the level of what qualifies for having medical insurance.
In 1997 I needed a hernia repaired and the insurance from the Dealership I was at paid 100%. Perhaps this is a demonstration of how medical insurance has been modified as the years go by. My hernia was caused by pushing cars. We had 7 men need hernia repairs in about an 18 month period. After all these days off the Dealership finally broke down and bought a electric car pusher. My injury did not fall under workmans comp, most likely because I never pursued it.
We can tie this in back to the OP’s question by this demonstration of low quality benifits.