Here you can get into a Vocational High School program for Auto repair and move on to one of the nearby Technical schools for further training, Ford has training programs with at least two here in Washington state, one offers Hybrid training among other areas.
No experience on how to get the needed education for car repair, but I expect the community college route is probably among the best methods. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel though, go to a few shops and ask where the techs got their car repair education. You may discover most of them learned on the job rather than at a school. If so, do it that way.
I think that’s a great field to go into if you think you’d enjoy it. Can’t be outsourced. Cars are densely hi-tech laden these days, so you’ll have to be able to handle STEM topics such as basic science, physics, and computer technology. No need to be an expert in those, but this probably isn’t the job for you if you just don’t like those subjects.
Success in most anything involves one trait: consistently showing up for work every day, on time, with a good, positive ‘how can I best help?’ attitude. Present this attitude both to your managers, and to the shop’s customers. You’re there to help them solve their problems to the best of your ability, and no other reason. No matter how good you become at repairing cars, don’t ever forget that.
It’s a little early in your career for this last part, but as you go forward in your career, start thinking of ways you can become the owner of your own shop rather than an employee. For example there are many Sears auto repair shops that are now sitting unused. If you can figure out a way to lease or even buy one of those, you could be the owner of a very nice place for your own garage. You’ll need investors or help from a bank, so figure out ways to make these folks introductions. If you do a good job repairing their cars for example, that will be a plus for you come time you need their help.
Another idea that might make sense for you is to become highly specialized. Automatic transmissions for example. Or electrical/computer diagnostics. Or specializing on a specific make/model of car, like a Corolla or Civic, b/c there are so many of them. Somebody owning a Civic then would be quite pleased to know you only work on Civics, as you’ll be an expert on their very car.
Best of luck.
I know my nephews experience with the local tech school was good. I don’t know if it was for profit or even run by the state. I do know it wasn’t part of the community college system. If he went there he would have been required to take a few English and Math and history courses which he did not want
What do the pros around here think? I’d think (well, guess) that getting the two-year degree would help in making car repair a career, improving the potential to move into other jobs at the dealership or shop, if desired.
Not all CC in Florida made the switch to state colleges because they don’t all offer bachelor degrees.
The only downside to public programs is that they usually take longer than the for-profit schools. The private schools want to get you out as fast as possible to open the seat up for the next student.
Did not know that, thought all Florida CCs changed their names. Though I still have a hard time referring to BCC as EFSC!
That’s not really a downside though. The other way of looking at it is “the public schools teach you what you need to know to actually get a job and be competent at it rather than the minimum they can possibly get away with.”
I’m old, but not a pro, at 52 I had an opportunity to make a career change. I took an associates at our local community college for automotive. The Auto courses were excellent and like I said said before gave me all the knowledge that I would need to be a master at Auto repairs after I gained real time experience. Worked in the field for 2 years and found a very well paying job out of the field. My Associates degree played a part in aquiring this job. If I was younger I might of stayed in the trade, but by the time I would be successful would be close to retirement. An Associates will give you more opportunities in the future. Again, I really believe secondary education is a must, but couple that with 2 to 4 years experience and some drive, you will go far.
I’m also int he area. I think the local Mercedes dealer hires 1 or 2 graduates from the program a year at a nice salary. But I suspect this isn’t available for mybeats123 since he didn’t mention it as an option.
It’s a downside if you want to start earning ASAP. It’s also a downside if the private school does a better job of catering to working students by offering night classes, but the community college classes are offered during the day.
I’m going to come out strongly AGAINST UTI . . . aka Universal Technical Institute . . . with a few possible exceptions
They are definitely for-profit . . . very big profit, as a matter of fact
They are a feeder program for Mercedes-Benz dealerships, possibly some other brands, as well
Anyways, many of the young guys that showed up at the dealerships, supposedly ready to work, clearly didn’t receive a very good education, in spite of the fact that they’d completed the program at UTI, then moved on to a Benz specific training program, before showing up at the dealership.
There were some exceptions, but generally I feel what I said is accurate
One of the exceptions I’m speaking of is the one guy I know who got an Associate degree from UTI, but I believe it’s not offered at most of their campuses. In this case, it was an an associate degree in heavy duty diesel. This guy was a whiz at anything concerning front end and alignment.
Another exception was a guy who didn’t get an associate degree, just the regular certificate. He was very good, not because of UTI, but because he was probably a genius, when it came to electrical. Those kind of guys will always shine, even if their education/training was mediocre.
I don’t know if this is still going on, but in the past UTI head hunters were filling classrooms . . . and apparently getting a commission on each body they signed up . . . by outright lying to the kids, telling them fanciful tales of earning six figures as soon as they showed up at the dealership. They told them they’d be raking in money hand over fist, and every dealership would be fighting each other to get them.
Far from the truth. They showed up with a woefully inadequate education, few tools and a massive debt. They also quickly learned that the tales of that easy money were just that, tales. And they also learned they’d need to spend a lot of money on tools, probably every week, while still paying off their loans, paying rent, etc.
Not surprisingly, the highest turnover I saw was among those who came from UTI. It’s natural for mechanics to jump ship to another shop, if that other shop pays more. But many of the UTI graduates left the field entirely after just 1 or 2 years, to work in construction, real estate, etc.
The guys that seem to be consistently good are the ones that got their automotive training at the local community colleges.
I realize what I said pretty much mirrors what the others have already said, but if it strengthens somebody else’s argument, so be it
This is a school that chooses to name itself after a Urinary Tract Infection.
That should tell you everything you need to know about UTI.
I have a friend who had a repair shop he ran on the side. Great guy and service. His daughter helped him out, went to community college, got the papers, then became a teacher at the same community college. Just saying there is not necessarily only one door when you get that piece of paper.
Just throwing in a bit of negativity here…
School does not make a mechanic in most cases. A person needs to have a bit of mechanical inclination. It’s no different from someone taking guitar lessons. Some take to it like a duck to water and others still suck after 10 years of lessons.
At a dealership level you will run into all kinds of promises (vague and broken…) along with politics, backstabbing, BS, and company policies designed by total morons.
That’s the whole idea behind school. A GOOD school is first going to accept kids they think can do the work. Lot tougher for these types of schools. The second is to have good testing for competency on what they were taught. If they didn’t pick it up, then they fail.
There are many things that make a good mechanic. Good schooling is one of the necessary things. Can someone be a good mechanic without schooling? Certainly, but it is a longer and harder row to hoe.
Having worked with several maintenance mechanics, two areas where school can help are with communication and computer technology.
Our maintenance mechanics’ mistakes weren’t usually caused by a lack of mechanical skill or aptitude; they were a matter of miscommunication, and I’ve seen mechanics flourish and grow thanks to technical skills not related to mechanical repair or maintenance, such as learning about how to manage building automation systems with a personal computer.
The thing to consider is that, in many professional environments, you’re just one member of a team, and if your skill set is exclusively based on what you can do (rather than how well you communicate with your team members), you’re not going to get that promotion to maintenance supervisor.
Often, the differences between a maintenance mechanic who gets promoted to maintenance supervisor and the one who doesn’t are (A) education, and (B) ability to work with team members by communicating well. I’ve seen this first hand, and it breaks my heart to see a hard working long-term employee who does his job without complaining get passed up for a promotion in favor of someone who has been on the job for a few short years because the long-term employee didn’t bother to take advantage of free education and training opportunities offered by his employer.
There are different levels of auto repair. New cars will be diagnosed by computer and the repairs will be performed by trained technicians. For older cars, check out Youtube to see what you might be getting into.
That’s a common misconception. You can pull the trouble codes from the computer, but an experienced mechanic will still need to interpret those codes and use his or her brain to figure out what is wrong.
…and when the day comes that a computer can diagnose a hard-to-find electrical problem, I will happily bow down to my computer overlords, but we’re not even close to that yet.
For example, look at the infamous P0420 trouble code. It could mean you have a bad catalytic converter, but it could also mean you have a bad oxygen sensor or two, or that there is something wrong with your MAF sensor or a problem with your air/fuel mixture being too rich. A hack will just start throwing parts at it. An incompetent hack will start with the most expensive part rather than a cheap part. A competent mechanic knows he still has work to do once he pulls that code.
You may not like this idea but have you considered the military? If you sign up now while still in your senior year of high school you can request the field of interest you want to pursue. A good friend of mine did that and ended up working in fiber optics after leaving the Air Force. I know other guys who got their engineering degrees while in the military (my brother was one). You will also get credit for the early sign up so in essence you could be out of the service in 3.5 years instead of 4.