Automobile mechanics and technicians are a vital part of society today, but many people lack the skills necessary to become one. The jobs will always be there for those willing to take on such an important profession. Here’s how you can get started in this field!
If you are looking to become an auto mechanic, there are a few steps that you can take. First, you should get some experience in the field. Then, you will need to find a school that offers training for your desired career. After completing the training, it is time for the job search. You can also use online resources such as Monster or Indeed to find jobs in your area of interest. Read more in detail here: how to become an auto mechanic with no experience.
Last year, we published a series of pieces championing the merits of skilled vocations and debunking their fallacies. While we were able to cover a lot of territory, there wasn’t enough material to provide a comprehensive overview of all the many professions available to males. As a complement to our So You Want My Job series, we’re publishing monthly editions of So You Want My Trade: interviews that give you an inside look at the benefits and drawbacks of different blue collar jobs.
Men used to tinker with cars; a few decades ago, you could lift the hood, diagnose the issue, and repair it yourself. That’s a lot more difficult nowadays. Cars are equipped with computers and sophisticated casings that make it difficult for the typical person to operate on them. Knowing your automobile components and fixing what’s broken is no longer enough to be an automotive technician; you also need to be able to identify what’s wrong in the first place. You’ll need to know your way around a computer, be able to communicate well with others, and not be afraid to get your hands filthy; it’ll need a little bit of everything. Jesse Adams spoke with us about his ever-changing profession.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the vehicle repair business.
Jesse Adams is my name. Mike Smith Toyota Scion, a Toyota dealership in Paducah, Kentucky, employs me as an automotive mechanic. I was born in a little hamlet approximately an hour east of Nashville, Tennessee, twenty-five years ago. That’s when things got a little hairy. At first, I just shattered items, such as toys, picture frames, and chairs…all on purpose, of course. When I was four years old, my family relocated to Mayfield, Kentucky. Around the same time, I transitioned from breaking things to actively dismantling them. I got into no less problems with my parents as a result of it, but I like seeing how things function. I’d disassemble whatever I could get my hands on, from basic toys to more intricate items like clocks. I improved my disassembly skills as I got older, and it wasn’t long until I didn’t have anything left to deconstruct. Worse, I didn’t have any toys with which to entertain myself. That’s when I realized I should probably reassemble some of the items. I still haven’t figured out how to make the clock function.
Working with my father gave me some experience in a variety of trades as I got older. He’s an electrician, but he’s also done all of our family’s house repairs and building work. My father did practically anything, from fixing copper pipes to constructing a deck and installing everything electrical. When the automobile had a misfire, though, it was sent to a repair. That caught my attention. Not to add that every cool man on TV is or was a mechanic (e.g. The Fonz). As a result, my plans for a career in the automobile business started to take form.
2. How did you go about becoming a mechanic? What type of certificates and training did you require?
I didn’t have the opportunity to take any automotive courses in high school, but I believed that everything I could learn would benefit me in some manner later in life. In a variety of courses, I studied a variety of disciplines. I received a 4.0 GPA and was valedictorian of my class. I elected to attend Nashville Auto Diesel College after graduating from high school, where I also maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Some individuals opt to enter the car repair profession without any formal education and rely only on on-the-job training. Those that do are now at a disadvantage. In today’s autos, computers, networks, and electronics need more than just a mechanic. These non-mechanical complicated systems may be diagnosed and repaired by technicians, who can also do the duties of a mechanic. In many domains, a lack of knowledge may be very harmful. That’s why I decided to get some training.
I studied not just mechanical systems like brakes, engines, gearboxes, and so on at Nashville Auto Diesel College, but also the electronics that power them. I worked at a tire business at this time, basically putting up tires and mopping the shop. Just getting my foot in the door was enough. After I graduated from high school, I began changing oil, rotating, and replacing tires. That is the first job that everyone takes. Every day, you’re coated in grease and grime; it’s tedious and uninteresting. Slowly but steadily, you acquire your employer’s trust and expertise, and you progress to braking and maintenance work. Then you start working on engines and gearboxes, diagnosing and correcting sounds and vibrations, changing gaskets and water pumps, and even ripping them down. You start diagnosing check engine lights and electrical issues about the same time, utilizing computers, scanners, voltmeters, and other instruments to figure out which sensors or cables have failed.
Technicians acquire certificates as they advance in their careers to demonstrate to their employers and clients that they know what they’re doing. Many major chains, as well as automobile manufacturers, provide mandatory training and certifications for their personnel. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence also offers industry-standard qualifications. They provide examinations to certify technicians in a variety of fields. I have all of mine save the transmission certificates, which I despise working on. But I’ll just put up with it and acquire them later this year.
3. Give us an example of a typical work day.
For me, a typical work day begins a few minutes late. I’m not a morning person, but I’m trying to improve. However, after a cup or three of coffee, a service adviser or dispatcher issues a repair order. There will be a list of customer complaints to address on that repair order. Most of the time, it’s a simple oil change, tire rotation, or brake noise, or anything similar. However, there are instances when it becomes a bit more intriguing, such as when the client applies the brakes and the horn sounds. In any case, client complaints and demands are addressed appropriately, and the car is usually inspected.
Many consumers believe that this examination is merely a ruse to get the repair business to offer them additional services and take more money. That isn’t the case at all. When a mechanic inspects a car, he or she may observe which components are worn or might cause harm to other parts. Preventing component failures before they occur saves the owner money in the long term by avoiding unneeded harm.
If any problems are discovered during the inspection, they are relayed to the client, along with any diagnostics that were necessary for additional concerns. If a client chooses to repair the car, you will have the opportunity to disassemble it, replace or repair parts, and then reassemble it. When a repair order is completed, the car is returned to the client, and I get another repair order, repeating the process.
Sometimes it’s simple, and other times it takes sixty hours. The largest project I’ve ever worked on was replacing the frames on a few pickup trucks. The bed, cab, engine, gearbox, differentials, steering and suspension elements, and much more are all removed. It mainly entails dismantling and reconstructing the vehicle. On the other hand, I might only need to replace a bulb or wiper blades. The majority of a Toyota dealership’s labor consists of routine maintenance and minor repairs, such as replacing oxygen sensors or replacing emissions lines that have been eaten through by a mouse.
4. How do you go about looking for job as a mechanic? What is the state of the employment market? Are you a member of a labor union?
It’s not difficult to get employment as a mechanic. Most organizations would accept a résumé, although qualified technicians might be difficult to come by in certain regions. In general, the more educated and qualified a technician is, the more likely they are to get recruited. I’ve never worked in a union workplace, but I’m sure there are such. Professional technicians in certain places are also required to have a state certification. Because this isn’t available in Kentucky, I don’t have any experience with it.
5. How much money can an automobile mechanic make?
A technician’s earning potential is all over the place. The company you work for, the city or town you live in, and the amount of effort you put in all have a role. Dealerships may not pay much, but the working circumstances are often superior – most of the specialist equipment needed for that make of automobile are given, and there is the option to specialize further. Independent shops may pay a little better, but the hours are likely to be longer, the equipment may not be as up to date, and working on all makes of cars might be more challenging. Most individuals may expect to earn minimum pay as an oil changer, maybe a little more. You may earn a higher hourly rate as you advance in your career and obtain more experience. However, at that time, the flat-rate system will have played a part, and work ethic will be the most important determinant of yearly wages. Some of the industry’s top technicians may earn six figures, but I’d guess the average is closer to $40k-$50k.
6. How do you strike a work-life balance in your profession?
Work/life balance, in my perspective, is always somewhat skewed toward work. I could grumble even if I just worked an hour a week. I do, however, have plenty of time to go camping, fishing, or binge-watching Netflix with my wife. That implies I shouldn’t grumble too much, I think. On weekdays, I work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and every third Saturday, I work a somewhat shorter day, but I have a day off during the week. It’s typically simple to schedule vacations or even sick days. Other jobs I’ve had haven’t been as enjoyable. I’ve worked jobs ranging from fifty to sixty hours a week, six days a week. Because many things in the automobile repair sector aren’t standardized, many things differ from job to job.
7. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Disassembly, reassembly, identifying faults, and assisting individuals provide satisfaction. Working with your hands to remove pieces and utilizing a variety of tools to do a variety of tasks are both enjoyable in their own right. These physical duties become much more satisfying when combined with problem-solving utilizing your intellect. It makes you feel like Superman when you return what you’ve diagnosed and mended to the person who owns it and is overjoyed that their baby has been fixed.
The major reason I picked this career is because of that gratification. When I’m faced with a critical choice, I prefer to consider it from the perspective of my dying bed. I could look back on my life as an auto mechanic and everything associated to it and be happy of what I had accomplished repairing automobiles for people if I were an elderly guy in a hospital about to die. That is something that some individuals would not be able to express.
Most people didn’t understand why I chose a trade school over other institutions where I could have received a free ride. However, many people are perplexed as to why so many university graduates are jobless and unable to repay their student loan debt. I reasoned that no matter where you reside or what economic situation you’re in, you’ll always need to have your car maintained. Aside from that, automobile technology is a rapidly evolving sector that provides the ideal outlet for my disassembly obsession. I could have earned more money as a businessperson, but that would not have compensated for the happiness I get from my work.
8. What is the most difficult aspect?
The labor you perform as a technician takes a toll on your body over time. That is the aspect of my job that I despise the most. My hands, back, and knees sometimes pain, and I know it won’t get any better.
9. What is the most common misunderstanding about your job?
Many people believe mechanics and technicians aren’t particularly intelligent. Mechanics and technicians, in fact, have critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that are superior to the majority of individuals. When a car makes a noise or flashes a warning light, it’s like solving a riddle. We have a few hints at best before we start looking for the source of the issue. Not only do we need these talents, but we also need to understand how each vehicle’s systems function so that we can figure out not just what occurred, but why it happened. Technicians are intelligent, well-informed, mechanically minded individuals who take joy from assisting others and keeping the world moving by fixing and maintaining cars.
The “auto mechanic school near me” is a way for people to learn the skills needed to become an auto mechanic/technician. The process of becoming one can be difficult and takes time, but it is worth it in the end.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a vehicle technician?
A: Vehicle technicians typically have a two year degree in automotive or mechanical engineering, or else they need to complete an apprenticeship and go through several years of training while holding down full-time employment.
How do you become an automotive technician?
A: It is not possible to become an automotive technician in the United States without a license. There are some states that allow new technicians to work as apprentices, but it all depends on your state requirements and what type of school you want to attend.
Do automotive technicians make good money?
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