Is Automotive School Worth It?

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Love working with cars? Enjoy working with your hands? If you’re a car buff looking for a new career path, automotive school could be for you! Automotive jobs can be varied, but working as a mechanic gives you an opportunity to get your hands dirty solving puzzles and fixing issues with your customers’ cars.

Here, we take a quick snapshot of what mechanics do, where they work, what qualities they have, and what they get paid. Keep reading to find out more—and then let the Imagine America Foundation help you find the right training program for you!

What do automotive mechanics do?

Automotive mechanics and technicians work on cars (and some trucks or other vehicles) for purposes of inspection, maintenance, and repair. They test and diagnose issues, perform routine maintenance (like oil changes, tire rotation, and brake service), and making repairs. Technicians may also work in specialized areas, such as with transmissions, brakes, or air-conditioning systems.

Automotive repair may be simple scheduled fixes or complicated urgent issues. Technicians are trained so they can handle issues from either extreme!

Where do automotive mechanics work?

They can work anywhere that cars are found! Mechanics and technicians often work in car dealerships, repair shops, retail shops for automotive parts and accessories, or as independent or contract workers. They may work standard business hours, but overtime and work in the evenings and on weekends can be common. Mechanics may also work at specialized shops for foreign cars, performance vehicles, or other unique autos.

States with the highest concentration of automotive technicians and mechanics were Maine, Vermont, and Montana in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What qualities should an automotive mechanic have?

Good mechanics have a solid understanding of the operation, maintenance, and repair of the vehicles they work on. They should also have excellent communication skills, in order to share information and repair plans with both their customers and their fellow mechanics. Car mechanics often like solving puzzles: motor vehicles are complex machines that sometimes need complex solutions or a lot of digging to find the root issue. Many car owners notice something is wrong, but don’t have the patience or the knowledge to figure out exactly what is happening—let alone how to fix it! This is where a technician should be ready to jump in.

How much do automotive mechanics get paid?

In 2016, automotive service technicians and mechanics had a median salary of about $38,400 per year, according to the BLS. Their statistics show that the highest paid mechanics worked at dealerships, rather than repair or retail shops. The BLS projects jobs for auto mechanics to grow at a rate of about 6 percent between 2016 and 2026 (which is about as fast as the average for all occupations).

The states with the highest-paid mechanics in 2016 were, according to the BLS, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Maryland (with annual mean wages between $47,000 and $64,000).

 

 

If you’ve got a thing for cars and you like to work with your hands, working as an automotive mechanic or technician might be your dream job! There are career training programs all over the country that can help get you ready for work in this field and to prepare you to achieve certifications or other credentials in specialized areas. IAF has a directory of automotive schools and training programs [link to https://www.imagine-america.org/automotive-schools-training-scholarships/] to help you find the right place to start on your new path!

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