This coupled with the reluctance of today’s generation to strap themselves with a dirty job that requires massive amounts of hard work and education will continue to shrink the availability of people to repair cars.
The good news for those that are willing to accept the challenge is that they should have their pick of jobs almost anywhere in the country. This will also add a level of flexibility if relocation is required or desired.
A good example is I find myself in the state of Florida turning wrenches for local government. After spending most of my automotive career working in the state of New Jersey I never saw me moving to Florida.
I found the Florida job opening in a local New Jersey newspaper. The ad stated come to the sunny state of Florida and live, play, and work on the Gulf Coast. Relocation assistance is available for good mechanics.
I answered the ad and submitted my application. The local county paid for me to fly down for an interview and a drug test.
I went back to New Jersey and didn’t hear from them for three months. When they finally contacted me they stated that the job was mine if I wanted it. They would also pay to have my automotive tools shipped and assist with relocation expenses.
In my 25 year automotive career this was the single most important decision that I have ever made. I have absolutely no regrets about leaving my friends and family behind for this new position.
Good mechanics have choices
Even in a down economy there are many positions available for mechanics that are able to use diagnostic tools and are willing to relocate. Many of these positions are available in large cities and very desirable locations. The larger the population of a given area means the more availability of cars that will need to be fixed.
A certified mechanic with some experience is currently experiencing some of the lowest unemployment rates of any roll up your sleeves and get dirty field. Sure it’s not as affluent to be a mechanic as it is to be a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. The pay is also nowhere near what it is for these positions.
With the average certified technician making between 40 and $70,000 a year, it is not a field that will make you rich. But the steadiness of the employment and being able to count on reliable income makes it a good choice for a growing family.
Good diagnostic skills makes the mechanic
The primary reason some technicians are unable to fix a particular problem is simply that they cannot find the cause of the malfunction. Today’s vehicles are complex which means that a great amount of knowledge and understanding is required to diagnose them.
Good mechanics will have good diagnostic skills. The technician who can identify and solve the car problem the first time the vehicle is brought in for service, will find that their reputation alone for problem solving lets them call the shots on where and when they want to be employed.
I myself complain a lot about the shortfalls of the auto repair industry. It is human nature to focus on the negatives and gloss over the positives. I am extremely guilty of this process. But as I looked around the room at my 25th high school reunion, I realized that I was not in such a bad position.
For the last 25 years I have been an excellent provider for me and my family. Although the car industry has had ups and downs, employment was still available for good mechanics as people decided to hold onto and repair old vehicles instead of buying new ones.
The same cannot be said for more than 50% of my high school graduating class. Many of these people had earned extremely large incomes but for short periods of time. It may be better to make $50,000 a year for 25 years then to have made 100,000 for just three or four years.
Becoming a good mechanic takes a lot of effort and may not be right for everybody. The job is backbreaking work and can be extremely frustrating. It can also provide a steady income. The individual will have to decide whether a career in the auto repair business is right for them.
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