If you want to work on cars for a living you’ll find it necessary to review auto mechanic training programs before you embark on the journey. In this article we’ll talk about three completely different paths available for those interested in a career as an automotive technician. In addition, we’ll talk about some of the major advantages and disadvantages of these auto mechanic training programs.
Keep in mind, you’ll need more than a casual love for the automobile to enjoy a career turning wrenches for a retail auto repair shop. In fact, you might be interested in discovering the downsides of being an auto mechanic before signing up for a two year or longer training program. We also provide a relevant article about how much an auto mechanic gets paid. Both of those articles are written by a retired auto mechanic.
As an auto mechanic myself, I can tell you that the upside to a career in this field remains high demand and job security. Although driver-less cars are coming down the pike, automobiles that fix themselves are much further away. Therefore, in my professional opinion, the demand for auto mechanics will remain strong for the foreseeable future. As we enter this new age of disappearing jobs, automotive technicians should have no problem finding gainful employment.
Types of Auto Mechanic Training
Before we start talking about auto mechanic training programs, let’s talk about the different paths a student can take. Automotive technicians in training can enroll in campus based, hands-on, general knowledge programs that cover all makes and models. Thanks to heavy advertising budgets these types of schools remain the most popular choice among young mechanics.
In these kinds of educational environments, students learn general skills they can apply to all automobiles. Cyberspace offers online universities that also offer general training programs. We’ll talk more about them in the second section. In the last section we’ll discuss factory based automotive training. This is the route that I took. However, let’s talk about the brick-and-mortar based general hands-on training first.
General Knowledge Training Programs
Hands on type schools like the Universal technical Institute prepare auto mechanics to work for repair facilities that diagnose and fix all makes and models. With that said, this school allows students to participate in additional training that focuses on other skill areas. Some of the more popular courses include motorcycle diagnosis and repair or specialized courses in diesel mechanic studies.
The advantage of campus type auto mechanic training programs remains the direct supervision from trained professionals. Some campus based automotive facilities offer highly specialized training. As an example, a career in the body shop or collision repair industry.
Finally, those looking for highly specialized training can find classes that focus on the marine industry, industrial welding training and even NASCAR pit crew programs. Although we’ve talked about one particular school there’s other facilities that offer similar training. A friend of mine started his career at an operation called Lincoln Technical Institute. Since these are hands on schools, the one you choose often becomes a geographical decision.
Online General Automotive Training
You can learn to do just about anything online. Fixing cars is included in this web-based alternative method of training. As you might suspect, I feel this type of program offers less value than the other types of auto mechanic training programs. With that said, this doesn’t mean I feel these type of schools offer no value. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
These online learning facilities offer comprehensive automotive training without the benefit of hands-on experience. However, the price tag becomes a small fraction of the costs associated with the other programs throughout this article. This allows students to dive in and start learning without a major investment. This online opportunity provides students the ability to see if an auto mechanic career is right for them.
The dropout rate of those interested in auto mechanic training programs remains high. I can say that many discover that the automobile is more complex then they had originally thought. They also might find the physical labor involved unattractive. Major engine or transmission repair is not for the faint of heart. Online general automotive training gives them a chance to bail out without losing a large investment. These online students obtain a leg up on the competition if they decide to further their education using conventional hands-on training.
Specialized Factory Auto Mechanic Training
Before discussing the specialized factory auto mechanic training, let me disclose that I’m a graduate of the General Motors sponsored ASEP (Automotive Service Educational Program) course. They offer this particular training program at local community colleges. This type of training isn’t right for everyone because it is manufacturer specific. Throughout the entire program, we only learned about and worked on General Motors automobiles.
In addition, I became sponsored by a Pontiac dealer’s service department. The ASEP program remains a standard co-op training course where you work at a dealership after six hours of schooling. Earning money while you learn about cars becomes the main advantage of a co-op type program. Unfortunately, limited employment possibilities remain one of the downsides of factory supplied automotive service training.
As far as I know General Motors was the first car company to start this type of program. However, now almost all of the major car companies offer this type of specialized training. The Ford Motor Company and the Chrysler Corporation offer some of the more popular and well run programs available today. With that said, those interested in working on foreign cars also have a wide range of choices. Volvo offers complete paid training through their SAFE (Service Automotive Factory Education) program. And If Japanese cars interest you, learn more about the Toyota Technician Training Network.