You don’t learn to drive a car by reading the owner’s manual–and you can’t learn to maintain and repair vehicles by reading a textbook.
In life, there is simply no substitute for practical experience. That’s why it’s important for aspiring automotive service technicians and mechanics to gain hands-on experience while they’re earning their learning their craft.
Sure, you still need to crack the books. After all, understanding business management, finances, customer service, the importance of effective communication and inventory management will help you build both businesses and careers. But rolling up your sleeves, getting under the hood and getting hands-on experience is what will help land that first job.
Putting yourself in a position to stand out from the other applicants requires practical wisdom, which means you’re going to want to gain both knowledge and skills before you start applying for jobs. The good news is that you can acquire both by enrolling in an auto mechanic school that focuses on both the practical aspects of automotive maintenance and repair as well as the business side of the career.
Yes, those schools are out there. Here’s how to find them:
Consider the Curriculum
As an aspiring automotive service technician or mechanic, you already know that vehicles are complex. You’ll need to understand how all of the pieces and parts–from the engine to the electronic components to the technology to the steering system–work and work together.
Enrolling in a program built on curriculum that walks you through each part of the modern (and not-so-modern) vehicle is a good place to start. After all, if you don’t know what you’re looking at when the car is on the lift, you won’t know where to begin when it comes to maintaining or repairing it.
And speaking of maintenance and repair, make sure the curriculum specifically provides opportunities for you to get your hands dirty. If the curriculum is all about book learning, you’re likely going to miss out on an opportunity to put into practice the things you’re learning about in the classroom.
Look at the Lab
Today’s automotive service center’s are more high-tech labs than garages. Sure, you’ll still find all of the tools of the trade that have been used for generations. In addition to the wrenches, breaker bars, screwdrivers and drills you’re going to find advanced computerized systems used for diagnostics, on-board digital technology, sensors, and scanners.
Yes, today’s aspiring automotive service professionals need to know a lot more than previous generations. That’s why it’s important to look for a program that has a state-of-the-art training lab that includes modern test equipment, specialized tools and, yes, wrenches, breaker bars, screwdrivers and drills.
Programs that understand what it takes to prepare students for success in the real world are willing to invest in the best equipment, which allows you to gain skills by practicing and putting your knowledge to work on real vehicles.
Find a Fit
You already know that you want to embark on a career as an automotive service technician or mechanic. You know that gaining practical wisdom (the combination of knowledge and practical experience) will give you a leg up on the competition. You know that a well-rounded curriculum combined with access to a full-service training lab will allow you to gain practical wisdom.
Now you need to find a program that is a good fit for you–one that will prepare you for a successful career. The jobs are out there. In addition, there is an urgent need for qualified applicants who have the knowledge and skills to use high-tech tools in the shop.
So spending some time finding a school that offers hands-on experience in a high-tech lab is worth it.
Is ATI Right for You?
If you would like to explore an auto mechanic school in Virginia that will give you opportunities to go beyond the textbook, Advanced Technology Institute offers an Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Automotive Technology. Connect with us today to learn more.