Some people are mechanically inclined, learning how to perform repairs on their own vehicles and by just tinkering or watching others do it. In the old days, before so many automobile parts became computerized, there was a whole cottage industry of “shade tree mechanics,” who did repairs for small sums, without formal training.
These days, it’s a little more difficult to find untrained mechanics who can perform adequate vehicle repairs. The best mechanics need to know a lot more than they ever did before.
Will an Automotive Program Open Doors for You as a Mechanic?
If you’re an inexperienced but would-be mechanic, you may be wondering which is the best route to go — get hired at an entry-level job as an apprentice, or get some grounding in the field by enrolling in an automotive program.
You can go either way. Most likely, at minimum, an employer will require all prospects to have a high school diploma. It’s helpful if you can prove you have some aptitude for automobile repair, but that can be a little difficult to do if you’ve never had a job or haven’t gone to automotive school. But you may well find someone willing to take you on as an apprentice and to sponsor earning certifications.
But what are the advantages of enrolling in an automotive course at a college? Here are some things to consider.
- An automotive technology program should give you a good foundation in auto mechanics, so that you thoroughly understand the principles behind the internal combustion machine, and other automotive systems such as brakes, electrical systems, and others. You will probably also learn about tools an auto technician uses, as well as best safety practices.
- An auto technician program generally teaches you not just how to be an auto mechanic, but how to be a technician — that is, someone who is adept with the technology involved in repairing today’s more sophisticated automobiles.
- A degree in automotive technology could help you get a job faster. Earning a college degree shows that you’ve put some effort into learning the fundamentals of automotive technology. You may not be ready to be a full-fledged mechanic or technician, but a degree could show that you’re ready to be hired as an apprentice, and ready for more sophisticated training.
- Education in the auto tech field can give the student a good training for the future, when you pursue important certifications in the automotive field, such as the Automotive Service Excellence series of exams, which help determine the skill level of a mechanic.
- Although the instruction in an auto tech program will move fast and you will need to stay organized and keep up with your assignments, learning in a classroom environment will give you the space you need to become proficient at your vocation without the pressure that comes when you’re employed at a place of business. A classroom environment will allow you to absorb and reinforce the information you need to be successful in your profession. In addition, you will be learning under the tutelage of a knowledgeable professional who can answer your questions as they arise and help explain the science behind automotive principles, as well as the complexities of different automotive systems.
- Enrolling in a college program offers you the chance to improve your communication skills — a must for dealing with customers and with employers. This is of particular importance if you’re interested in some day becoming a manager or running your own business. You should also check out the electives you’re supposed to take with your program. Courses in communications, basic business, and math can be a real boost to your career.
- An auto tech course can familiarize students with the opportunities that are open to them in the automotive field. Learning about these opportunities helps you to decide if you want to specialize in a particular make of car, for instance, or become an expert at a certain type of automotive system. You may also learn about opportunities to network with prospective employers who can help you advance.
- A well-equipped auto tech lab will provide you with the best setting for learning. You will have all the resources you need while you study and practice on engines and vehicles. Be sure to check out the facilities at the school you plan to enroll in. Ask the director of the program to show you the tools and other equipment. You want to enroll in a program where the facilities are up to date and where everything functions properly.
If you’re thinking of enrolling in an automotive technician program, why not call Advanced Technology Institute and ask about our Associate in Occupational Science degree in Automotive Technology today?