There are two things all good mechanics possess: knowledge and skill.
That’s just to be good. The great motor mechanics–those who are in high demand, own their own shops, and call their own shots–usually have a degree as well as certification.
You can tell the difference by the long line of people waiting outside their shops for them to work their magic.
While it’s true that the state of Virginia doesn’t require automotive mechanics to have a degree or even certification in order to work in the state, it’s equally as true that having both usually better prepares you for long-term success. In many cases, the best way to gain knowledge and skill is by first completing a formal education program and then achieving certification.
Here’s a look at what you need to know about both processes:
There are a lot of reasons to start your motor mechanic career journey by earning an Associate in Occupational Science degree in Automotive Technology.
First, there is the simple fact that you’ll have the opportunity to learn the job from experts who have real-world experience. They’ll teach you in the classroom as well as in a shop, where you’ll work with the latest technology, diagnostic procedures, modern testing equipment, and tools.
Second, you’ll learn the skills it takes to succeed in the industry that don’t necessarily involve engines and automobiles–speech, accounting, technical writing, and service management. Having the ability to maintain and repair cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles is only part of being a successful mechanic. You also have to be able to work with people, communicate, balance the books, and deliver exceptional customer service.
These are the tangible benefits of earning your degree. There are also plenty of intangible benefits:
- You should be able to learn while doing, which allows you to make mistakes without costing the company money;
- You should be making connections with instructors who can help you land your first job in the industry; and
- You might stand out among the competition for jobs because you’ll have demonstrated the ability to finish what you start.
Successfully earning your degree shows prospective employers that you’re serious about a career as an automotive mechanic. It also shows that you have critical-thinking skills, the latest knowledge, and formal training that has taught you best practices.
If you really, really want to stand out from the crowd and show employers and customers that you are among the best of the best, you won’t stop at a degree. You’ll also earn the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
While not a requirement to work as a mechanic in Virginia, it does demonstrate that you have mastered your craft.
If you don’t have a college degree, you won’t be able to take the test to become ASE certified until you have two years of experience as a professional mechanic. However, if you have a two-year degree, you can become ASE certified after only one year in the field.
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, there are 300,000 ASE-certified automotive service technicians and mechanics in the country (out of nearly 800,000, according to Data USA), and they reap the benefits:
- a third-party endorsement of their knowledge, skills, and experience,
- a recognized commitment to excellence,
- demonstrated knowledge and skill in a very complex industry,
- improved skill and knowledge, and
- enhanced opportunities for career advancement.
Of course these are only a few of the benefits. There are more–and they can truly help you as your career progresses.
The jump start
It’s one thing to be handy with a wrench and have the ability to pull and replace a part. It’s another thing to be able to holistically look at a vehicle, diagnose what’s wrong with it, and fix the problem.
Enrolling in a formal automotive mechanic program takes your skill and knowledge to the next level. It takes your interests, skills, knowledge, and experience and multiplies them. And when you have successfully earned your degree, you’ll be ready for whatever rolls into the shop.
And if you don’t have a lot of experience, don’t worry. School will jump start your knowledge by combining classroom work with hands-on learning in a realistic shop.
School could truly jump start your career.
Ready to get started?
If you’re ready to begin your career as a motor mechanic, consider ATI for the education you want. Our Associate of Occupational Science in Automotive Technology with Service Management, could make all the difference for you. Connect with the Advanced Technology Institute today.