Common Workplaces for an Automotive Technician

You’ve graduated from a vocational college or trade school and acquired the tools necessary to start your career as an automotive technician. So what’s next? What are your options and what type of job can you pursue?

Due to the wide variety of skills that automotive technicians possess, paired with an ever-changing and ever-growing automotive industry, there are countless career opportunities for students who graduate from programs such as AAI’s Automotive Service Technology Program.

With an estimated 800,000 people employed in the automotive industry , the industry is in high demand for quality technicians. While there are many positions and specializations for mechanics, we’ve outlined three of the most popular workplaces below:

1. Dealerships – There are several things that make working at a dealership unique. Dealerships have large service areas, servicing many cars at once. Due to their size, customers rarely meet the mechanic working on their car, but rather work with a service provider who serves as a liaison between the customer and the mechanic. Service providers consult with mechanics, explain to customers what work needs to be done, then provide them with a quote on how much the service will cost.

In most cases, the service department repairs and maintains only the brands of cars they sell or have sold. They are trained specifically in those brands and work solely with those manufacturers. In recent years, dealerships have transitioned to have both full service repair shops, which are meant to handle internal mechanical problems such as engine and transmission issues, and express shops, which serve to take care of routine and preventative maintenance such as tire rotations and oil changes.

In addition to servicing cars, mechanics who work in dealerships manage warranty jobs in which the manufacturer covers the majority of repairs. These jobs involve administrative reporting and tracking, requiring the mechanic or service provider to document issues. Mechanics at dealerships often work under pressure because there are general time limits assigned to each job to increase efficiency.

Nearly 30 percent of auto technicians work in dealerships and receive benefits such as medical insurance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, auto technicians earn a median salary of $42,680 per year. SOURCE

2. Auto Mechanical Maintenance + Electrical Repair Shops – Similar to technicians who work at dealerships, automotive technicians that work in repair shops are also required to have fundamental skills in auto maintenance and repair. These skills include diagnosing complex problems, performing repairs, changing oil, checking fluid levels, rotating tires, changing batteries, and more. In addition to technical skills, auto technicians are focused problem solvers and critical thinkers, as repairs are not always routine and can involve creative solutions.

As opposed to dealerships, repair shops are smaller in size and generally work on all brands of cars; they have no loyalty to manufacturers as opposed to dealership technicians. Because repair shops are smaller, customers interact directly with the mechanic instead of a service provider. Many people prefer independent repair shops to dealerships because they are able to provide more direct customer service and it can be easier to build a relationship with their mechanic.

Government Repair Shops – Another career option is to work for government-owned auto repair shops. The government owns and operates all forms of transportation vehicles that require routine maintenance and repair including school busses, public transportation vehicles, and law enforcement vehicles.

3. Auto Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores – Auto technicians who work in auto parts, accessories, and tire stores serve as salespeople but have the same fundamental skills as mechanics who work in dealerships and repair shops. These individuals specialize in the parts and pieces that mechanics use to repair and perform routine maintenance on cars. Specifically, they have extensive knowledge of how parts function and can provide advice to customers on how to install parts and accessories. Other duties include ordering parts from manufacturers, checking and changing car batteries, stocking shelves, and examining exchanged parts.

In addition to the workplace settings listed above, mechanics have a wide variety of other career options, many of which are specializations including automotive air-conditioning technicians, brake technicians, drivability technicians, front-end technicians, transmission technicians and rebuilders. Other auto mechanics build upon their skills to specialize in careers such as pit crew team members for racecar drivers.

Regardless of the job setting, students who attend vocational schools, such as AAI’s Automotive Service Technology Program, graduate equipped with fundamental skills and real-world knowledge to succeed and advance their careers as automotive technicians.

Spotlight on Diesel-Heavy Truck graduate Jesus Mercado Zazueta

Jesus Mercado Zazueta was referred by a friend who was getting ready to complete the Combination Welding program. During his Admissions tour, he was shown all 4 different programs and was indecisive on what he wanted to take. After viewing all that AAI had to offer, Jesus took a few weeks to think about which program he was going to choose. He did his research and spoke with his family about the career decision he was ready to make. Finally, Jesus decided to go through the Diesel Heavy Truck Diploma.

At first Jesus believed that it was going to be easy and that he could manage working at his full time job, attend school, complete his homework and spend time with his daughter. He found himself struggling the first few weeks until he reached out to his instructors for some help. His instructors were patient and offered him tutoring and the support that Jesus needed at the time.

Jesus starting working with Career Services early on in his program and really benefited from the workshops offered by Career Services department. Jesus made it a point to attend and participate in the mock interviewing, resume writing assistance, and cover letter creation. He tried a few job referrals before landing his dream job at Werner Enterprises as a Diesel Mechanic.

Jesus can now afford to work one job and spend more time with his daughter, which was his primary motivation to succeed at everything he did during his time at AAI.

He graduated with honors receiving a 4.0 along with perfect attendance. His tip to students is “If you want it, you’ll get it! Don’t let life challenges stop you from accomplishing your dreams”.

mercado

To Be Your Student

Graduating from a traditional, four-year college, I didn’t have the privilege or experience of learning from the skilled professionals at Arizona Automotive Institute, Platt College, and South Texas Vocational Technical Institute. While I was able to learn many of the same important life lessons you instill upon our students – professionalism, sacrifice, service, leadership, respect and discipline. I cannot help but wonder how great it would have been to be one of your students.

  • To work side-by-side with a master welder bending molten metal
  • To learn medical ethics and patient care from nurses who have experienced the joy of life and sadness of death throughout their career as part of their calling, credo & DNA
  • To sweat under the hood of a tractor trailer or automobile with someone who could tear an engine apart and rebuild it in their sleep
  • To trace the veins of a patient with a Medical Assisting Instructor on route to a perfect stick
  • To replicate a sterile operating environment ensuring the field and formation exceeded the expectation of a seasoned Surgical Technologist
  • To roll egg whites delicately, flip a crepe perfectly, or flambé a dessert elegantly as my chef instructor stood watching with admiration, pride and nervousness
  • To properly learn dosage calculations, effectively administer air management techniques and recite recent revisions to medical record coding
  • To be on the roof of a commercial building identifying faults in an air conditioning unit with an instructor who knew the problem before we took our first step up the ladder
  • To take impressions and fabricate crowns, as a Dental Assisting Instructor stood by as a mentor & cheerleader
  • To mimic the graceful motions of a Professional Massage Therapist as they outlined a flawless Swedish technique
  • To sit completely awestruck in a class where a general education or CAS instructor was able to effectively connect theory to reality, and reality to my career aspirations

While my list of missed educational opportunities is long, as the President & CEO of Ancora Education, I have had made up for it through my many interactions with each of you – our esteemed faculty.

As we close out National Teacher Appreciation Week, I know I am a better person for working with, and learning from, each of you. As a company, we stand in complete admiration of your contribution and commitment to student success. You are the reason our educational model works. You are the reason our students work. Their experience, in your presence, creates life-long opportunity, tangible change, and a better future.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Zawisky

President & CEO

5 Reasons to Celebrate Your Instructors during Teacher Appreciation Week

When you really add up all the time we spend in school, from kindergarten to high school graduation and even on to higher education for a lot of us, it’s evident how important a role teachers really play in our lives. Without teachers, we would have no doctors, nurses, or presidents. We would have no mechanics, engineers, or welders. We wouldn’t even know how to read this very article.

With all things considered, we should show our appreciation for our teachers every day, but since this week happens to be when, we as a nation, observe Teacher Appreciation Week, here are five reasons to celebrate your instructors:

  1. Their Inspiration –

Your instructors possess an immeasurable amount of knowledge and understanding of their field, and they have chosen to share their passion and knowledge with you, as their students.

  1. Their Dedication –

As instructors they have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping their students have a successful future. They give of themselves, day-in and day-out to help you along your educational journey.

  1. Their Support –

When you’re having a hard time understanding a concept or struggling with preparing for a test, your instructors are there to offer you their support. They want to see you succeed and will go out of their way to make sure you have the support you need.

  1. Their Willingness to Challenge You –

Your instructors are there when you’re struggling, but in the same way that they will support you, they are also willing to challenge you. It is through these challenges that you learn to grow, both as a student and as a person.

  1. For Believing in You –

Even when you might not have believed in yourself, your instructors believed in you.  Because they believed that you could succeed, you believed that you would succeed.

Share your reasons to celebrate your instructors in the comments!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education