If you know you want an automotive career, you need to decide which area of the automotive industry you’d like to specialize in. Here are some tips to get you started in an automotive career after school.
Entering the Automotive Field After School
Most people picture car mechanics when they think of an automotive career, but this is just one end of the spectrum of careers at your fingertips. There are plenty of opportunities for people with a strong business sense to handle the everyday running of a car dealership, auto repair shop, trucking company, etc. Therefore, you might consider going to graduate school for an MBA if you’d like to handle the “behind the scenes” work in the industry. If you have a degree in the arts, you could design the cars of the future. Or, you could attend a school certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence for an intensive auto mechanic training if you prefer working hands-on.
With that said, specialized training isn’t necessary to get started. If you are eager, attentive and willing, you can learn a lot from on-the-job training or from formal apprenticeships.
Here are some other job opportunities to consider:
Small Engine Mechanic
Small engine mechanics work on vehicles other than the typical car or truck. These are the folks you need when your boat engine conks out, your lawn mower stops working or your motorcycle starts having engine trouble. You may have the opportunity to make house calls or to operate out of a fixed location. If you’d like to be your own boss, this is the perfect business to build yourself from the ground-up. On-the-job training is most common in this niche, but employers do look favorably on any schooling that allows you to work on more sophisticated technologies.
Diesel Tech Jobs
If being a small engine mechanic sounds like small potatoes, maybe you’d prefer to work on more robust, powerful engines. There are plenty of specialized diesel tech jobs to choose from, including working on 18-wheelers, fire engines, tow trucks, tankers, cement trucks, farm equipment, ATVs and 4X4s. You may work to maintain the fleet of one particular company, serve as an expert in diesel tech at an automotive repair shop, or make “house calls” to a variety of businesses. Additionally, the salary for diesel tech jobs is typically higher than for non-diesel mechanics.
NASCAR Pit Crew
If you’ve ever looked on with envy as a NASCAR pit crew swooped in to perform quick tire changes in a blink of an eye, why not make it your goal to do the same? As a NASCAR pit crew mechanic, you may have the opportunity to travel the circuit with a particular driver or team. You don’t even necessarily have to be part of THE pit crew to work for a NASCAR team. Engineers, fabricators and body/paint technicians are needed in abundance as well. You can also get the same kind of health, insurance and/or 401K benefits as a typical corporate job, all while enjoying a very comfortable salary. If you work your way up the ranks and take on more and more responsibilities, your salary as a NASCAR crew member could even break six figures.
Historic Car Restoration
Some people love race cars, others love beefed-up trucks, and still others can’t get enough of classic cars and hot rods. If you fall into the latter category, you could enjoy a satisfying career in car restoration. Attention to detail and adherence to the highest standards will set you apart as a quality car restoration professional. This job is not just an extension of a hobby, but rather a full-fledged career supported by university programs across the country, including McPherson College, Baker College and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Attending one of these schools is not necessary if you work with a restoration company that provides on-the-job training, which is not difficult to find.
Working with a multi-million dollar automotive corporation offers the chance to put a wide range of skills to good use. Designers are needed to enhance and improve the look, feel and performance of cars. Engineers are needed to help turn designs into reality. Analysts are needed to track performance. Marketers are needed to ensure the car wins over the market. In short, if you like cars, a corporate job in automotive innovation is the perfect way to blend your hard-earned degree with your true passion.
It’s always a good idea to find a job that you truly enjoy. Passion helps ensure enthusiasm and integrity, which will set you miles above the crowd.
About the author
Katrina Manning is the Editor In Chief of Techandburgers.com. She enjoys covering tech, business and lifestyle. Her objective is to provide a newsworthy, informative, and enjoyable content.