Austin, my son told his dad and I last week that he wanted to become an auto mechanic and not go to college. We are a little saddened by this news as we have been hoping to have a college graduate in our family. What do you have for advice for him…and for his dad and me?
Thanks in advance,
Hello there Linda!
Don’t feel to saddened by this news. If he LOVES to work on cars and thinks being a car mechanic is his dream career, maybe you should support him?? I see people in my personal life who are totally unhappy with their chosen career….and some who did not choose the career it was forced on them.
Why work all your life doing something you hate, or NOT doing something you love? Take me for example. I have a college degree in business finance and wanted to work on Wall Street when I left college. My father told me to come back home and take over the family auto repair shop, and he would pay me more than all my buddies would make their first 5 years out of school.
I thought about it, “sounds great, I want the money and how bad could it really be”. Well the first 2 years were OK, just OK I made nice money and was the “boss” so I had bragging rights. But, I was doing something I did not have passion about. I am NOT a car guy at all and I am not trained as a mechanic although my family auto repair shop was started by my grandfather in 1937 so I HAD to be a car guy.
I put up with the business for 10 years and finally decided I have to do what I love to do or I was going to go crazy. I HATED to go to work in the morning, and would not be in a great mood when I got there either.
I love to help people, so I started learning how to make a website (back in 2000) and built this site and many others. I help people all day long with car problems but I don’t have to deal with customers, complaints, employees, regulations, taxes, payroll etc. etc. I have my dream job now.
If your son wants to be an auto mechanic, maybe give some thought to helping him live HIS dream not yours?
Find a local mechanic shop and have him start an internship there, even if it is just cleaning up the shop and doing some paper work. You have to start somewhere and starting from the bottom is the best way to really learn a business.
Talk to your local community college and see if they offer any mechanical classes to get his feet wet with. Talk to your local car dealer, ask them how to get into the training schools for the manufacture…like GM, Volvo, Ford etc.
A dealership mechanic will generally make more money and have more opportunity than a local mom and pop mechanic. Dealerships usually offer health care, retirement or 401K packages and they tend to have better working conditions in the shop.
A regular “brake mechanic” is always in need but might only make $35,000 a year in salary. But a transmission repair expert at a Ford dealer can make $100,000 a year plus benefits in a high volume dealership. Now, it might take 10 years of training and experience to get it but doesn’t just about any other career?
Find a local shop to become an apprentice, but work towards getting a training internship with a major car dealership and manufacturer. Find a mechanic in your area who is willing to talk with him, find out what training schools in your area are worth going to….some are better than others.
Start reading the basic auto repair manuals you can get at the library, understand the basic concepts of an engine, transmission, electrical components etc. etc.
Work for free as an apprentice in a local repair shop for a few months and pick up some hands on training of the basics….even if its 80% trash detail, he is surrounding himself with the trade.
After 6 months of free or almost free apprenticeship and talking around to car dealerships etc. he will either want to try another career field or it will strengthen his decision to want to be a mechanic.
Once you have done that it is time to spend some money on actual mechanic schools…but its costly and I would not do this step until he put in at least 6 months at the bottom level in a repair shop first.
Some popular mechanic schools are:
Manufacturer Training Courses
Best of luck to you ALL!
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