Learning Auto Repair: To Specialize or Not to Specialize


To specialize, or not to specialize, that is the question.

Do you want to be a generalist, who works on any vehicle at any time? Or do you want to specialize in foreign vehicles, specific brands or specific repairs?

The answer depends on your personal interests, career goals, and whether or not you want to increase your earning potential. If you are a student studying auto repair (or if you are currently considering becoming an auto repair student), congratulations. You could be on the cusp of a rewarding career.

How rewarding depends on the some of the decisions you make today. With that in mind, here are some things to think about when you’re deciding whether or not to specialize in a specific area of auto repair:

Auto Repair Specialization May Mean More Opportunity

car mechanic job outlookAuto repair professionals have pretty good job prospects. Between now and 2024, the number of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow by 5 percent (according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics). That’s not a bad job outlook, but it’s probably not as good as it is for auto repair professionals who specialize in a specific type of automobile or automobile component.

Since 2012, media outlets have been reporting that employers have been concerned about finding workers who have both the education and the skills to work on automobiles that are becoming increasingly complex. Specializing might lead to more opportunities.

Specialization Could Equal More Options

Not every auto repair professional who has specialized training in fixing and maintaining foreign vehicles is working exclusively on foreign vehicles. But they likely could if they wanted to.

One of the advantages of specializing in a particular type of automobile or part of an automobile is that you can use your education and training to work on any vehicle at any time—but you just might have plenty of opportunities to break away from the common repairs and use your education and expertise to take on more specialized projects. Having options in your career is a good thing. It makes you more valuable to your employer and the customers with whom you work.

Specialists Can Make More Money

There are primary care physicians and there are cardiologists, who specialize in treating heart conditions. Cardiologists make more money—and the same is generally true for auto repair professionals who have an expertise in specific types of domestic automobiles, foreign vehicles, and specialized repairs.

Employers generally pay more for auto repair professionals who specialize. Automobiles are becoming more complex, and people pay premiums to buy foreign vehicles and they want to ensure that their investments are well cared for. People want the best care and service for their vehicles, and they are willing to pay a premium for it. This goes for customers as well as the employers to which they trust their vehicles. And those employers are often willing to pay extra for a technician or mechanic who has the education, training, skills, and experience to meet their customers’ expectations.

Job Opportunities May Be Greater with Specialization

Last year, Americans purchased more automobiles than in any of the previous years (according to Edmunds.com). More importantly for you, a significant number of those cars, trucks and SUVs will require mechanics and technicians with specialized training and skills to keep them on the road.

In 2015, 17.5 million vehicles were sold in the United States. Most of the best-selling vehicles were made in America, according to Cars.com, but a fair number of them were foreign. The foreign brands most frequently purchased include Volkswagen, Saab, Audi and BMW. These are all high-end vehicles that require specialized care. Drivers of these vehicles can bring their cars, trucks, and SUVs to any auto repair professional for service, but they will not get the same level of care, knowledge and service they will get from a professional with specific expertise in working on specific brands of foreign vehicles.

For that reason, many drivers will likely always be looking for highly skilled auto repair mechanics and technicians with specialized expertise in their vehicles. That means you will likely always have job opportunities.

I enjoyed my time here at ATI I learned a lot of good information from a lot of good people. The staff there is great and they really care about you the craft. I find that that’s the greatest way to go.
Posted by Josh Green on Friday, August 14, 2015

Consider Specializing in Auto Repair

If you are studying auto repair—or if you are considering enrolling in an automotive technology training program—you should think about and consider specializing in a specific type of vehicle or part of the automobile. It makes financial sense. It makes sense if you want a career that will consistently challenge you and offer you a steady stream of job prospects. And it makes sense if you want to be a rock star in your industry.

To learn more about how to specialize in auto repair, contact Advanced Technology Institute to learn more about earning an Automotive Technology with Service Management (AOS). They can help you determine which educational and career path could best meet your personal, professional, and financial goals. Contact us at 800-468-1093 today for more information or request information from our website!

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