Automotive technology is an integral part of our daily lives. Automotive service technicians and mechanics, known simply as service technicians, maintain and service the vehicles that power our daily routines.
Those seeking a career in this field should survey their options before beginning the application process. What are the benefits of getting a formal education in automotive technology before the job search begins? How is a degree program different from on-the-job training? How can an aspiring mechanic know if pursuing a degree is worthwhile?
Benefits of a Formal Automotive Technology Training Program
Many automotive service technicians begin their careers with little or no training. Some may have completed high school shop classes or routinely helped a relative while they maintained or repaired vehicles. While this is a viable pathway to employment, obtaining a degree first offers many advantages for job seekers.
- With little experience or validated knowledge, employers will offer you lower starting wages. It can take years to gain enough experience to move up in pay. Getting your degree could show potential employers that you already possess the skill sets that they’re willing to pay for.
- Informal training can teach you a lot. However, you may have limited exposure to different techniques and types of cars. This knowledge gap can limit your career choices. A formal training program should give you wide exposure to common automotive issues. After graduation, degree holders should be ready to take on the challenges at almost any service center.
- Finding a good position can be tough. Jobs with high pay, good schedules, and other perks are often competitive and not as well-advertised as some others. Many businesses in the Hampton Roads area that rely on mechanics for daily operations work with local trade schools to secure the best candidates for their open positions.
Formal Degree Program vs On-the-Job Training
Since there is such a high demand for technicians, many employers offer on-the-job training programs. Apprentices are paid to learn how to perform their duties. What is the difference between learning while you work and getting an academic degree?
- On-the-job training only focuses on what your employer needs you to know. A degree program will give you a wider knowledge base that gives you more control over the direction of your career.
- Apprentice mechanics are hired on at very low wages. Getting a degree could allow you to start at higher pay rates right away.
- Employers rarely offer skill validation. If you decide to change employers, you may need to start your training from the beginning. With a degree, your skills easily transfer to different types of companies.
On-the-job training is a great way to get started. However, getting a degree may be a better choice.
Is a Degree Program Worth It?
Going back to school is a big investment of time, money, and other resources. Is it really worth it? Ask these questions to help decide if going back to school for your automotive technician credentials is the right choice.
- How do you feel about your current career prospects? Are you happy where you are? If you want more from your career, a degree is a good way to kick start positive changes.
- Do you have the time for a full-time course load? Even working adults with busy schedules can earn a degree. Accelerated learning programs feature flexible learning options that make it easy to find the time to pursue your dreams.
- Do I have the right support? When times get tough, whom can you trust to help you out? If your social resources are low, talk to the counselors at your target school. They can help you find all kinds of support to help you get started in your program and finish strong.
A degree program is an investment in your future. It may be tough at first, but the results are well worth it.
For aspiring automotive technicians in the Hampton Roads area, the Associate in Occupational Science in Automotive Technology with Service Management from Advanced Technology Institute is the perfect pathway to career success. This specialized program prepares you to service vehicles and manage shops. Contact our admissions counselors today to learn more about this accelerated learning program.