The career of an auto mechanic can provide you with a decent living. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an auto mechanic in May 2020 exceeded $37,300 per year, while the highest reached $60,000. A difference of almost 50% makes us wonder how to receive sixty thousand instead of thirty.
The secret lies in your skills and educational background. So, if you want to know, “Is automotive school worth it?” the answer is definitely “Yes”. It’s only logical that employers prefer hiring those with deeper knowledge and better skills. It applies to everyone: from technical specialists in the car wrap shops to automotive leaders (Ford, BMW, Mercedes).
How to Find a Decent Auto Mechanic School Online
In the era of the internet and digital technology, search engines have become the main source of information. The drawback is that there’s so much data that it’s easy to get confused. Yet some things remain obvious. Free online auto mechanic classes can’t deliver sufficient knowledge and guarantee you an entry-level position. Lack of practical experience is a significant disadvantage in the industry.
For employers to consider your application, you need to at least complete a certification program. Trade schools for auto mechanics are a decent alternative. Later on, a student can proceed to an associate’s degree.
Another option is applying to manufacturer training. Some leading companies in the industry like BMW, Ford, Porsche, Volvo have launched branded academies or courses. They offer training, which usually leads to employment in the dealership.
What to Mind When Selecting Automotive Mechanics School?
Once you have chosen a place to study, it’s time to assess its credibility and quality of education. Auto mechanic school cost shouldn’t be the only indicator of a poor or excellent choice. After all, it’s not always linked with quality. Here is what you should consider before sending an application:
1. The Scope of a Class and Curriculum
You need to know the answers to the following questions:
- How long is automotive school?
- How many students are in the class?
- Does the curriculum include only general information? Or you can take a narrower specialization?
Why do you need to know this?
- A short course is likely to be too shallow if you want to enter into a career. Those who continue their education and apply for upgraded training to learn more complicated repair processes shouldn’t refuse the option. Generally, a certificate program lasts several months, and an associate’s degree lasts two years.
- The scope of an academic group influences the amount of teacher-to-student personal training. It’s obvious that ten students per group get more attention compared to 20. In the end, the lesson time remains the same. The more time an instructor devotes solely to one student, the more knowledge he shares.
- A specialization implies deeper knowledge in a particular niche. For example, a school might provide a vocational course in reconditioning and collision, or in maintaining and repairing diesel or gas engines.
2. Teachers’ Competence
The instructor’s competence is hard to estimate. All schools claim to have the best professionals. To find out the truth, it’s better to study reviews or contact someone who has graduated from a particular automotive mechanics school.
Competence isn’t always determined by the educational background: a school’s approach to teaching is also highly important. For instance, if an instructor says to listen to the sound of an engine to determine a problem or sniff around for the smell of antifreeze, you’d better look for another one. These methods are outdated.
Diagnostics techniques were introduced at the end of the last century. With the development of new technologies, they have advanced even more. This is exactly what an employer expects.
The quality and relevance of skills and knowledge highly depend on the equipment. However, advanced automotive test equipment is expensive. Not all educational establishments can afford it. Here, the question of cost comes up; How much is automotive school per year is often reflected in its equipment.
This relationship is simple. Colleges with higher tuition fees have the resources to buy better equipment. You should also pay attention to the variety of tools available. Typically, they must include such as:
- Brake lathe
- Tire changer and balancer
- Air conditioning service equipment
- Tubing bender
- Air compressor
- Two-post lift
- Laser alignment system.
Why do you need to take this into account? Practical experience is valuable. Employers seek those who have the first-hand experience. This reduces training costs. Alongside this, it means that a worker can start work earlier than those who need extensive training. It’s a significant competitive advantage in the industry.
Accreditation is one of the crucial questions to bear in mind when you are reviewing an automotive training school. It’s a guarantee of high-quality education in all areas. Basically, it means that an institution has a thoroughly thought-out curriculum which adheres to the set standards. Moreover, it guarantees that the diploma/certificate/degree is competitive in the labor market.
There are several accrediting organizations in the industry. They include the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) or the ASE Education Foundation. Such organizations carefully study schools’ equipment, curriculum, instructors, and facilities. A student can find a reliable institution on their websites.
Enrolling in an accredited school means that you’re guaranteed to get a quality education. Basically, you don’t have to be skeptical about other issues. Professionals have already thought of every aspect and made a list of reputable, trustworthy schools. Employers, in turn, tend to value certificates from these institutions more highly.
5. Employment Rate
The employment rate indicates how eager employers are to hire graduates of a particular automotive mechanics school. If it’s at 50% or less, it means that your chances to receive a decent occupation are middling.
One in two students will be hired – there is no guarantee that you will be the chosen. A decent employment rate starts from 60% and higher. It must remain the same even during hard economic times. Otherwise, you risk remaining unemployed in a challenging situation.
Why do you need to ask about this? It’s a so-called guarantee that your chances of getting employed after graduation are high. Since many students take a loan to cover tuition fees, they should make sure that they will be able to cover it.
What is the best automotive school? It’s an institution with advanced teaching methods, high-quality equipment, and competent instructors. Furthermore, it should be accredited by an independent organization and have a high employment rate.
If you have already graduated, please share in comments the comments on whether you think automotive school is hard to complete. If you review these educational establishments, please share which criteria are crucial for you.
About the Author
The author is a senior mechanic in one of the leading automotive companies. He has more than 20 years of hands-on experience. He started his educational journey from a trade school. Later on, the professional received an Associate’s degree. He started a career journey from apprentice and has climbed the ranks to become a senior mechanic.