How I Would Start As a Mechanic Today

Today on the Automotive podcast, I want to talk about how I would get started as a tech, if I was doing it today. I have talked about how I got started on other shows. But I think that if I was going to do it again, I may take a different approach. The internet has given us a huge opportunity to learn for very little or free. That along with training programs at dealers, makes skipping tech school an interesting option.

Today on the Podcast we chat about:

  • Costs of tech school
  • Time investment of tech school
  • Starting at a Jiffy change type place
  • Starting at a small shop
  • Online Learning
    Engineering Explained
    EricTheCarGuy
    ScannerDanner
  • Dealership Service Express
    You can start with little time and tool investment
  • Dealership training programs
  • Where Manufacturers lack in training
  • VW’s old training program

If you are having trouble viewing “How I Would Start As a Mechanic Today, Podcast Episode 27“, watch it on Youtube.

2 Questions for everyone:

  1. How would YOU get started if you had to do it again?
  2. If you are early in your career, or in tech school, What would you change?

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7 replies
  1. Rob
    Rob says:

    Hey Charles, great pod cast once again!! Ok, answers are

    1. How would YOU get started if you had to do it again?

    Actually took the route you are prescribing, started as an Express Lube Tech for a Dodge/Jeep dealership. They did not provide tools, but I already had enough to get started. It did make all the Chrysler Training available to me, which was invaluable (and free, they actually paid me to learn).

    2. If you are early in your career, or in tech school, What would you change?

    Less then two years into this career, but am happy with my progress so far. On-line education is how the manufactures are going, and so far, both dealerships pay me my “rate” for every hour of course work I complete. The old VW training you mentioned would be ideal in my mind, but very expensive for the dealers.

    Also, I have dumped a ton of money into tools and tool boxes since I started. So, thankfully, I do not have a school loan as well. For an entry level tech making 12, 15 or even 18 an hour, not sure how they do it with a 40k school loan and a 3k or 6k Snap-on/Matco/MAC truck balance…

    Peace!

    Reply
  2. ABurnside555
    ABurnside555 says:

    1. How would YOU get started if you had to do it again?
    The only thing i would change so far is that i would have chose this profession straight out of high school. Im 25 now, so it kinda took me awhile to decide what i really wanted to do.

    If you are early in your career, or in tech school, What would you change?
    I am in a small post secondary tech school right now. I have learned an insane amount in a very small amount of time, and the school is not nearly as costly as most UTI-style programs. There is about $1,700 worth of tools added to the tuition so if you get full funding your beginner tools and a cart are completely paid for. There is a job placement program as well and i do believe i will be starting on the lower rungs of a dealership by summer, so I have to say it would be worth looking into post-secondary schools in your area if those crazy student loans don’t look too good to you. My teacher is a master certified tech that has worked in dealerships and co-owned her own shops(yes my teacher is a girl). Still, the only thing i would change is that i would have done this 7 years ago.

    Keep up the great work, love all of your videos!

    Reply
  3. Scott
    Scott says:

    Question 1. I would start the same way, by joining the U.S. Army. You didn’t mention the military as an option for learning a trade. As the old tv commercial said, “We don’t ask for experience, we give it.” Obviously, there are other concerns to consider when joining a branch of the service, but it maybe a viable option for many beginners.

    Question 2. I’m actually at the point in my career where I’m able to reap the benefits of 35 years of experience, mostly at G.M. dealerships, and can see the wisdom in your advice Charles. But, let me add that 10 years of my experience was gained in a classroom as an automotive technology instructor. I taught at a Vocational school that partnered with local high schools, and taught students basic automotive technology. Most of the students were not destined to become professionals, but they got a chance to “test drive” the career to determine if it was right for them. Those who attended and committed themselves to doing what was necessary got a leg up on the competition, and were assisted in job placement as well as help with tools. Now that I’m back in the dealership I actually work with several of my past students, and enjoy seeing their hard work pay off. You sound as if you might be a good candidate for a teacher in the future, as you express yourself very well and obviously have the love for the industry. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  4. Filomena
    Filomena says:

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    Reply
  5. Alexis
    Alexis says:

    Good pod session , i think the Industry is lacking in giving new apportunities for us new technicians that started in a tech schools,Lincoln Tech here, the places that i already went to start working and as an entry level tech is just ridiculous,so far not good since i graduated, shops all they ask is do you have experience? i tell them the little experience that i know and it seems that is not enough. The school in my case barely helping me the career service people don’t even answer the phone when i call so that just not fair for us just starting, we need more apportunities and more look out for us to see where we standing,the schools need to look out for those in need for a small boost to get our foot at the dor and let the shop know we’re aprentices(for those with low knowledge)the schools is very greedy and expensive when we’re not even in the shops getting out hand dirty ,so yea the industry is lacking in giving us more apportunities,

    my own experience .

    Reply
  6. Adam
    Adam says:

    Really great epsisode and information Charles.

    Tech school is definitely a good idea but I’d recommend looking into a community college. Much less expensive and if you can get an AA. Also the classes are transferable in most cases to other colleges if you need to move for whatever reason.

    Reply

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