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Old 10-10-2011, 08:58 PM   #1
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Default Automotive Careers?

Ok so i am a 17 year old and a junior in high school. I want to be in the automotive industry when im older. Ive looked at mechanics and it seems like pay isnt always the best. Also ive been look at Automotive engineering and it has good pay but seems like its all office and not hands on. Is there any other automotive careers that could be fun and well paying???
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:30 AM   #2
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This is hard to say, im 19 and a sophmore in college, but im kind of stuck in the same rut as you. Im almost done with a networking degree right now, but in the past year ive grown very fond of my vehicle and generally all vehicles.
realistically if you do what you love, then pay doesnt matter right?
if your only concerned about having fun, then get a regular job and keep it as a hobby every weekend at the track.
I think the automotive field is changing too much to have fun in anymore..everything is soo technical with companies fighting about engineering the best MPG or best power/displacement ratio. And i doubt those guys are having fun just crunching numbers all day.
You still have plenty of time to think about it. But i hope you know its probably going to be hard to find a "fun" automotive job that pays well.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:38 PM   #3
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Yeah your write about all of that, i wish i could just be a proffesional test driver! I just have no clue what i want to do or major in!
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by thegerberbaby View Post
Yeah your write about all of that, i wish i could just be a proffesional test driver! I just have no clue what i want to do or major in!
It wouldn't be called work if it was fun. My advice to you is major in something that pays well (nursing, engineering, accounting, etc.) and allows you to have fun with your hobbies. I have two uncles and a really good friend who are engineers in the Big 3 and they appreciate their jobs but don't "love" them. My dad is a mechanic at a GM dealership and actually hates it for the most part so keep working on cars as a hobby is my opinion. They are getting more and more complicated and warranty pay is getting worse and worse. When you are 50, you won't want to be wrenching full time.
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #5
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I wouldn't doubt it your dad hates it. I've pretty much burnt myself out on working on cars and that was just side thing
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:27 PM   #6
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I'm almost finished getting my bachelor degree in Automotive Management at Morrisville State College in NY. I knew for sure i wanted to be in the auto industry when i was 17 but I have learned a few things since then. It's possible to have an automotive hobby and work/play with cars every weekend and have a job outside the industry. Also, some auto technicians do make a lot of money, but only the ones who work fast and are very knowledgeable. For example my transmissions instructor use to make $70k a year rebuilding transmissions.

If you want to just be a technician, a 2-year degree is a good place to start, but there are other options out there. There are many parts of the industry... auto body, new/used car sales, auto parts sales, rental cars, fleet management... it's just that there is less demand for "fun" work like custom painting, performance modifications, restoration, and racing. But if your become very knowledgeable in those areas you could probably find a job. Just look at all the sponsor links on the right of this website, all those companies have employees.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:01 PM   #7
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I was a dealer tech for almost 20 years for both GM (and a short stint at Ford at the beginning of my "career") and hated the last 2/3 of it. It is a thankless job for the most part. The good career pay is long gone unless you are a pencil pusher/BS artist or maybe the rare awesome tech. I never made much money wrenching because I was too honest.
Most customers treat you like crap because they think you are a dumb grease monkey flunky and your out to steal their money. I was so happy to get out of the grind a few years ago. It took almost 3 years to get over from being burned out for me to get back to do a project car. Like others have said, work on you car as a hobby and do something else that pays better especially if you don't want ruin your 'hobby'. Your body will thank you for it as well. I am almost 40, my back is screwed up and have the beginings of arthritis from the job, I feel like i am becoming an old man before my time.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:10 PM   #8
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Learn chassis dynamics and the electronics, grow from there.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:49 AM   #9
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i'm in school for automotive now, and i think i may want to sell cars before i work on them, just depends on the job, i enjoy working on them as a hobby and it's hit me already, and i'm not even 20 yet lol.
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:19 AM   #10
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Don't forget the off-highway industry (Caterpillar, John Deere, etc.). The consumer automotive industry is not what it used to be. Competition is insane as are the regulations. Plus, the industry relies on the everyday consumer to keep it going, which if you haven't heard is a bit of an issue right now (note sarcasm). The off-highway industry is not as glamorous, but it terms of a job it is more stable, IMHO, and the pay is about the same.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:37 PM   #11
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Studies say people who are happiest in life aren't those who make the most money, but those who pursued a career they are passionate about and that fits them well. I considered auto engineering but realized a bachelor degrees requires taking 4yrs of math and physics classes, which i would hate. Most auto engineering degrees i've seen are 3yrs of mechanical engineering courses with the last year focusing on automotive specific material. Anyway u never know until u try, so if u are interested in physics and mechanics and math than u could do well as an engineer.

Also diesel techs make good money and there is a huge demand for truck drivers now.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:57 PM   #12
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i'm about to be 21, took a class at the local Junior College & worked in the industry about a year.

after seeing first hand the absolute dishonesty, expendable treatment of the tech's & mediocre pay i decided to look elsewhere for work.

i work at UPS now part time, higher pay, easier work, free full time benefits, and the overall treatment is vastly superior.

makes the auto industry seem like a joke. my grandpa wreched in the 60's & 70's and told me his advice was to never look back. i dont regret taking the class however, because the knowledge has saved me a ton on personal repairs & restoring my C10.

just my .02
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:46 PM   #13
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Engineering in the aftermarket can often be fairly hands-on, and SEMA even has a scholarship program for people interested in an automotive career.

http://www.sema.org/scholarships

If engineering isn't your thing, though, there are other jobs in the industry. Marketing, sales, journalism (eek!), management, accounting, etc. You will just have to decide what is important to you and what you are willing to do to get it. Would you rather have a job you love or a job that pays well? Would you rather have a well-paying job or not spend 4-7 years in college? My advice to you would be NOT to take the easy route, find the path that will make you the most happy in the long run.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kSStamp09 View Post
i'm about to be 21, took a class at the local Junior College & worked in the industry about a year.

after seeing first hand the absolute dishonesty, expendable treatment of the tech's & mediocre pay i decided to look elsewhere for work.

i work at UPS now part time, higher pay, easier work, free full time benefits, and the overall treatment is vastly superior.

makes the auto industry seem like a joke. my grandpa wreched in the 60's & 70's and told me his advice was to never look back. i dont regret taking the class however, because the knowledge has saved me a ton on personal repairs & restoring my C10.

just my .02
I would have to agree with your grandpa on this. I've spoken with the most senior tech at my local dealership and i told him i had heard alot of great things about the GM co-op program at our community college and he looked at me and said "son, run like hell if you think you want to work on cars for a living" "if i could do it over again i'd stay so G-D far away from this place"
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:10 PM   #15
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I agree with most keep it as a hobby. I have been in the dealership scene for 5 years now and do ok as a Mercedes Benz tech, but like previously stated the job comes with no respect. Unless you are a thief you wont make much as much as other people that are. I watch other techs make double what I do and are half as good. I think if I had it to do over I would have found something eles to do. By the time time I get off work the last thing I want to do is more work on cars. If you do go this route though the best advise I can give you is find the most expensive product you can to work on. For the most part the owners have money and are not able to do anything themselves. Just my $.02.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:47 PM   #16
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Engineering... Hands down... Just because you have an enginerring degree doesn't exclude you from the hands on application, I don't know any specialist I work with that sit at their desk for more than 2 hrs a day. I'm an engineering specialist at the new VW plant in Chattanooga Tn. Just about everything I do is hands on. I've been out of school for just over a year and the sky is the limit, there is not one person in management that doesn't have some sort of engineering degree. And you would not BELIEVE the amount of jobs that require an engineering degree when it comes to the automotive field, I have not seen one application @ the plant yet where an eng. degree isn't desired. And yes, i love my job... It is very stressfull at times and i do put in alot of hours, but it is a plant start up, and expected, so i knew what i was getting into.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:52 PM   #17
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And for the record, you can expect roughly 55-65k your first job out of college these days in the engineeing field with an OEM manufacturer... Supplier's usually don't pay as much out of school but thats where most people start out, then they get picked up by an OEM after 5+ yrs.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:04 AM   #18
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first of all most of you who posted about cars being tough to work on and the pay isnt that great your right. BUT!!! only the best make good money and not everyone can be the best! every shop has at least one great tech. it might be the owner or the guy whos been there the longest or believe it or not it might be the guy with the latest and greatest training.but your right its not for everyone and no if your not the best in the shop you probably wont make killer money.
i have been working on cars for ten years now and went to school and got a degree in high performance. i have worked for a transmission shop all ten years and become the best my shop has to offer. no im not the best out there or even the most experienced but i do make good money because im the best in the shop. i continued to learn and get training. i went from pulling trannys to building diffs and t-cases. then proved my self and learned how to build transmissions. now i have become the manager.
im telling you this because the truth of it is there is a lack of good mechanics out there. electronics is foriegn to most of the older techs. you know the guys im talking about the drunks and burners who never grew up but call themselves mechanics because there still around after 20 or 30 years. and no i dont mean to offend you older guys but the truth of it is only the best of you made it and the rest have ruined the image of this buisness.
go learn electronics and be the best at it. dont listen to people about not working on cars and the money is not good. most people who hate cars were never any good at it anyway. only the best survive right. if you love cars then go for it. never say i dont now how or cant. go figure it out. ask questions. you will do just fine you just need the right attitude.
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:26 PM   #19
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first of all most of you who posted about cars being tough to work on and the pay isnt that great your right. BUT!!! only the best make good money and not everyone can be the best! every shop has at least one great tech. it might be the owner or the guy whos been there the longest or believe it or not it might be the guy with the latest and greatest training.but your right its not for everyone and no if your not the best in the shop you probably wont make killer money.
i have been working on cars for ten years now and went to school and got a degree in high performance. i have worked for a transmission shop all ten years and become the best my shop has to offer. no im not the best out there or even the most experienced but i do make good money because im the best in the shop. i continued to learn and get training. i went from pulling trannys to building diffs and t-cases. then proved my self and learned how to build transmissions. now i have become the manager.
im telling you this because the truth of it is there is a lack of good mechanics out there. electronics is foriegn to most of the older techs. you know the guys im talking about the drunks and burners who never grew up but call themselves mechanics because there still around after 20 or 30 years. and no i dont mean to offend you older guys but the truth of it is only the best of you made it and the rest have ruined the image of this buisness.
go learn electronics and be the best at it. dont listen to people about not working on cars and the money is not good. most people who hate cars were never any good at it anyway. only the best survive right. if you love cars then go for it. never say i dont now how or cant. go figure it out. ask questions. you will do just fine you just need the right attitude.

WOW! finally someone that said something good about being an automotive tech... im currently training to be a mercedes tech / diesel tech at uti and holy **** there is sooo much to learn..... ive had instructors here that have been putting in 80+ hrs / week due to flat rating and actually showed their timeslip.... its all about who the top dog is in the shop.. and that guy makes the most money... definitely right about electronics as well.. im actually in electronics diagnosis class right now and we are actually taught how to chase whats wrong with a circuit, whether it could be high resistance on a wire, load, circuits not getting power at all, etc... and i can see how this would actually help me in the near future... as long as you put your all, and doing what you do is what you love and are passionate about it, you shouldnt have a problem being on top of whatever youre doing...

if you want to be an automotive tech, go for it... dont look back.. as long as it is what you really want, youre gonna do great man... another thing to consider is working at higher end dealerships such as bmw, mercedes etc... their pay will be a little higher than regular dealerships.. also, if you need training.. id highly suggest to go to uti.. there are guys that say they dont learn **** from the school, but trust me, those are the guys that are showing up late, sleeping, not paying attention during lectures, etc... i have learned so much about cars man its not even funny.. and if you take electives such as mercedes, youll get 14 creds out of 20 to be a master tech... 14 creds man!! thats assuming youll do great in that elective.. 6 more and youll be master tech and thats making great money.. now again, thats assuming youll do good in school and actually learn with what you do...

i was originally in school to be a lawyer and after going to school for 1 year, it hits me that all i love was cars man.... so do what you love and never you look back... uncle, mom, friends cant tell you what you love man.. im in training to be an auto tech for mercedes and im actually doing good so far... if you have any questions, pm me.
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:28 AM   #20
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gofasterdammit and vonskee good luck on your future careers as techs, I hope you guys do much better than I did. I was a GM master cert. tech in electronics for many years an I stand by what I said earlier. One good piece of advice is getting into a high end shop or a performance shop.
Otherwise I will ask you guys the same question after 15-20 years on flatrate and see if the answers change.
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