Bobby Ventura, a lanky 6’2″ blonde-haired blue-eyed high school junior, is a self described home mechanic who enjoys tinkering with his screaming yellow ’97 Mustang at every opportunity he can get. Having an uncle who runs a garage helped him to land his first car several months before he obtained his driver’s license.
“I’m not much for studying, but auto shop has kept me focused. I plan on working for my uncle when I graduate from school and I’ll take night classes at Tech to get my AAS in Automotive Systems Technology. Cars have changed a lot over the years and my uncle wants someone who can not only turn a wrench, but be able to read a computer. Today’s cars have much more diagnostic stuff to figure out and that is what I am going to learn at Tech,” Bobby quipped.
Cars have changed and the market for new mechanics has changed as well. As older mechanics retire, they will need to be replaced by professionals who not only know cars from bumper to bumper but can also understand computer software. Installing a K&N cold air intake is still a necessary skill, but many repair shops now want students who can understand and fix global positioning systems, such as OnStar, which are found on many vehicles today.
Indeed, new cars such as the BMW 7 Series come equipped with fiber optic cables which connect the navigation system, cellular service, radio, and CD player. Hybrid cars, too, have introduced a whole new area of specialty and with the hopeful introduction of hydrogen powered vehicles in a decade or two another area of expertise will also open up.
Bobby’s guidance counselor, Ted Winslow, is pleased with his career choice. “Bobby identifies with fixing things and he is quite good at what he does. I can’t see him sitting behind some desk when I know that he is much more interested in working underneath the hood of a car, installing a cold air intake, replacing a radiator, or swapping out a heater core. Besides, if he does really well someone like BMW may hire and train him and their mechanics can make over 100K per year.”
If the student in your home is contemplating his or her career choices, exploring the automotive technology field is worth a look. A general shortage of highly skilled mechanics ensures that the brightest students will find work and be paid quite well. Bobby Ventura is starting his career off right by attending technical school where an AAS degree in Automotive Systems Technology is certain to point him in the right direction.