It’s one of the great debates recently….
Is it worth it to attend a tech school, or should you just get a job at the local shop and work your way up as you learn?
Well, there is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on what risks you want to take and (like most things in life) how hard you are going to apply yourself to be successful.
Let’s take a brief look at both scenarios.
There are a wealth of high-quality mechanic schools in the United States. At these schools, you can earn a degree/diploma in just about any facet of the moto repair industry. The schools are staffed with professional teachers, equipped with the latest technology and tools, and are committed to helping you succeed, if you put forth the effort and are willing to deal with a few hiccups on the way. In a lot of cases, it’s not just technology training – it’s everyday life training.
By attending, applying yourself to the coursework, and graduating from any of these top schools, you have a very good chance of landing a sweet job right out of school.
Of course, you have to pay tuition, which is not cheap – no question about it. Many students qualify for financial aid to help out, but you are still looking at spending a significant chunk of change to attend most of the top mechanic schools. Looking at it from a different perspective, you are investing in your future, so are you worth it?
- you earn a certificate/diploma/degree which shows you can set your mind to a goal and complete it
- you can get highly specialized manufacturer specific raining that makes you very valuable in the industry
- you might be able to secure a job right out of school with a specific dealer or manufacturer
- in some cases you get a good starter set of professional tools
– you make connections with fellow students, teachers, and others in the industry
- you typically get job placement assistance
- many students qualify for financial aid to help pay tuition
- you end up working on vehicles that you worship, and you’re actually happy to wake up in the morning and go to work
- you have to pay tuition and possibly student loans after you graduate
-you might not get a job… even with your shiny new diploma in hand
- if you don’t apply yourself 110% in your classes, you might not learn a whole heck of a lot considering how much you paid in tuition (that would be your fault…)
Apprenticeship or Learning on the job
The other road to become a professional mechanic is the tried and true. Learn a good bit tinkering on your own, and then look for an entry level position in a local shop, and work your way up. You can pepper that with taking a few certification courses along the way, and bingo, you might have yourself a nice career.
If you are already good with your hands, own a good set of pro tool, and can find a local shop with a mentor who will teach you the in and outs – then go for it! Get certified here and there over the years to stay current, and you’ll be good to go.
- you don’t have to pay tuition
- you might earn an hourly wage while you learn on the job/apprentice
- you might end up taking over for the owner/lead mechanic eventually and run the shop yourself
- you might get a very small (or none at all) hourly wage while learning on the job
- the person you are learning from might not know as much as you thought they did.
- you might not learn to do what you really want to be doing(changing tires, oil, etc day in and day out…)
- you have to buy or borrow every last one of your tools yourself
- you might get laid off first since you are the low man on the totem pole
Hopefully this article has given you something to think about. Maybe put things in perspective a bit. Or even made you think of a few things you hadn’t considered. That was the goal.
We need more good, qualified, honest, professional technicians in the industry. Hopefully, whichever road you take, you become one.
Best of luck in your endeavors!