After High School, the path for everyone doesn’t have to be to go to college. Mechanics have been a staple in society since cars first took to our streets. In fact, the number of those taking on trades after High School has been on the rise. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1999, only 9.6 million students were in a trade school, but by 2014, this number increased to 16 million.
However, college grads and those who apply to trades both go through the same struggle of getting a job without any experience. Everybody starts somewhere. The most successful people in the world all started their first job with no experience, yet it’s still so tough to get a job without any experience. All too often, you see entry-level job postings requiring 3+ years of experience.
This guide will detail what exactly an auto mechanic is, the necessary skills to become a Mechanic, and the benefits you’ll get from the position. Then, we will talk about steps you can take to a Mechanic job with no experience.
By definition, a Mechanic is a skilled tradesperson that uses tools to build, maintain, or repair machinery. More likely than not, you have visited a Mechanic at least once in your life. Mechanics can provide a large variety of services. They can provide simple routine maintenance, like oil changes, checking fluids, testing your lights, replacing windshield wipers, and changing your air filter. Or they can provide more specialized services. Been in a wreck that has damaged your car? A Mechanic can help fix it. Car won’t start? Take it to a mechanic to diagnose the issue. Everything you need to help with your car troubles, a Mechanic will be there to help you.
In the previous section, you learned just how many different problems a Mechanic can be asked to solve. You’re going to have to have a vast array of motor knowledge to be able to inspect, diagnose, and then repair a large array of problems.
While half the job of a Mechanic is doing actual work on cars, the other half is talking with customers. Mechanics are required to talk with customers every day. Good customer service skills can go a long way between a happy and upset customer.
As a Mechanic, you’ll be using lots of tools and equipment, each for different jobs. It’s vital you have good organization skills to be able to find what you need for each job.
A Mechanic has to be able to look at a problem, diagnose it, and come up with a solution. Good problem-solving skills are a vital part of the job.
Once you join an auto shop, you join a team. You won’t be fixing everything by yourself. Instead, you’ll be part of a team that works together to fix problems. Being able to collaborate well within a team and communicate will make your and your teammate’s jobs a lot easier.
You’ll be working on cars all day, every day. Apple CEO Tim Cook once said, ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. If you love cars and working on them, you’ll enjoy your days at work a lot more.
Being a Mechanic comes with a slew of benefits to your personal, financial, and social, and physical aspects of your life.
The skills you learn being a Mechanic will directly translate to your personal life. You’ll be able to keep your car in pristine condition without having to pay someone else to work on it. This will save you tons of money on paying someone to do it for you. You may also be able to start a little side hustle as your neighborhood Mechanic.
As a Mechanic, you’ll also have great job stability. Cars have been the staple in transportation for the past couple of decades. There will always be cars, and because of that, they’ll always be a need for experts to work on and fix them. However, remember to move with the times. As electric cars become more and more popular throughout the world, it will be beneficial for up-and-coming Mechanics to add them to your knowledge set too.
According to Indeed, a Mechanic makes, on average, around $50,000 a year. While this may not be the highest salary, you also have to remember, Mechanics, don’t require a university education. Unlike college students, Mechanics won’t typically be burdened with student loan debt, which is a major benefit. You will start off making money early and without student loans dragging you down.
This isn’t an office job where you’ll be sitting at a desk on your computer all day. You’re going to be on your feet, picking up heavy tools and moving all the time. Not only will your physical health benefit, but solving problems all day will keep your brain working.
Now that you’ve learned what a Mechanic is, the characteristics required, and the benefits you’ll get, let’s talk about the steps you can take to become a Mechanic with no experience. Becoming a Mechanic without experience is certainly possible. Everyone starts somewhere with their life. The best Mechanics in the world all started off with no experience. While you can certainly get a Mechanic job with no experience, you’ll want to follow these steps to give you the best possibility of doing so.
The first you’ll need to have before you start your Mechanic career is to have your High School Diploma or GED. This is considered the bare minimum of education for most jobs, and this is no different for Mechanics. Getting your High School Diploma or GED means that you’ve successfully passed basic level Science, Math, English, and other classes, which are all necessary for Mechanic jobs. Above all, it means that you have the mentality and discipline to finish an educational program.
The licensing requirements to be a Mechanic vary state by state. One of the first steps you’ll have to take before becoming a Mechanic is determining what the requirements are for where you plan to work. To find out what your states’ license requirements are, simply Google “[Your state] mechanic license requirements.” States like Texas and Florida require no licensing, whereas Michigan requires multiple.
If you want to further your Mechanic education before you start looking for a job, you enroll in a Trade School that has a Mechanic Program. By enrolling in a Trade School Mechanic Program, you’ll gain a basic understanding of everything you need to know about being a Mechanic. Mechanic Programs give you hands-on training to familiarize yourself with common tasks, like oil changes, brake pad replacement, diagnostics, tune-ups, A/C repairs, and other basic repairs.
For an example of a Mechanic Program, see Universal Technical Institute. They offer an automotive technology program that takes 51 weeks from start to finish and gives you around 690 hours of experience in the lab. A statistic that will be great to hear for new Mechanics is that 4 out of 5 grads end up getting jobs after the program.
Going through a Mechanic Program is a great way to show potential employees that, while you don’t have real-world experience, you still have all the necessary skills to start the job. Most Mechanic Programs will also offer hands-on experience, which you can include in your resume when applying for positions.
Another way to further your Mechanic education before jumping into a job is to get certified. There are many mechanic, repair, and service certifications available that can help individuals advance their mechanic skillsets.
However, the industry standard and most popular way for determining the skillset of mechanics is through the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Beginner Mechanics typically start with 8 core areas that cover the basic knowledge needed for repair and maintenance. These 8 core certifications are as follows:
ASE testing is available year-round. To sign up for a course, check out the registration schedule and find a test center near you. A registration fee of $34 and a testing fee of $47 is charged per test you take
Like graduating from a Mechanic Program, having certifications in your resume is a sure way to make you stick out and shows potential employers that you have the skill set required to take on the job.
If your state doesn’t require a license for mechanic work and you don’t want to get certified or go through a Mechanic Program, you can always go the old-fashioned route and try to get some entry-level work right out of school. This will probably be the hardest way for you to get work, as you won’t have experience or schooling, but it is always possible.
Go around your local auto shops and ask to talk to the manager. Tell them that you’re looking to start out as a Mechanic and wanted to know if they were hiring. Tell you can start out picking up easy tasks such as changing oil and that you are willing to learn from them. The worst thing they can say is no, and the best thing you gain is a great learning opportunity to kickstart your Mechanic career.
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