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It's one of the great debates in the automotive world. Is it worth it to attend an automotive school, or should I just get a job at the local shop and work my way up as I 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. Mechanic Schools There are a wealth of high-quality mechanic schools in the United States - UTI, WyoTech, Lincoln Tech, and NADC just to name a few. At these schools, you can earn a degree/diploma in just about any facet of the automobile, diesel, motorcycle, marine, auto body and even aviation repair industries. You name it, there is a program for it. 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 automotive 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. Possibly even a manufacturer specific job (Audi, BMW, VW, Nissan, etc.) that pull in some pretty big bucks. 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? Pros: - 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 training 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 (see above)


- in some cases you get a good starter set of professional tools - you make connections with fellow students, teachers, and others in the automotive industry - you typically get job placement assistance - many student 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 Cons: - 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 by taking a few certification courses along the way, and bingo, you might have yourself a nice career. Of course, you might also be on the road to changing oil and tires for the rest of your life until you finally get that coveted assistant manager position and a $1/hour raise to go with it. Yeah, that might be a bit too negative, but you get the point. 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. Pros: - 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 Cons: - 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!

Mike Gracen is the founder of Loud Market (http://aviationacademyinfo.com/ar/aviation-mechanicschools.php), a mechanic college directory that offers free information from top mechanic schools for people looking to get into the automotive industry.

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Mechanic Schools - Are They Worth It.txt