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Do You Need an Automotive Education?

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge ETCG1 Video Discussions Do You Need an Automotive Education?

This topic contains 44 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by Jeff Kelley Jeff Kelley 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #528883
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    After posting last weeks video, “Should You Get Into Auto Repair”, a lot of people brought up the topic of education. For this weeks video I decided to explore the subject in more detail. What are your thoughts?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 44 total)
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  • #528886
    dave
    dave
    Participant

    I believe that 20 years ago it may have been possible to be a successful technician without formal education. In today’s vehicles, you need an automotive education. You need to become an electrical guru. You need to know how to use scopes, scan tools, diagnose sensors, measure voltage drops and understand the network communication bus for example… and that’s just scratching the surface.

    #528907
    dollman0
    dollman0
    Participant

    Definitely need some education to do basic service like the G1 cert. If you want to be a real technician, plan on getting more education than a doctor, I mean you have to keep learning as technology evolves 😆

    I have worked with guys who think education is crap and those are the guys who are stuck doing tire work and other insignificant jobs. The days of breaker points and analog systems are ancient history.

    Eric, I like what you are doing here

    #528908
    dave
    dave
    Participant

    No one has mentioned that the auto technician has the power to kill his or her customers. Who wants a brake job that is only 80% correct? (and that’s without the pressure of having to meet flat-rate book time) With such liability in today’s “sue everybody” world, it is important that the technician receive the highest possible training available.

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhjBlPucpd0[/video]

    #528912
    dollman0
    dollman0
    Participant

    Thats a good point and I have turned people away if I am concerned about the work they want done due to the liability placed upon me by DOT. I work on commercial trucks and can be held accountable if fault is determined after an accident… I will not rebuild any air valve because the customer thinks it will work and is too cheap to buy a guaranteed part. :stick:

    #528967
    Herman Tyler Jr.
    Herman Tyler Jr.
    Participant

    Hello everyone! Eric this is a great discussion! Well let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of this conversation. I’m a person that believes knowledge is power, your power is governed by your knowledge. I’m 55 years old, and 20 years ago I became paralyzed from the chest down from a (GSW) gun shot wound. I started my career in the automotive industry at the young age of 18 as an auto body and fender apprentice. I spent a year learning the basics from professionals in that field. How do you know who is a professional? This is a part of my intuition, or God given skill set. By my 19th birthday I began learning to be an automotive mechanic, I don’t know about anyone else, but the man that taught me to be a mechanic gave me a screw driver and a pair of channel lock pliers, and told me to take an alternator off 72 eldorado. For those of you that are interested, it took me 2 hours to take the old one off and put the new one on. There was a method to that madness, I had gained this mans respect because the guys that came before me couldn’t demonstrate the creativity necessary to complete that task with the tools given. I have a God given talent to understand electrical systems, and every repair shop, from dealers to independents, looked at me as if I was gold walking through the door. During my mid to late 20’s, I was working at an auto body and fender shop, and a automotive repair shop and doing side jobs at the same time, I’d developed a customer base that shops would kill for. From 89 till the later part of 1990 I worked as a manager for an independent repair shop, driving the tow truck and car carrier, and repairing automobiles. I accomplished everything without ever going to school. As education goes, I towed a car to a vocational college, and while waiting to get paid for the tow, I saw a young man struggling to diagnose a no start, so I showed him what was wrong. The instructor saw me and thought that I just lucked up on that diagnosis. So he asked me to diagnose three other cars, and I did them within 15 minutes, remember I was on a tow and had to get back to the shop. He asked if towing cars and mechanics was all I did, and I told him no, I also did auto body and fender work, and electrical systems. He begged me to follow him to his friend who was doing auto body and fender work. His friend asked me to explain the process, from metal straightening to refinishing and painting, and I did so quickly. Both men asked me would I consider teaching at the college, and I told them that I never finished 9th grade, and was short on time and would consider their offer. I never had a chance to get back to them before my injury, although I would think about them from time to time. As education goes, it would be an advantage to you to completely understand the reason for OBD II systems, and how they operate. Bus systems/networking, I’ve always been successful showing you what I’m capable of rather than rattling on about what I can do. And in conclusion, I would like to add if you want to enjoy doing this kind of work for a long time, “diversify” expand your skill sets.

    #528973
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”Wrench Turner” post=64548]I believe that 20 years ago it may have been possible to be a successful technician without formal education. In today’s vehicles, you need an automotive education. You need to become an electrical guru. You need to know how to use scopes, scan tools, diagnose sensors, measure voltage drops and understand the network communication bus for example… and that’s just scratching the surface.[/quote]

    You need ScannerDanner skills if you want to get into diagnostics on modern vehicles. 🙂

    I agree that getting into diagnostics will require at least some education but I think there are still jobs available to those that just want to hang parts. But even those jobs are starting to require some skill or at least some awareness of electrical systems. This way you don’t screw something up that you’re trying to fix.

    Bottom line, if you want to hang parts for crap pay and little respect, forget the education. If you want to do well and be respected as an automotive technician, go to school and learn to be the best tech you can be.

    #528975
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”dollman0″ post=64560]Definitely need some education to do basic service like the G1 cert. If you want to be a real technician, plan on getting more education than a doctor, I mean you have to keep learning as technology evolves 😆

    I have worked with guys who think education is crap and those are the guys who are stuck doing tire work and other insignificant jobs. The days of breaker points and analog systems are ancient history.

    Eric, I like what you are doing here[/quote]

    Good point.

    I like what I’m doing here too. I really like the dialog that’s been happening lately. I’m learning a great deal.

    #529062
    Herman Tyler Jr.
    Herman Tyler Jr.
    Participant

    Hello again everyone! So far we’ve addressed the certified automotive technician, the none certified technician (parts hangers) or (R&R), the experienced vs certified technician. What about the type of technician that quantifies me? The automotive technician that has spent the last 20 years self educating himself in the field of electronic engineering, classical physics and ect. One who knows how to proficiently use a scope, understands the different meanings of the sine wave, square wave ect. Proficient in using scan tools, understands why some sensor output voltage is AC instead of DC, Proficient in using DMM, and now the power probe III and the ECT2000. I have none quantifiable hours of education from 1993 to present, my disability allowed me this learning curve. So once again I ask the academically certified automotive technicians, to quantify a none documented highly educated automotive technician!! B)

    #529068
    dave
    dave
    Participant

    What about the type of technician that quantifies me? The automotive technician that has spent the last 20 years self educating himself in the field of electronic engineering, classical physics and ect. One who knows how to proficiently use a scope, understands the different meanings of the sine wave, square wave ect. Proficient in using scan tools, understands why some sensor output voltage is AC instead of DC, Proficient in using DMM, and now the power probe III and the ECT2000.

    ^^I hope this is me in 20 years 🙂

    #529117
    George
    George
    Participant

    Eric, first off, that’s cool that you were at the top of your class. It is a great achievement.

    See, to me although education is great, and of course it’s beneficial in getting a job I don’t think it’s 100% necessary. Then I also think that automotive technicians are a breed apart from every other profession. How many people now-a-days have gone to college and graduated in a certain field and are actually working in that field. I have numerous friends and family that this is happening to them. One friend actually graduated in Marketing and still can’t find a decent job. I guess that’s why going to be an automotive technician is expensive.

    Some people can’t take a damn test, but will be able to dissect an engine in a heart beat and tell you exactly how everything works and what everything does. Would you hire that person knowing he couldn’t pass the test but knows his stuff?

    #529241
    robinsonsauto
    robinsonsauto
    Participant

    Just a little story i would like to share

    The scene was a small roadside repair shop,ASE masters lined up on the wall; a young wrecker driver pulled up with a car on the hook, he joked with the mechanics as they walked out, man three times in one week I towed this same car, didn’t they teach you how to fix cars in school? the owner replied yea this car has been a challenge I believe all my guys are stumped, they replaced all kinds of parts, it runs fine then out of nowhere just shuts off, and at times it will run fine for weeks
    The driver said I know the feeling all too well I turned wrenches my whole life, we had to close up our shop last year, after talking for a short time the conversation turned back to the ASE’s on the wall, the owner of the shop understandably upset, said that paper means nothing they are costing me money I should just fire them all, the driver replied well I may not have much schooling all my training is hands on I guess you can call me home schooled, I have an expired masters and can count on my hands how many days I spent in school to achieve it, I just took the exams, and I must agree without hands on training and learning from other techs that have been in the field they don’t mean much but sure do look good on the wall, for the price of this tow job, double or nothing I bet I can fix that car for you

    To make a long story short I was that driver, within in an hour I located, recreated the said symptoms and repaired a bad connection at the ECM, a loose pin that would intermittently shut off the fuel pump, using basic troubleshooting techniques, mostly wiggle testing

    Two weeks later I got a call asking if I would accept an offer to run the shop along with my dad we accepted, within two years we turned that place around, they just needed a little guidance, all very book smart and could raddle off theory better than I, however they lacked a key element, “hands on real world experience” after that two years we moved on

    The point I’m trying to make here, not everyone with a master certificate should be considered a master technician and hired just on that, some of the best techs I have worked with had very little if any schooling,

    In addition to that not all bosses think alike, or can be created equal I have seen all types in this field

    You have the boss that sits in an office with no clue what takes place on the floor, and in some cases can’t turn a wrench, with this type. yes it’s hard to get in the door without some proof of education

    Then you have the boss that worked his way to the top by getting his hands dirty, this type of boss is typically found in independent shops most times the owner, now this don’t apply to all independent bosses by no means, I have seen all types some I would not even consider working for

    the boss i’m referring to is the one I would like to be some day, the boss that understands and can read personality’s pretty well, knowing the trade can help determine if someone is cut out for the job or not, regardless of education

    im not saying education is not important it is very important however there is more than one way to educate yourself, and I am living proof of that

    If someone came to me with the passion and drive to better themselves, not afraid to show their weaknesses, regardless education level, I would take them under my wing in a heartbeat as an “apprentice” just like my dad did for me, hence one of the reasons I do what I do with the videos, I believe in sharing our knowledge is a great form of education, if one studies enough, that exam will be a breeze, their hands and hart hold the true reward, and to me I found this more rewarding, well then again I never did it the other way around lol any how great topic

    Just wanted to share other options 🙂 please don’t mind the grammar that’s just my lack of education showing through lol

    Will Robinson
    Robinsonsauto

    #529247
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”wizkid” post=64646]Hello again everyone! So far we’ve addressed the certified automotive technician, the none certified technician (parts hangers) or (R&R), the experienced vs certified technician. What about the type of technician that quantifies me? The automotive technician that has spent the last 20 years self educating himself in the field of electronic engineering, classical physics and ect. One who knows how to proficiently use a scope, understands the different meanings of the sine wave, square wave ect. Proficient in using scan tools, understands why some sensor output voltage is AC instead of DC, Proficient in using DMM, and now the power probe III and the ECT2000. I have none quantifiable hours of education from 1993 to present, my disability allowed me this learning curve. So once again I ask the academically certified automotive technicians, to quantify a none documented highly educated automotive technician!! B)[/quote]

    Honestly, it sounds like you’re perfectly suited for a career in automotive education.

    #529249
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”georgelv1999″ post=64671]Eric, first off, that’s cool that you were at the top of your class. It is a great achievement.

    See, to me although education is great, and of course it’s beneficial in getting a job I don’t think it’s 100% necessary. Then I also think that automotive technicians are a breed apart from every other profession. How many people now-a-days have gone to college and graduated in a certain field and are actually working in that field. I have numerous friends and family that this is happening to them. One friend actually graduated in Marketing and still can’t find a decent job. I guess that’s why going to be an automotive technician is expensive.

    Some people can’t take a damn test, but will be able to dissect an engine in a heart beat and tell you exactly how everything works and what everything does. Would you hire that person knowing he couldn’t pass the test but knows his stuff?[/quote]

    I think you and many others missed the point about how much you’re worth if you don’t have a piece of paper saying you completed an automotive program. I’m not saying you can’t get a job without an automotive education, or that you don’t possess the skills, what I’m saying is that you’ll limit yourself to the bottom of the pay scale as a result. These days auto repair isn’t paying all that great as it is, do you want to add another handicap on top of that?

    #529257
    Eric The Car Guy
    EricTheCarGuy
    Keymaster

    [quote=”robinsonsauto” post=64721]Just a little story i would like to share

    The scene was a small roadside repair shop,ASE masters lined up on the wall; a young wrecker driver pulled up with a car on the hook, he joked with the mechanics as they walked out, man three times in one week I towed this same car, didn’t they teach you how to fix cars in school? the owner replied yea this car has been a challenge I believe all my guys are stumped, they replaced all kinds of parts, it runs fine then out of nowhere just shuts off, and at times it will run fine for weeks
    The driver said I know the feeling all too well I turned wrenches my whole life, we had to close up our shop last year, after talking for a short time the conversation turned back to the ASE’s on the wall, the owner of the shop understandably upset, said that paper means nothing they are costing me money I should just fire them all, the driver replied well I may not have much schooling all my training is hands on I guess you can call me home schooled, I have an expired masters and can count on my hands how many days I spent in school to achieve it, I just took the exams, and I must agree without hands on training and learning from other techs that have been in the field they don’t mean much but sure do look good on the wall, for the price of this tow job, double or nothing I bet I can fix that car for you

    To make a long story short I was that driver, within in an hour I located, recreated the said symptoms and repaired a bad connection at the ECM, a loose pin that would intermittently shut off the fuel pump, using basic troubleshooting techniques, mostly wiggle testing

    Two weeks later I got a call asking if I would accept an offer to run the shop along with my dad we accepted, within two years we turned that place around, they just needed a little guidance, all very book smart and could raddle off theory better than I, however they lacked a key element, “hands on real world experience” after that two years we moved on

    The point I’m trying to make here, not everyone with a master certificate should be considered a master technician and hired just on that, some of the best techs I have worked with had very little if any schooling,

    In addition to that not all bosses think alike, or can be created equal I have seen all types in this field

    You have the boss that sits in an office with no clue what takes place on the floor, and in some cases can’t turn a wrench, with this type. yes it’s hard to get in the door without some proof of education

    Then you have the boss that worked his way to the top by getting his hands dirty, this type of boss is typically found in independent shops most times the owner, now this don’t apply to all independent bosses by no means, I have seen all types some I would not even consider working for

    the boss i’m referring to is the one I would like to be some day, the boss that understands and can read personality’s pretty well, knowing the trade can help determine if someone is cut out for the job or not, regardless of education

    im not saying education is not important it is very important however there is more than one way to educate yourself, and I am living proof of that

    If someone came to me with the passion and drive to better themselves, not afraid to show their weaknesses, regardless education level, I would take them under my wing in a heartbeat as an “apprentice” just like my dad did for me, hence one of the reasons I do what I do with the videos, I believe in sharing our knowledge is a great form of education, if one studies enough, that exam will be a breeze, their hands and hart hold the true reward, and to me I found this more rewarding, well then again I never did it the other way around lol any how great topic

    Just wanted to share other options 🙂 please don’t mind the grammar that’s just my lack of education showing through lol

    Will Robinson
    Robinsonsauto[/quote]

    That’s an excellent point, especially the part about shop management. What I was trying to point out in the video was that an uncertified tech is not worth as much as a certified tech. I’m not saying the certified tech is better. What I’m saying is that as an employer you would be working very differently with someone that didn’t have a background in automotive education. You’d also pay them differently. Why? Because you could. Let’s not forget this is a business after all.

    That said, you must admit that you’re an exception. The truth is that most techs out there today, certified or not, are parts hangers. My former self included. I think the industry wants this. I think they’d rather have low wage parts hangers. I don’t think they want to invest in someone who is REALLY qualified to do performance and electronic diagnosis. If they did, the pay would be much better for that skill set.

    I’m sure this will be an ongoing debate. I welcome it. I’m learning more with every post I read.

    #529271
    jeep72
    jeep72
    Participant

    I think you need the schooling. For me that piece of paper from school help me get my foot in the door I think without that piece of paper it would be alot harder to get a job.

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