Automotive Technician Opportunities Exist If You Have the Right Training

In the old days, almost anyone could fix a car. You just popped the hood and everything was right there: the spark plugs, belts, radiator, oil pump, and other engine components were in plain sight. Cars were simple and easy to repair, and you could spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon getting the old Chevy Camaro to purr like a kitten (or roar like a lion, if that was your preference).

Not now! Today’s vehicles have computers and sophisticated power systems including flex-fuels and gas-electric hybrids. Open the hood and you might not see much that the layman would recognize. Not many people can fix their own cars these days because vehicles are just too complex. They have to bring their car to a qualified technician.

Auto service technicians must have a broad knowledge of the design and interaction of vehicles’ increasingly complex components. They must be able to work with both old-fashioned hand tools and advanced electronic diagnostic equipment. They must be able to quickly learn new technologies and keep up with the rapid rate of change in the auto industry.

Good Career Prospects

If you are a qualified auto, truck, or diesel technician, you may have good career prospects. According to the U.S. Government Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), from 2008 through 2018 automotive service technician and mechanic job opportunities are expected to be good for those who have post-secondary school automotive training.

Total job openings should increase because of overall employment growth, and because many skilled technicians are expected to retire. Job opportunities for auto technicians and mechanics are expected to be very good for those who complete post-secondary automotive training programs and who earn ASE certification.

Get the Right Training

But you can’t just walk into a career as an auto service technician. Getting the right training can be important. Even for entry-level jobs, certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has become a standard credential for automotive service technicians. To prepare for certification, many training authorities recommend that students complete a formal training program in high school or in a post-secondary vocational school or community college.

You may want to start out with a service specialty. Certification can be obtained in eight different areas of automotive service, including engine repair, suspension and steering, brake systems, electrical systems, and heating and air-conditioning. Once you’ve launched your career, you may find that employers often send their technicians to manufacturer-sponsored technician training programs to improve or maintain their skills. Sometimes technicians focus on one brand of automobile or truck. Manufacturers also send experts to visit repair shops to provide brand-specific training.

How to Find an Automotive Training School

Here’s how to get started. Log onto a reputable college directory website such as the one below. By using your ZIP code, you’ll be able to get free information about automotive training schools in your area. Compare schools and find out which ones offer flexible schedules, financial aid for those who qualify, manufacturer sponsorship, and career guidance services. Then contact the schools that work for you. In just a few minutes you could be on your way to training for a rewarding career as an automotive technician.

Get Under the Hood of an Automotive Technology Career

For those of you who are tired of getting your auto fix by continuously customizing and modifying your own car, or gluing yourselves to TV shows like “American Choppers” or “Pimp my Ride”, there are ways to expand — automotive technology could be a lucrative career instead of just a way of letting the day speed by on the couch.

Automotive technology schools provide students with the possibility of blending their technical and creative passions together. Your interest in design, form, color, and presentation can be satisfied along with your desire to problem solve, tinker, experiment, and work with ever-evolving technology and science.

According to the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, professional automotive technicians can earn $60,000 or more per year with the appropriate training — and with good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pros in the field are in demand, with over 800,000 automotive technicians employed as of 2004. As the number of multi-car families continues to increase, job opportunities for automotive technicians are expected to grow as well.

An automotive technician career isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago, and as a result automotive technology schools have had to update their curriculum accordingly. With global positioning systems, Internet access, and alternate-fuel systems among the many increasingly common technological advancements found in cars, students at automotive technology schools cannot complete their training without knowledge in these fields. In fact, according to the College Board, more automotive technology schools are now even offering courses in stress management and customer service.

Not that automotive technology should be a stressful job — to the contrary, a successful automotive technician is one who is passionate about his or her career. But let’s face it, cars are a big part of the way we live and keeping them on the road is no small task. According to the Center for Automotive Research, by the year 2000, there were about 217 million vehicles on the road in the U.S., traveling 2.5 trillion miles, and consuming 160 billion gallons of gasoline. So sure, the job can get a little stressful at times — which is why an automotive technology career relies on education during crunch time.

Once you’ve received your training from an automotive technology school, certification is the only thing standing between you and your career. Voluntary certification by ASE is the standard credential in the automotive industry. Your certification will be in a specialty field of your choice, of which there are eight. These include electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. Master automobile technicians are certified in all eight areas .

Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Automotive Search Marketing Budget

10: Buy outside of your dealership’s geographic area:

Every car dealer wants their customers, their competitors customers, and will go to great lengths to buy zones or marketing areas well outside of any reasonable area. Often, it’s a naive marketer that buys a 100 mile radius on new car leads. What’s the REAL CHANCE you will sell a NEW Chevy when a customer will have to drive past 53 other Chevrolet dealers on the way down? Used cars is another story. We have some great success stories of selling cars outside of the state, region, even country.

9: Buy keywords for models you do not sell:

Of course people are cross shopping vehicles. Yes you may put a Cayenne buyer into an FX45 but first and foremost, get the proper keywords before you even think about buying any other automotive keywords. Then, if and when you do buy competing models, closely watch the clicks, conversion rates to see if these are even turning into automotive leads or are just a wasted effort.

8: Buy generic phrases:

If you are buying phrases like “cars” and “used” then you have purchased a one way ticket to spend budget quickly. You will attract all sorts of crazy requests especially if you buy a “broad match” which may include such wonderful phrases as “cars for demolition derbies” and “used jeans just like Madonna”. Automotive marketers beware but a click is a click to Google and they will charge you if you are not smart enough to prevent it.

7: Don’t match your ad to your destination page:

You ad says “Toyota Camry’s for $199/mo” and your landing page is a homepage that is still 3 clicks away from finding the Camry inventory. As a special bonus to your customer, they can’t find this $199 special because someone forgot to load it into your special offer section of your dealership’s website. Talk about a time waster. Another one-way ticket to find another dealer on Google is coming to a customer near you. Could you envision a situation where a customer walked into your showroom, asked about a Camry, and you walked him around your entire dealership, showed them the service department, F&I, and led them to a few doors which may or may not lead to a price on that car?

6: Make crappy boring generic ads

This is an automotive marketing staple. Boring, generic ads with no compelling reason to click on them. Sure it’s great you are on top of Google but that will not last long if you have a low click through rate, and customer’s are going to click on the ad that excites them. We run many automotive ads simultaneously and constantly make them compete to beat the next ad. This is why we can see a 15% or more click through rate on some ads and other dealers say that pay per click just does not work.

5: Spend too much on “gotta have it” keywords

I was at a dealership the other day, who shall remain nameless, who said “I have to win the word Honda”. I don’t care how much it costs, but anything Honda, I need to be #1 in paid search.”. This dealership would have put together a pay per click campaign that resulted in clicks on Honda motorcycles, Honda outboards, Honda used, Honda jet planes (yes take a look at them) and anything else. Plus he may end up paying $10 per click on competitive words. Insane.

4: Ignore Analytic reports and focus on traffic:

90% bounce rates on pay per click ads mean that 90% of your customers are leaving almost immediately. If you are not looking at analytic reports then you are spending money on the wrong keywords, ads, sites, etc. We just left a dealer who was buying the word “free” in their PPC campaign. Sure, tons of clicks. Duh. Bounce rate near 100%. Duh. I can’t even imagine how much they paid per click. Factor in the exit rates (what pages people are leaving from) and the new visitor ratio, and you can get a good idea of the best sources of traffic. Buy more good, buy less bad.

3: Let Google run your campaign

Sure it is easy and may be good to get you started, but Google suggestions will often just give you irrelevant phrases, or provide you with odd budgets. Buy what you need, leave the rest. Remember, Google wants to spend your automotive budget.

2: Spend too much per click

Sometimes, coming in 2nd is a good thing! When the price between being a first place listing and second place listing is $2.00 per click, it pays to let go of first sometimes. Often, we can buy several times as many clicks for our clients just by avoiding the “bid to win 1st” mentality. Sometimes, the “long tail” philosophy can lead to a boatload of clicks at a low price.

1: Buy your own name

Here is our favorite one of all, bidding on your own name. There is a very popular and well known automotive marketing company who can get dealers a ton of clicks and “phone calls” as well. It’s easy when you buy the dealers name. If you are already #1 with your own name (most dealers are) and there is no competition, the DO NOT buy your own name. They will find you for free. That is buying the cow, AND paying for the milk. It’s insane that a major, well funded business has built a business model around redirecting a dealers own traffic back to the dealer, and getting full credit for it. There are cases where you do want and need to buy your own name but in most cases, it is not necessary.

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