Are you looking for a new career, one that will weather the economic uncertainty facing so many industries these days? One that requires a multitude of skills, puts you on the cutting edge of technology, and makes you invaluable to most of society? Yes? Have you considered becoming an auto mechanic?
No, seriously. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says demand for technicians is expected to grow 17% by 2020. Combine that with the fact that more and more high school graduates are looking elsewhere for a career and you have a serious shortage of master mechanics coming down the pike. That’d be bad news for drivers but great news for techs who’ll be in high demand. The BLS says techs earned between $35,000 and $60,000 in 2010. The law of supply and demand says those salaries would rise if the predicted tech shortage becomes a reality.
Part of the problem is that many of today’s mechanics grew up working on cars. 40 or 50 years ago anyone with the know-how and the right tools could mess around under the hood. But today’s high school grads may not have had that experience given that the cars they grew up with ran on computer-operated systems, making home-repairs more challenging if not impossible. Another factor is that many schools have had to cut auto shop classes as budgets got tighter.
But the education is out there if you look for it. Butler gets many of its techs from the Automotive Technology Department at Rogue Community College. To a terrifically small degree we even help teach the class. Butler Service Manager Curtis Hancock spends time every semester participating in RCC’s Career Day. He gives tips on finding a job in the automotive industry, sheds light on what life in a professional shop is all about, answers questions, and keeps an eye out for recruits. He’s looking for someone with a passion for the work.
If you think that might be you, you’re in luck. Put on your safety glasses ‘cause the future looks bright.