Are you looking for a career that can provide lifelong stability, earning potential that provides for a family and a hands-on experience that allows you to vary your daily duties?
Automotive mechanics and motorcycle mechanics in California could be the answer for you. As vehicles including passenger, commercial, industrial and motorcycles become more complex with added technologies for safety, repair technicians are required to be knowledgeable and well educated. This typically leads to higher long-term salary and job security. The U.S. is home to the ‘open road’ mentality and in 2015 record-breaking car sales prove that Americans love to drive. Automotive mechanics in California are reaping the rewards with great careers.
Mechanic Career Prospects
According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics the automotive repair industry is growing at an average rate of 5% per year and projected to do so until 2024. In 2014, the department reports there were 739,900 automotive and motorcycle repair technicians in the U.S. with a turnover ratio of almost 40,000 positions slated until 2024. A good portion of those positions according to the State of California’s Employment Development Department are within California with almost 16,200 replacements needed. This 15% need shows just how many new automotive mechanics in California are needed in the coming years. This means you should have no problems finding employment especially with over 2,500 job posting expected in the state annually.
Although the national average salary is $37,120, in California, motorcycle mechanics and automotive repair specialists can expect a mean of $41,051 and at the high range $56,881 annually. Great benefits await new mechanics as well with almost 100% of employers offering medical insurance coverage, over 90% provide vacation, 80% dental insurance, over 60% provide life and vision insurance and over 40% of employers provide retirement plans and sick leave.
With the gap in demand and supply of technicians, over 30% of employers are hiring mechanics with less than a year of experience and 96% expect to employment opportunities to remain stable or to grow in the coming years in California. It may be time to start looking at a career that can provide you a stable future.
Education Requirements Needed
Due to the growing complexity of cars and motorcycles today, employers are expecting new hires generally to have completed and graduated from high school as well as completed a community college or vocational program for automotive service technicians.
As with any career, the more education and certification that you have potentially positions you to advance faster and farther than having the minimum requirements. Educational programs for mechanics range from a career diploma to a professional certification to an associate’s degree with coursework that would be transferable to a four-year college program.
Different programs may focus on different parts of the vehicle and systems while also providing broad overview courses as well. You may want to focus your career around the burgeoning growth of hybrid vehicles and green technology or you may want to focus on performance engines. In either case, choosing the right program and getting certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) would provide extra qualifications for getting hired.
ASE also provides two certifications needed by most Californian automotive repair technicians including the Brake/Lamp Adjusters and Smog Check Technician certifications needed to perform these duties in the state of California. ASE provides over 40 automotive certifications in a number of areas such as:
- Collision repair and refinishing
- Automobile and Light truck repair
- Damage and estimations
- Alternate fuels
- Advanced engine performance
- Hybrid/Electric engines
- Exhaust systems
- Parts specialists
More certifications will make you more marketable providing better opportunities in your career.
Aspects of the Mechanic’s Role
You may have certain desires when looking for a motorcycle mechanic career in California. Understanding the differences in the industry can help you focus your career into the right path. If you know you want to focus on motorcycles, you may not want to take a training course that focuses mainly on small passenger vehicles.
Furthermore you may want focus your career into the high performance arena in order to work on racing vehicles. Yet, you may still yet want to run your own business at some point and may want the business side of automotive repair included in your education. All of these are very different functions of an automotive repair technician and you will need to find the right automotive school in California that meets your needs.
Automotive Schools in California & Motorcycle Mechanic Schools in California
The one difference that can automatically differentiate you among your peers when looking for employment is the nature of your education. Of course you will be ‘hireable’ no matter which program your graduate from, however there are a few known ‘professional’ schools for automotive and motorcycle mechanics in California that will open more opportunities for your career.
Top California Training Institutes
The Universal Technical Institute is one of these top training institutes that provide a broad range of programs for automotive repair. The school has campuses nationwide with three in California; Long Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, and Sacramento. You can start your training at the institute in a number of standard programs of study including: Automotive, Collision Repair, Diesel, Marine, Motorcycle, and NASCAR. However, these training certifications are just the beginning with sub-programs within each segment providing specialized training such as under Diesel, the Cummins – Diesel Engines certification gives you hands-on specialized training for this industry work horse engine. The Automotive 51-week certification comes with an ASE Master Certified designation included to prove the quality of the program.
Penn Foster is another career college that provides an array of automotive repair related programs and certifications including Auto Repair Technician, Diesel/Heavy Truck Maintenance, Motorcycle Repair Technician and Small Engine Repair Career Diploma. The school also offers Automotive HVAC and Automotive Transmissions Essentials Certifications.
Chabot College is another ASE certified automotive college offering a wide variety of courses for you to tailor your learning experience towards the career you want to have. The college specializes in German engineering with their BMW Lab and specifically for repair of BMWs. However with seven certificate programs there are plenty to help you get the education you need.
City College of San Francisco and the College of Alameda both offer over 10 certificate programs in automotive repair and motorcycle mechanic streams with specific programs that focus on chassis, engine, drivetrain, performance and other specializations.
UEI College offers an Automotive Technician program that is 9 months with a job placement program for its graduates. Located in Gardena, California the program offers basic to advanced automotive repair techniques and offers a quick way to enter the job market.
Many other community colleges offer these types of programs. They generally focus on the overall basics of automotive or motorcycle repair with a certificate or diploma. If you are looking for a fast-track into the industry that is cost-effective these schools may be the answer. However, their breadth and depth of courses may not be as extensive as the schools listed above.
If you are looking for a stable and rewarding hands-on career, an automotive technician or motorcycle mechanic can provide a quality profession with long-term growth prospects, better than average income potential and a career path within the industry that you can choose.