Schools Training

Automotive Schools: Your Passport to a Career in Auto Journalism

16 FEB 2012
Career Path : Automotive

Automotive schools are a pathway to a dream career as an automotive journalist. Just imagine…you’re flying to the West Coast. On the itinerary: a “product reveal.” You’ve done a hundred of these by now. It’s when a car manufacturer invites you, automotive journalist extraordinaire, for a 120-mile round-trip “press drive” of their latest fully loaded model. You always take these test droves slow, tinkering with the sound system, adjusting the seats.

Some of your colleagues prefer the faster-is-better approach, but you… you like to savour every moment, because you love everything about cars, their design, their technology. After all, that’s why you went to auto training school in the first place. After the press drive, you will regroup with car-loving journalists from across North America for dinner, courtesy of the car manufacturer, in the restaurant of a 5-star hotel. At your table will be some of the engineers who worked on the car you drove.

Unlike the rest of your colleagues, who came to the profession via journalism rather than auto training school, you will be able to speak with them knowledgeably, thanks to everything you learned at auto training school.

Why Auto Training School Rather Than Journalism School?

  • None of Canada’s journalism schools currently offer a specialization in automotive journalism.
  • Although programs do exist in other countries such as England, these can be prohibitively expensive, e.g., one one-year M.A. in automotive journalism charges non-European Union residents $15,700.
  • Niche appeal of transport training. Canada has many automotive journalists, but only a handful have training as auto technicians or engineers. A graduate of auto training school has the advantage of being able to write knowledgeably about technical matters. This specialist knowledge can help them gain audience trust, and endear them to editors.

Auto training school can give automotive journalists insider knowledge about the work of:

  • an auto technician
  • a car salesperson
  • a quality control inspector in an automotive parts plant
  • a computer-aided designer
  • a parts broker
  • a truck driver
  • a dispatcher
  • an automotive journalist
  • an operators manager
  • a log book auditor
  • a vehicle emissions inspector
  • a non-flying ground support equipment mechanic
  • a collision estimator
  • a auto body technician
  • a heavy duty equipment service technician

Automotive schools can prepare automotive journalists to sell themselves as a car expert to:

  • specialty magazines
  • newspapers
  • websites
  • TV shows
  • radio shows

What Do Automotive Journalists Do?

  • weigh cars
  • drive them around test tracks
  • attend “First Drive” events
  • take notes on performance
  • borrow cars from the press-drive fleets maintained by manufacturers in most major cities (freelancers, beware: you will be expected to shoulder the costs of your own fuel)
  • travel to events
  • attend auto shows
  • assess price

It is an asset if you also have the ability to take your own publication-quality photos.

So, if the idea of test driving cars for a living sounds pretty attractive to you, you may want to pursue a career in automotive journalism, by taking transport training. Canada has many automotive schools that can prepare you for a life of “products reveals” and “press drives.” Auto training school may be a springboard for aspiring auto journalists.

Contact the Canadian Automotive and Trucking Institute for more information on their automotive programs.