Surviving Auto Mechanic School
Career Path : Automotive
Walking into your first class with no understanding of cars won’t necessarily doom you—this is a school, they’re going to teach you—but you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you do. Like most vocational schools, people walking into an auto mechanic school usually have some background or prior interest in the subject. They’ll have attended classes in high school, learned from a family member, or at the very least read some books at the library or articles on the internet.
Know the Basics of Auto Mechanics
Classes will often pace themselves according to the students’ readiness. You don’t need to be an encyclopedia of car facts—you’re attending to learn, not prove what you already know. But understanding the very basics of autos will save you headache and trouble moving forward. Read up on combustion engines, transmissions, clutches – all those terms you’ve heard before but don’t really understand. It will pay off in the long run.
Don’t Underestimate the Field
Auto mechanics don’t just learn a few things in school then use the same knowledge for the rest of their career. New models come out every year. New technologies rise and fall—maintaining a standard internal-combustion engine and maintaining a hybrid electric engine require different knowledge sets. Automobiles are increasingly using intricate computerized technology, which requires specialized diagnostic training. If you think auto mechanic training will be easy, you’re going to find yourself rudely awakened by reality.
What does this mean? It means you won’t visit class, then go party, then go back into class and ace your tests. You will need to study, as you would with any other school. Set a routine for study and play and stick to it. You can party much harder once you’ve graduated and have a steady career and income ahead of you.
Take Care of Yourself
Your mind won’t be the only thing getting worked hard at auto mechanic school. You’ll be doing precision work and heavy lifting, getting nicks and burns, and generally taking a beating. Proper rest will come easily after a hard day—other healthy habits may not. Taking the time to eat well after a hard day may seem like a pain, but you’ll regret it more if you don’t. The same goes for other unhealthy habits—good luck dealing with a long hard day digging around in a car with a hangover!
Don’t Feel Overwhelmed
If this article makes you nervous, don’t be. It can be tough work, yes, but any education worth having will be. In the end you’ll find it to be worth the effort. So just take a deep breath. You know how to survive—all that’s left is learning to enjoy the process.
Visit Canadian Automotive & Trucking Institute (CATI) for more information on transport training Canada.