These days, people looking to become a mechanic can expect formal, standardized training in addition to apprenticeships. Programs that offer both in-class and in-shop auto mechanic training fill the essential role of protecting the health and safety of the consumer, and also help the student become certified and prove their qualifications to an employer.
Increasing Technological Sophistication
Cars have evolved. They’ve come a long way from the open sided “horseless carriages” that carried passengers and drivers two centuries ago, and they continue to become increasingly sophisticated. It was only sixty years ago that mandatory seatbelts were a new thing, and radios considered a luxury. Today, the modern driver expects air conditioning, heated seats, auto steering, anti-lock brakes and an integrated entertainment system (flat screens in a car are so common that they no longer turn heads.) With the computerization being inseparable from car design and with the quick rise of electric cars, and it’s no wonder that auto technician training includes formal classes. There’s simply more information to learn than there was in the past.
Decrease in Vocational Training
While cars have gotten more complicated, education budgets have been restructured away from preparing students for vocational studies. All across the board, high schools have cut trade courses, ranging from carpentry to auto shop classes. Meanwhile, fewer children are raised with hands-on training in the home. Families decreasingly do their own oil checks and tire changes, so prospective mechanics may never have seen the inside of a car until their first day of training. Taking auto mechanic programs in a school means that high school graduates can play catch up and get their hands dirty before the more demanding requirements of an apprenticeship put them to work.
National and Regional Standardization
Certification has become essential. People looking to become a mechanic can expect multiple exams to prove their skills before they can legally call themselves a mechanic. Much like how we restrict who can practice medicine or law, standardized expectations allow clients to know that the person working on their car can be trusted. While auto technician training has always been a specialized skill set, as most people now spend at least some part of their day in a motor vehicle, their safety depends on mechanics always being top notch and correctly identifying and eliminating problems. Certification also works to the mechanic’s advantage. Certified mechanic often earn higher salaries, and their qualifications are more portable than if they had to rely purely on client or employer references.