Career Options


Senior Member
heres the dealio:

i currently go to the university of new mexico and i am sick of it. every time i pick a major i end up changing my mind before the semester is up. i have gone from mis to engineering, to architecture, to art, to whatever. my latest stance was between art and auto mechanics. i have decided auto, because i dont want to take electives that dont pertain to my major. i.e. humanities appreciation, history...

so i have talked to my parents and i am considering transfering to uti in phoenix. i will prolly take the general auto mechanics course and the bmw course.

heres the questions:

1. do dealers/shops actually take uti's certification seriously?
2. if i get a job at a dealer are there chances for advancement without a degree?
3. salary? will my salary increase at at least the rate of inflation?
4. what kind of benefits do you get from working as a mechanic?

those are the most important ones i can think of. i actually know 2 people who work at bmw in my city. one is a shop manager and the other is a mechanic. so i am going to try to meet up with them and discuss some of my concerns.

i know the one thats working as a mechanic went to wyotech. anyway, im just trying to gauge the prospect of a career in mechanics.

my ultimate goal is to open my own shop. but i need to be able to make enough money to pay bills and save at the same time.

thanks for reading.
1- never heard of UTI, so i can't say. Wrong coast y0! lol
2- plenty. 95% of dealership workers aren't college grads- but, the ones that do well do have a tech school b/g.
3- that depends on the dealership and the economy. I know some techs who make 25k, and i know a few who make well over 100k a year. It's all skill level, how good you are, and how much of an asset you are to a dealership. other dealerships will want you, and offer you more.
4- benefits? like health isn? most likely a normal bene pak. if you mean free dealer car, you're probably not going to get one. you usually get cost + 10-15% on parts for your own car.

working on BMW's are not honda civics. just keep that in mind. hondas are easy as pie to work on.

running your own shop is a big deal. i looked into it- and i was going in on the business side of shit with a couple of my friends as techs- and it never went any further than that, because of so much risk, so much effort, and a 15% success ratio

90 accord

Chicks dig the box
i vote for uti, cuz it's right around teh corner from me, and i need to get some more "car friends" here :lol:

i think your pay is based on basically how fast you can fix cars, well, more vehicles you fix the more you get paid. atleast thats what i've always thought..


Senior Member
my friend works for Honda as a tech. He never even finished high school but he was making bank. His friend made 100k a year also.
I would imagine that it's the same at every honda/acura dealer ship, but the one my friend works for goes by teams. red team, blue team, white team, ect... red team was the highest paid followed by white team and so on. you do a good job and do it fast you get promoted to red team, if you're on white team and you're gettin slow they demote you to green team.


MY BEST FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL went to one of those tech schools, make sure you find out if its accredited...
from what i have heard from him your income all depends on how fast and how good you can work...
not sure what he started at but maybe 30 or 35, and i think he's well over 50K a year now

he works for ford by the way...
and i think the 'cream of the crop" from his tech school got "invited" to the bmw training school... it was a special program and pretty much gaurantees you loot...

so the way his thing worked, he went ot that school, and as soon as he got out the local ford dealer snatched him up likes hot cakes...
and then you can only do the jobs you are accredited to do, but ford sends you to their training programs, and pays you to go there, so you slowly add up your skills and training, he had to go to get certified for engine, manny trans, auto trans, ac systems, etc... so the more credits you have the more you make per hour

and then the jobs are based by the book...
if a motor exchange calls for 5 hours, and you do it in 3, then you just made yourself 2 extra hours worth of money... now the key is when you can pull like 60 hours in a 40 hour work week, or if you;re real good you can get up to 80 payable hours...

the shitty part would be that if you fuck something up, you don't get any hours to fix it
so if you take 5 hours to change a motor, and you do it wrong and have to do it again, you get to eat that 5 hours of time...

and dealerships have teams and bonuses for their teams, and all this other promo shit to get you to work faster...

if you want any more details ask, but this is all i cn remember off the top of my head... do research online, you can't beat a whole world of info at your fingertips

just be aware that wrenching on cars 40 hours a week will make you disgusted with cars... you'll end up never touching a wrench for your own car and just buying new so you don't have to fuck with "broken shit"


Senior Member
Shortbusrebel and I are planning to attend the business and tech cshool down off front street here in missouri at this school we will be working mostly with fords on board computers, ECU's, tranny computers etc. Its a 2 year course, and it cost 6K, but after grad. we make $75K/year right out of school.

UTI is accredited as well.

Originally posted by NotUrAverage_Si@Apr 5 2004, 12:41 AM
my friend works for Honda as a tech. He never even finished high school but he was making bank. His friend made 100k a year also.
I would imagine that it's the same at every honda/acura dealer ship, but the one my friend works for goes by teams. red team, blue team, white team, ect... red team was the highest paid followed by white team and so on. you do a good job and do it fast you get promoted to red team, if you're on white team and you're gettin slow they demote you to green team.

The Honda dealership here in Independence pays by the job, not hourly or anything. Just if hte an odyssey comes in with a tranny problem, and it cost 6K to fix, you get like a percentage of that. ef9civicgen4 and I's mechanic friend works there and he's a FAG. Took 2 months to swap ef9civicgen4's B16 in.
I've been to two tech schools and have worked in five dealers...

1) Dunno. Probably.
2) Absolutly! Any dealer will spend the time and money to get an aspiring tech their ASE certification (no cost to the tech), if the tech shows potential. All you have to do is show interest and ask.
3) Yes.
4) Varies from dealer to dealer. GM isn't a tech friendly dealer because of their warranty reimbursement policies. It's complicated, but I would NOT work at a GM dealer again because of that.

It sounds to me, really, that you don't know what you want to do. Take a year off and do some little bullshit and just think about what you want to do. I went to three colleges, have two associates and a certification, and am not doing a damn thing to make money with any of them. However, if you're *SURE* that you want to be a tech for a career, just find a dealer that'll hire you at a decent rate, and that will put you through your ASE courses, and drop out. No sense in paying to do shit you don't like and won't ever use if the job you want will pay for your education. I normally don't recommend dropping out, but like I said... if you're *SURE* you want to be a tech....


Senior Member
do all dealerships pay according to the work you do? any salary? say there arent any cars to work on...does that mean i dont get paid? its not based on commission right? if i get paid according to the number of cars i work on or jobs i do, then how will i be guaranteed advancement?

when i said benefits i was concerned with health ins. and whatever else.

i know uti is accredited.
Most dealerships will pay flat rate. I'll use my time at the GM dealer in OR as an example... I was paid $15.50/ hr, flat rate. That means that if a job on a car books at an hour, I was paid $15.50 for that job, regardless of how long it took me. If it took me 30 minutes, great... I still got paid for a full hour. If it took me all day, sucks to be me becuase I still only got paid for one hour. Usually, the shop will start you out on an hourly rate, which is, you get paid for the time you're there, not the work you do. If you're there eight hours and only do one 30 minute oil change, you still get paid for eight hours.

Now, some dealers have "gaurentees." The Jeep dealer I worked at here in VT last summer had one of these. If I showed up for the full 45 hour week, then I was promised at least 32 hours of pay. That means that even if I only do one 30 minute oil change for the whole week, I still get paid 32 hours pay. If I bust my ass all week, and do the jobs exactly at book time, and do one right after the other, and make 45 hours a week, I get paid for 5 hours overtime, which is considered 100%. If I do over 100%, I'd be paid overtime for however many hours I work over 40. This policy is not an industry standard, so don't expect it. Some dealers, like a lot of Porsche dealers, pay their techs hourly because they don't want them rushing to get the job done. As for being guaranteed advancement... that totally depends on you and your employer. Benefits...? Yes, most likely. Again, depends.

How much experience do you have turning wrenches?


Senior Member
i have worked on my own cars since i got my own. most intense job i did was replacing the 1st/2nd syncro in my gsr.

the only thing im afraid of is getting a job at a dealer and not getting paid because there arent a lot of jobs to get done.
They keep you pretty busy, for the most part. They're not going to hire someone and then give them 5 hours of work a week... Your best bet is to go talk to some dealerships. Even though they're not advertising openings, they'll generally take someone on that shows interest and potential, especially this time of year. If you've done some tranny work, then I think you'd be able to handle most mechanical jobs you'll find at a dealer. The real questions are- how good are you at drivability diagnostics and how good are you at troubleshooting electrical problems? Become a master of those two skills, and you'll go far at a dealer.


Senior Member
i have never really done any diagnostic tests or trouble shooted electrical problems. but the courses at uti say they cover both sections.

after this semester is over at unm im going to talk to some dealerships. who would you recomend talking to? service manager? human resources?
im my unprofessional opinion, service managers don't know dick about cars. more so, they are all rude idiots.

HR is kinda worthless too...

I'd try to find a kid in the shop who knows what hes doing, ask him to buy him lunch to shoot the shit with for a half hour
Actually, B... I disagree. The five service managers I've worked under have known a LOT about cars. They have to. It's their job. HR? They won't be able to answer questions about how it works out in the shop, but the SM would. Take him to lunch. Why take a tech to lunch? He can't hire you, but the SM can.


Well-Known Member
When it comes to making money, the real key is the same in all professions.

Have an idea. Make it reality. Make sure it's a good idea.

Automotive shops in my area (CT) may make money, may not. Those that do primarily "Break / Fix" stuff don't make that much money. The automotive world is FULL of people willing to pay the absolute least for the absolute most. Hang out at a tire store sometime....

"Ok, So I get the fireman's discount, senior citizens discount, free lifetime warrantee against wear, roadside assistance, free mounting and alignment.. What else can you do for me?"

If you competitor even across town offers free oil changes, then your shop is sunk. The key is to specialise or to offer services that hard-core people will appreciate - Then hope hardcore people in your area. Machining, fabrication, convertible top repair, Turbo tuning, Dyno-shop, and Paint is where the action is. That may change soon, with hydrogen units on the market, batteries and level-3 electrical work may come to the surface.

When it comes to specialising in marques, be careful. My friend runs a BMW / Porsche / MB shop out in Colorado Springs. His work is impeccable, and people will gladly wait a month for him to complete their project. He makes killer loot, but he can't hire anyone to work in the shop, or else his killer loot becomes "Some sort of stable pay".

In CT there is "Mostly Mazda", a company which I've tried to sue - so I'm not promoting their work. But they specialise in Rotary work. They are very good at it. They also have taken on Honda / Acura which is why I brought my CRX to them. Their work with my RX7 could not be duplicated with the CRX, and they fucked my car all up. They have 7 people in the shop which used to do great work, but the work is drying up. They are doing quick-lube services now to recooperate.

Take a course in Japanese, Learn chassis physics, and get ready for big california shops to offer you the bling. Drifting is without a doubt, the biggest performance specialty coming to the US and it will be here for at least 10 years.

Or, get into airplane mechanics. You don't hear much about it, but soon, like, within your lifetime, people will be modding little earth-moon starships like they do with Hondas.

-> Steve


Actually i am in the same boat. i have come to the conclusion that yes, i do want to make good $$ in my life, but overall in the end i want to own my own business, preferably a performance parts shop, and basically live a comfortable life.

I have really considered a career in automotives since that is my main interest, but am not sure about it. Celerity is right about where he says to specialize in something, and is also right though about technology changing. This is exactly what i was considering.

I would really like to own my own Machine shop, maybe save and get a CNC, so that stuff, and maybe down the line get into making products if it would be possible. My main thing would preferably doing hot rods and classic cars. I have many friends who are pursuing careers in auto, and would like to do everything in restoring cars, start to finish. These are long term goals but i would really like to start gearing towards that right now.

Then when i told my family, they fucking shut me down so damn quick i was like WTF?

yeah well my point is that yeah i basically am stuck in the same position, i've changed major a couple times and still cant decide what to do, nothing seems right for me.

Oh yeah and when u say UTI, is that the same as AAI or AIA or whatever it is? i know thats in Pheonix and one of my friends goes there.


Senior Member
Originally posted by Celerity@Apr 7 2004, 08:48 AM
soon, like, within your lifetime, people will be modding little earth-moon starships like they do with Hondas.

I dunno about within our lifetimes for that, maybe at the far end of them... :)

My guess for personalized consumer earth-moon technology is sometime early enough in our grandchildrens lives for them to enjoy it.


Senior Member
Originally posted by senate_9427@Apr 8 2004, 11:25 PM
Oh yeah and when u say UTI, is that the same as AAI or AIA or whatever it is? i know thats in Pheonix and one of my friends goes there.

i dont know what aai or aia im gonna assume no.


ok its AAi Arizona Automotive Institute. They offer diploma and degree programs in Automotive and autotronics. I actually checked out the site last night after writing that post, and the guy just called me today, he is gonna send an info pack.
I asked a couple older guys at work, and i asked the AAI guy the same question: What is the normal salary for mechanics, and what is the best thing to concentrate onis i want to make good $$.

Basically i was told that the electronics is the best area to get really familiar with, and to get good at being able to diagnose problems, because it saves a lot of time. They said that BMW and mercededs are some of the good companies to get in with, and that starting out you could look at making 20-25 grand a year, but if you work hard that the master techs at the dealerships can make upwards of 100 grand a year.

damn, that sounds good, so i might actually consider it. But then again i am thinking of getting the Bachelors from a University, then if I am not happy with it i can go to the auto school later since it is only about a year long. That way i still have a degree to back me up if the auto industry ever goes to shit or whatever.