The automotive field is an area for those who have a love for and understanding of cars, trucks or vehicles in general. It allows those who are knowledgeable about vehicles to put their talents to work. How do I personally fit into the automotive field? I am a second-year automotive repair technology student at Southwestern Community College (SWCC) in Creston, Iowa.
For the past two years in SWCC’s automotive program, I have been learning how to fix and diagnose vehicles. When I first started college, the extent of my knowledge on cars was knowing how to change my oil, check the fluids and change a tire. I quickly learned I had been doing some of these tasks wrong. For example, I learned when changing a tire and tightening the lug nuts, it is necessary to go in a star pattern. Or when changing the oil, it’s important to rub oil on the ring of the oil filter or it will glue itself to the engine and will be a pain to get back off.
When I go on field trips, like our most recent trip to Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, and learn the history behind automobiles, it makes me want to tear the car apart so I can see how everything fits together. I also get to see the various job opportunities there are in the field. I have discovered I don’t have to work in a shop, I could work in many different places. I could be a parts clerk. I could specialize in alignments and tire rotation. These are just a few examples.
I would recommend an automotive program to those who want a career in the automotive field or desire to have a general idea about how cars function. Historically, the automotive field has been a male-dominated environment, but today there are more opportunities than ever for females. In the auto industry, the employee needs to have thick skin because we deal with tough issues on a daily basis. Students in automotive programs have strengths in various areas. Some students in the program may be book smart and struggle in the shop. Other students may be better in the shop than they are at classroom work. The good news is, in this industry, there’s room for both types of students.
I highly recommend digging into careers in the auto industry. There are new experiences waiting every day.