While automotive technicians need to have a high school degree or equivalent, you don’t need to wait until you’re out of high school to start gaining experience in the field. In fact, there are lots of ways to start working toward a rewarding, challenging, exciting career as an auto tech before you have your degree in hand. Plus, getting experience in high school not only allows you to test drive a career as an auto tech, but it also allows you to earn credits sooner—and start earning money faster!
There are a few ways to jump start your automotive technician career path in high school, allowing you to choose the option that best fits your lifestyle and interests.
Way #1: Look into your local dealership training options.
One of the best ways to get experience in high school is by talking to your local dealership about internships, hands-on training, or shadowing experience. Dealerships want to help foster your interest and can give you guidance on what your next steps should be. Most brands have specific training courses their automotive technicians can complete, and a lot of them can be done in high school.
Way #2: Attend vocational high school.
Vocational high schools are designed specifically to prepare students for a career in a specific skill or trade, in addition to completing high school requirements. Graduates leave school with a career AND a high school diploma. If you're interested, ask a parent or counselor for help looking into automotive technology programs offered in your area.
Way #3: Sign up for relevant electives.
If you aren’t sure about contacting your favorite brand’s dealership quite yet, there are ways to test out the automotive technician career without leaving your school. Opting into a shop or computer class as your elective can give you a good understanding of the type of skills you need to be an automotive technician:
- Shop classes will give you a good idea of whether you enjoy hands-on work.
- While computer classes may seem less related to the automotive technician career than shop class, it isn’t. Cars have become giant computers and are increasingly relying on software to run. Automotive technicians are now using diagnostic software to work on cars, which means having experience with computers is vital to the job.
If you're interested in taking the next steps in your career, visit our Program page to learn more about the different programs offered by your favorite brands—and be sure to check out our resources specifically for students.