Auto Mechanic Training For Women
The theory of evolution proves itself true every day in the garage: Not only has your father's clunky Oldsmobile morphed into a sleek computer on wheels, but the faces of today's auto mechanics and service technicians are changing, too. Though the field has long been dominated by men, a growing number of women are seeking auto mechanic training and putting the brakes on the industry's male tradition.
Tracking trends: Auto mechanic training for women
The number of women seeking mechanic training is on the rise, likely due to massive changes in the automotive industry. Computers and technology are rapidly replacing carburetors and wrenches; many mechanics now spend more time tapping a touch screen than they are turning a ratchet. Emerging technology is essential in today's garages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and automotive mechanics and service technicians are constantly challenged to adapt to evolving equipment and repair techniques (BLS.gov, 2013).
As technology changes and the tools of the trade evolve, many mechanics might be noticing that their jobs are changing, too. According to information from one technical institution, mechanic school for women has become more appealing in recent years because technology has taken away some of the heavy lifting and dirty work associated with fixing cars (lcti.org, 2013). Modern car repair takes more brains than brawn it seems, as the BLS asserts that mechanics of both genders often find themselves increasingly working with electronic components and computers, solving complex problems and interpreting highly technical information (BLS.gov, 2013).
Putting the brakes on tradition
Despite the industry changes, women still represent a vast minority of automotive service technicians and mechanics. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, automotive technician and repair careers are still considered nontraditional for women, as female mechanics represented only 1.8 percent of the field's employment in 2009 (DOL.gov, 2010).
Some industry groups are fighting to break through the glass ceiling by encouraging more women to enter the field and seek auto mechanic training by offering scholarships and more. The Women's Board of the Car Care Council broke ground by giving away more than $10,000 in scholarship money in 2012 to women seeking ASE certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and is currently taking applications for 2013 scholarships (carecare.org, 2013).
Auto repair shops, likely hoping to cater to an increasing number of female clientele, are also actively recruiting certified female applicants. Statistics from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute show that females with drivers' licenses outnumbered men in 2010, with 105.7 million American women on the road compared to 104.3 million men (nbcnews, 2013). More women on the road means more women are taking over maintenance responsibilities for their vehicles. With more women seeking services, auto service centers are likely feeling a crunch to diversify in order to cater to their broadening customer base.
Getting started: Women who want to be auto mechanics
There are a number of different ways for women and girls to become auto mechanics and service technicians. A typical career pathway might start in high school or by passing an equivalency exam, then continue with vocational or postsecondary training from an auto mechanic program accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). From there, she might seek an entry-level job in the field or work toward obtaining licensure and professional certifications from groups such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Earning certification is one way auto mechanics and service technicians can prove their skills to both potential employers and clients.
Mechanic schools can provide women with a vehicle to learn high-tech skills that will help them break through gender barriers and cruise into a potentially rewarding career. Those women desiring to be part of the new automotive industry revolution are encouraged to explore the following resources.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics / Occupational Outlook Handbook, Automotive Service Technician or Mechanic, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm#tab-1
ASE Certification Tests, Automobile & Light Truck Certification,http://www.ase.com/Tests/ASE-Certification-Tests/Test-Series.aspx
National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, http://www.natef.org/
United States Department of Labor, Nontraditional Occupations for Women, http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/nontra2009.htmhttp://www.carcare.org/womens-board/
Women's Board of the Car Care Council, http://www.carcare.org/womens-board/
Monster.com Career Advice: Auto Repair Needs More Women, http://career-advice.monster.com/job-search/company-industry-research/auto-repair-needs-more-women/article.aspx
Female drivers in the U.S., 1963-2010: From a minority to a majority?, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15389588.2012.755736?journalCode=gcpi20
Women AUTO Know, http://www.womenautoknow.com/
Founder of Women AUTO Know wants to educate, empower women drivers, passengers, and consumers, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-17/news/os-cfb-greg-dawson-women-auto-mechanics-0917-20120917_1_auto-mechanics-grease-monkey