Answers to frequently asked questions about careers in the auto care industry.
Do I need to know a lot about cars for a career in the auto care industry?
Not necessarily. If you are repairing vehicles, you will need training and experience in automotive systems. However, the auto care industry offers careers to a wide variety of people and caters to many different interests. Auto care offers jobs to writers, graphic artists, financial advisers, accountants, visionaries, salespeople, public speakers, marketing and PR experts and customer service specialists.
What does the auto care industry include?
The auto care industry encompasses all products and services purchased for cars and trucks including:
- Replacement parts: bumpers, fenders, radiators, catalytic converters, exhaust systems, etc.
- Accessories: high-performance equipment, appearance products, car covers, fender trim, tires and wheels, custom designs, audio, etc.
- Lubricants: coolants, engine oil, alternative fuels, etc.
- Service repairs: engine repair, air conditioning service, oil change, brake repair, body work, collision repair, etc.
- The tools and equipment necessary to make repairs and,
- Distribution of the parts necessary to repair, maintain and enhance the vehicle.
Where do women fit in the auto care industry?
Traditionally, there have been more men than women in the auto care industry. However, that number is changing daily as more and more women find their niche in an industry that wants and needs their expertise. Learn more about the Car Care Council Women’s Board.
Do I need a college degree?
Not necessarily. However, obtaining the proper education is more important than ever in the auto care industry. A high school diploma is a must. As more technological advancements are made in the automotive world, a variety of career paths offer opportunities for those with a solid foundation in math, science, communications and technical skills. Those with a continuous commitment to learning will enjoy a career that is both challenging and rewarding.
Are there auto care industry-specific schools?
Of course. However, the number of schools varies based on the type of area you want to enter. If you want to get started in the automotive service & repair sector, you have many options available to you. There are automotive technology schools across the country and many community colleges have automotive technology programs. Check out your local area schools to see if they have any programs. NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Foundation), the organization that accredits automotive auto technology programs and schools, is a good resource for technology schools. The service segment is just one part of the equation, however. The industry needs people who specialize in other occupations as well, such as business, marketing/communications, engineering and finance. These degrees are available at most colleges and universities. Auto care companies will also teach you what you need to know about the industry when you are hired.
What types of options are there in the auto care industry? Is there room for advancement?
The auto care industry is one of the most flexible and opportunistic industries in North America. You can have a career in manufacturing, distribution, service and repair, retail, technology, service solutions, market research and more. A career in auto care is more than a job; it’s a gateway to some of the widest choices available. As baby boomer generation begins to retire, opportunities are becoming more available for the next generation. Because of the many options, there is ample opportunity for cross training, advancement and career change within the automotive industry.
Is the auto care industry a “recession-proof” industry?
One of the advantages of working in the industry is that it is capable of thriving in many types of economic environments. People are always going to be on the move, and will always need people to maintain and repair their cars. Even when there is a recession, the auto care industry remains sound or even grows, since people are more likely to spend money maintaining and repairing their vehicles rather than buying new ones. This means that the industry is a stable and growing environment in all types of economic cycles.
What types of skills are auto care employers looking for?
The most desired skills employers seek are critical thinking and problem solving, excellent communication, customer service and people skills (such as relating to others, patience, active listening, flexibility and trusting others) and the ability to work well with others in a team-oriented environment. In a challenging industry like auto care, business savvy and strong math, technical and computer skills are also seen as a plus.
Is the auto care industry environmentally-friendly?
A common misconception about the auto care industry is that it is not environmentally-friendly. This is not the case since the auto care industry goes to great lengths to recycle oil, remanufacture parts, develop alternative fuels and recycle parts such as batteries and tires. The auto care industry is answering the call for a transformation in the way cars are being made. Vehicles that offer lower emissions, better fuel efficiency and greener options are being produced. The growing environmental movement and volatility of global oil supplies are increasing the pressure on automakers to innovate around alternative energy resources such as hydrogen and bio-fuels. Learn more about the auto care industry’s green initiative.
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Why is working in the auto care industry going to offer the perfect career?
Research has shown that students entering the workforce want a job that is challenging, stable and flexible; has good earning potential; uses the latest technology; and has room for growth and advancement. The auto care industry has a lot to offer. Today’s vehicles are getting more technical and electronic. Therefore, working with leading edge technology is a big part of the industry—whether you are in manufacturing, distribution, retail, service and repair or the business aspect. The auto care industry is huge and diverse, offering options in many different areas. Since the auto care industry is largely comprised of members of the “baby boomer” generation, positions are readily available, making way for a secure and steady environment.