By Tara Feeney
There is a misconception that securing a degree from a four-year institution and working in an office is the only way to succeed. It is your “golden ticket” to a job that pays well and offers benefits. However, other educational and career options exist.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, on average, 73,300 new automotive technician jobs will open yearly. Most of these job openings come from the many people in the field retiring.
Trade schools have been frowned upon for the past several decades despite the potential for a successful and long career versus the more typical corporate career path. While the programs offered by trade schools can often be completed in less than a year, they are expensive, just like traditional 4-year colleges. This makes scholarships and grants crucial to help pay tuition bills and limit the need for student loans.
Students can refer to many websites, foundations, grants, etc., for scholarships that may help ease the financial burdens of education no matter where they choose to go. For students focused on niche areas like automotive, diesel, and welding careers that require specialized education, specific organizations catering to those students offer valuable resources.
Foundations like Tech Force, whose mission is “to champion all students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians,” go a long way in helping prospective students pursue a career in the trades and, more specifically, within the automotive field.
Through their partnerships with companies like Ford and O’Reillys, Tech Force partners with technical schools like Universal Technical Institute and connects students with educational opportunities, scholarships, and other financial support. Since the start of the group in 2007, they have been able to award $18 million to future technicians.