Students in a technical school have so many opportunities available to them because so many dealerships and independent shops are looking to hire. Shops and dealerships will flash big incentives like paid tuition, tool allowances, and a guaranteed job after school.

As a tech student, the path you choose can define you throughout your career. For example, once you choose a career in the independent automotive industry, there are many times where the experience you gain is non-transferable to a dealership (and vice versa).

We also see that with military experience. The experience gained in the military is valuable and the baseline for all technicians. However, many dealerships won’t count that experience.

Certifications, training, and experience are going to pave the way for your career as a technician, so let’s look at the preferred skills and training for working in dealerships vs. independent shops.

Dealerships – Preferred Technician Skills & Training

For a dealership, a lot of these non-transferable skills relate back to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). In a dealership, a vast majority of the work done in the service department is done under warranty. For the dealership to get paid for the warranty work, it must be performed by an OEM-Certified Technician. That means an ASE-Certified Master Technician that has not gone through the certification process for the OEM can’t fix something under warranty.

To get an experienced tech to go through all of the training again is difficult to do. The last thing an “expert” wants to do is prove they are an expert… again! Plus, it’s extremely expensive to send a technician away to get trained considering the cost of training, travel and lost revenue from not having them in the bay.

Independent Shop – Preferred Technician Skills & Training

Independents shops have their own requirements, and the requirements they look for are almost completely opposite of a dealership. Many independents desire the ASE certifications. Additionally, some states require specific licenses. OEM training is nice to have in an independent shop, but not necessary because techs most likely will be working on all makes and models.

No Matter the Path, Continuing Education is Imperative

Certifications and continuing education can absolutely make the auto industry challenging, but they are necessary. Truthfully, a technician’s work is more about computers than it is about wrenching today. The sophistication and complexity of modern cars have changed the industry for technicians.

But, while the industry is evolving, it’s certainly not going away. Shops and dealerships will always need technicians – making the automotive industry a great one to get into!