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Posted: 10/7/2004 11:38:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 11:57:06 AM EDT by Lightning_P38]
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:39:21 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:54:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 11:54:29 AM EDT by Lightning_P38]
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:54:15 AM EDT
It's an ok career if you get training and ASE certified. If you aren't willing to get SOME schooling, you won't make any money. The only way to make any money in the trade without said requirements, would be to open your own garage. Keep in mind that the overhead for opening a decent garage is OUTRAGEOUS. I was a professional mechanic and I just couldn't make any money at it without going back to school, so I got back into electronics. I make a hell of a lot more as an electronics tech/video engineer, that I ever could have as a professional mechanic, even with the cert's. Mechanics are a dime a dozen, but electronics techs are still in demand, at least where I live.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:57:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:02:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:07:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:18:24 PM EDT
I'm bailing on the electronics and aviation fields and going medical.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:19:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 12:22:07 PM EDT by fight4yourrights]

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:

Thank you, know that I can properly spell it maybe I can get one. Other than the obvious spelling issues that can make me look like a maroon, do you have any thing more usefull to add?

Not really. I think it's a good choice for you. Telecom is still in the crapper.

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:

Fixed so as not to appear to be any more of an idiot than I am, and to avoid being tautned anymore.

FYI - it's "taunted"

- the Spelling Nazi.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:23:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 12:24:15 PM EDT by Lightning_P38]
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 12:25:46 PM EDT
I am actually contemplating the same thing.. I am working at a local ISP for the last five years, dealing with users.. I have had about enough of it, and really do care if I do end up with a pay cut. I am at the point now where a ringing phone or the word computer makes me naucious. I worked on Diesels and heavy equipment (repairs and service) for about a year before this job. Before that I worked at a monro for about 2 years. So I do have a little experiance I can put.. i am going to get a job somewhere, I am not really interested in opening a shop at this point in time. I am building a garage in my yard right now, and I won't confirm or deny that I take side jobs every so often.

I am currently looking for a place to get my state inspection lisence before I attempt to get a job turning wrenches again.. I will probably get an ASE or two, since it is fairly cheap, and they do them at the school about 15 min from here.

As far as tools, I still have my Snap-On and MAC stuff, so that wont be much of a problem. (except I will need to get more stuff for my garage)
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 1:02:54 PM EDT
There is a shortage of competent auto mechanics most places you go in this country. It is not an easy job to succeed at, but the rewards can be good. It can be tough initially as you work to acquire some experience and a good collection of tools.

I manage an auto repair center that sees about 50 cars a day. I have a crew of eight techs. My highest paid tech makes about 70 grand a year. Most make between 40 and 60. They make as much as they do because they get paid flat rate time, not clock time. First and foremost you must have a good work ethic and be self-motivated if you want to succeed in this field. You must never forget that your customer pays good money for you to service/repair their vehicle, so always do your best work and people will come back to see you.

No mechanic is perfect and you will have comebacks. When you get a comeback, pull the car in immediately and fix it. A customer will understand if the job did not come out exactly perfect the first time you worked on their car; they won't understand (or tolerate) you pushing their car to the back burner just because you are now working on someone else's car.

The hours can be long (48 to 60 hours a week, on average) and there will be days you don't make much money. But if you hang in there and do the right things, the money will be good and your career long. As far as career progression; I went from mechanic to service manager to store manager, and I now make about 100k a year. I'm 46 years old and can, when the need occasionaly arises, still turn wrenches with the best of them.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 1:20:28 PM EDT
FWIW, I have made my living as a TV repairman, broadcast engineer, two-way tech, data aquisition and control, auto mechanics and now HVAC&R. (Gunsmithing is far from supporting me!!!)

Your electronics background, if a good one, is a great asset. Army training is excellent if that is where you learned. A good background in basic theory, logical troubleshooting, component level repair would be VERY helpful.

The weakest area for auto mechanics, refrigeration and heating/AC guys is ALWAYS electrical. Electronics is the coming thing (already here, really) in these fields so YOU already have a leg up. Unfortunately, the pay is rarely comensurate with the skill / training / investment required to be really good at it. Generally, dealership mechanics make the most but not always. Around here they draw 30% of flat rate (and DESERVE 50%+ like they USED to get!!!!). $2500 in tools is good for the first week. Expect to invest at least another 10k!!

If you are good at three phase and power systems (easy for an electronic guy to learn) consider industrial controls. Most industrial maintenance guys are weak in electronics and modern machinery is full of them. I make a few bucks now and then as a consultant because I am good at mechanics, power and electronics, even though I have no degree. Give me the prints and I can fix ANYTHING. When the locals are stumped I unstump them - for $100/hr + expenses.

So you are 31? So? In 5 yrs when you are deeper in debt you will be 36 and STILL have to retrain. Few folks stay with one career for their entire life. If you want to change, collect the facts and do what seems right. If you wait, all you will be is older. I was 31 when I left a good paying job to become self employed. Have never declared bankruptcy or cheated anyone, all my bills are current and have paid off my debts. You can do so too, probably better than I have, IF you are motivated and want to do it! Being a contractor you already understand self discipline and hard work.

Just my .02 worth.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 1:22:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 1:24:54 PM EDT by Garand_Shooter]
Don't just consider automotive... look at heavy trucks and construction equipment. As diesel technology improves and more and more light truck owners go diesel that skill gets more and more attractive.

I have done that in the USAR for 12 years now, and because of the military and factory training I have had offers from numerous shops and equipment dealers.

Another field that is seeing huge growth if power generation mechanic, where you repair and service the standby generators in stores, hospitals, telecom sites, etc. Your telecom experience would be a plus going after something in that field.... but training would be needed. I know a guy who does that, he services all the equipment for a company within about 75-100 miles from his house, has a company truck, works alone, makes his own schedule. He makes about 80k a year..... the only downside is he is on call 24/7 for high priority facilities such as hospitals.

Look hard at the power generation side of things... your electrical background makes you very attractive in that field.... add some diesel repair classes at night.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 2:00:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 2:13:21 PM EDT
Power generation is growing so there shouldn't be the same problem you see now. As more and more facilities are dependant upon computers and sensitive electronics more and more install these systems.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 2:14:59 PM EDT
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