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If you like cars, perhaps you should think about how you can convert your passion into a career. It is certainly possible - it just depends on your skills and abilities. If there is something you cannot currently do, could you take a course or the correct steps to help you to achieve your goal? It’s worth thinking about if you believe that a career in the motoring industry could be the right move for you. Here are a few ideas about what you could end up doing:

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This is a true story as told to DiversityJobs Street Smarts, where you can find career interviews for the job you’ve been looking for. Visit to find an interview in your desired field today. I am a mechanic at Walls Garage in Greenwood, Mississippi. I have been working there since 1982. I fix a variety of cars, motorcycles, and small motor vehicles. We handle all kinds of problems from basic preventative maintenance to massive automotive repair. The most common misunderstanding about what we do is that all mechanics have encyclopedic knowledge of every car ever made. In reality, we own manuals for different makes and models of cars that help us navigate tricky repairs. For something relatively routine, like an oil change, we do not need to use the manuals very often. For something more complicated, like re-installing airbags, we routinely get out the manuals to make sure we are doing the work according to manufacturer specifications. I would rate my job as an eight. As a kid I loved working on cars, and today I get to do it full-time. I wish I had more control over my work hours - especially not having to work on Saturdays - but I enjoy my job a lot. I immediately started working as a mechanic after graduation. Some people go to a vocational or technology school to learn about automotive repair once they graduate from high school, but I went straight into fixing cars because I already knew a lot about them. I knew the owner of the garage, so it wasn't a problem to get a job there after graduation. I gradually got more hours as I worked longer and proved my skills. If I could go back, I might have gotten a certification in diesel repair - working on big trucks earns more money than regular cars. One time I installed a transmission backwards on a foreign car and it completely destroyed the drive train. It was an expensive repair and required an extra two weeks to fix. I was pretty embarrassed that day. I once had someone offer to pay for repairs in cookies and pies! She was a very sweet older woman who lived on a fixed income. She needed a relatively minor repair, so we donated the labor for free. It really helped her out in a tight spot. I enjoy working with my hands and helping people keep their cars in excellent condition. I feel good when I solve difficult problems with cars, like finding something wrong that other mechanics had overlooked. Customers can be extremely demanding sometimes. We occasionally have people bring in cars for service then insist we broke something in the car during repairs. They are usually just trying to scare us into providing free service. My job is not very stressful. We take our time and try to do a good job on every repair. I maintain a healthy work-life balance. I make about $63,000 per year. I think I am paid enough, and I feel so thankful to have that salary without a college degree. Be prepared to work few hours at a garage when you first start. My first few years of work were a steep learning curve, and only after I proved myself did I start getting better hours. I would like to buy the garage and run it myself. I haven't done it yet because the machinery and parts are so expensive, but I would love to own my own business. Mechanic working image from Stockvault

Most people would love to pursue their passions at the same time/place they pursue their careers, however, many find a “job” in their field simply means something that pays their bills and occasionally leaves enough to fund the passion and/or hobbies that they have. We personally don’t believe this a healthy or good lifestyle, but we also know one’s passion(s) have a large influence on whether it’s something they can be simultaneously pursued as a career or not. The good news is if you’re a car person and your true passion is cars (which many of us at Automotive.com are, hence the writing of this article), there’s a pretty good chance you will be able to match your passion with you job. The automobile and truck industry is huge, and marketing, sales, engineering, racing and the specialized fields within are also huge and are nowhere near shrinking like the media and the pictures from Detroit would make you believe. Some grew up working on cars as a hobby, but may have fallen in love with autos later in life, in one form or another. Cars as a career may not have been seen as a traditional route for you in the eyes of your parents, and this is especially true of women, and many are told that they need to grow up and that a childhood passion cannot support them, let alone a family. In this day and age though, that can hardly be said to be true. With millionaires and billionaires made from social networking sites seemingly everyday, there is certainly hope for you if you wish to pursue your passion of cars—cars are something that most of us use everyday, just like, say, Facebook. As such, it’s obviously a very important field. One of the most obvious of course to consider for car lovers is car/auto racing. While this daring, edgy sport was done simply for fun in the past, it is quite lucrative nowadays and there’s billions of dollars involved and whole company reputations at stake. We can’t even begin to list the number of career opportunities that exist in auto racing, but trust us there’s a lot. The key to getting in though is to be involved, and be knowledgeable. The racing community is tight-knit, and it’s hard to b.s. your way into a job. For instance, if you were interviewing for an assistant marketing coordinator position at Red Bull Racing, do you think they’ll take you seriously if you don’t even know that Red Bull won last year’s Formula One season? Or say if you want to apply as a Jr. Mechanical Engineer at Toyota but somehow let it slip during your interview that you think Toyotas are boring, do you think you will be hired? Heck no! Of course these are pretty extreme examples, but it goes to show that in the automotive industry hiring managers are usually looking for someone like them—someone that actually enjoys the products they build and/or sell. Another high-paying field is automotive design and model development. If you love cars, mechanics and want to develop your design and computer skills to the max than this career path may be right for you. Car companies always employ a design team to work on creating the design of future cars and even to create physical models so a car’s shape can be seen in real life (BMW for instance creates a full-sized CNC-machined aluminum version of each car before they build it). These designs and even print-outs or digital version are highly prized and top-secret until release as they can directly impact the reputation and image of the company. Auto designers are in fact among the top earners of all designers, and also one of the most prestigious. However, the top earners on average have almost twenty years in the business. This shows it is not impossible but it takes time, hard work and patience just like in any field. Marketing, public relations, business development, human resources, and finance are also key in the auto industry, just like elsewhere. If you wish to bond your love for cars with a career in one of these fields, you’re in luck but remember that your earning potential is directly linked to the size of the company and the demand for your skill. For instance, a company that has global operations certainly needs a strong and diverse human resources team. All companies need accountants and finance people, and what better than if they like cars themselves? This has historically been rare in the auto industry, but is getting better. A developing business will also see the need for business development and will need to hire many operations and management personnel. There are many opportunities for management roles in the automotive industry, more than most would think. While some are in a factory/plant setting, most are in an office environment, which is also good. In summary, the automotive industry and all its specialized sub-industries provide the opportunity for a great mix of one’s passions with their desire for a great income. The decision to become qualified for a job should be accompanied by the knowledge of wherein lies the potential. Opportunities range from highly specialized fields such as design and mechanics, to on-the-job acquired skills such as racing and sales. One may also pursue a skill indirectly applicable such as electronics or civil engineering/design. Whatever you choose, know that dedication and hard work is what will help you earn your high-level salary. But also know you’re already ahead of the curve and ahead of other job seekers simply because you already have a genuine, legitimate and monetizable passion... a passion for cars. Car passion career image from Shutterstock

Over the years, ever greater diversification has occurred in relation to gender roles. There are more women in automotive careers than ever, and they're rapidly joining other male-dominated industries such as construction, security too. In the past, women in these industries were typically found in limited roles, and certainly not at the senior or executive level. However, in this day and age it is fair to say that women have been performing on-par with men in the various aspects of these industries. In the automotive industry, women can be seen doing everything from working on cars in garages to driving as professional motor racers or being an engineers. Some went to school to pursue their dreams of working in the automotive industry while others simply learned from those around them. For many, it is following a passion but for others it is just a job option in a tight economy. In fact, in the United States the Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation is one of several organizations that assist women who wish to pursue jobs in this industry as well as support them while they are in it. The visibility of women in these industries does not mean all is well, however. Many have been given the opportunity to take up such roles but still face opposition of varying forms. Some are discouraged by being told from an early age they should focus on other careers, while others feel discriminated against if the hiring team at a company are all men. Given the fact private companies have some freedom to dictate compensation, women in general may receive less pay than their male counterparts. Also, working in male dominated fields has resulted in some negative experiences for some women such as sexual harassment and emotional and physical bullying. These obstacles exist simply due to the fact we’re dealing with male-dominated industries, but opportunities for women really have come a long way in the last several decades, and we’re not trying to scare anyone. As such, most women actually have good experiences in working as a professional in the automotive industry. In fact, many rise above the obstacles (and male counterparts) and truly excel at what they do. For instance, race car driver Danica Patrick is by no means the first female driver and isn’t the best example. However, she has excelled and received the respect of her peers over the years. She has received her fair share of criticism from the media, viewers of the sport and perhaps other racers. However, this has not deterred her from continuing to rise in that field. Many women have also excelled in the field of automotive sales. Some have become CEOs and high level executives. Examples of companies known to have female senior executives are Ford and General Motors. Take Mary Barra for example, a top-level executive at General Motors who is seen as one of the most important figures in the auto industry. After the economic downturn that devastated the auto industry in the United States, she was given the role of steering the company to recovery. Not a role to be taken lightly! Now having authority over entire global brands such as Chevrolet and Cadillac, Mary Barra began her career in the auto industry by working at a General Motor’s plant as a technician, inspecting vehicles as they went down the assembly line. Her hard work, determination, skill and patience have no doubt played an important role in propelling her to the top. Women like Mary Barra generally make known the struggles they had to face and help pave the way for other women to excel in similar situations. The value of women in the automotive industry continues to be recognized, and not just through promotions. Some companies including car manufacturers such as General Motors have even offered scholarships to encourage women to study for various fields in the automotive industry. Others include this as part of a general effort to increase the diversity of their work force, because even men know there aren’t enough women in their industry. There is great room for growth, and it is becoming clearer women can excel in these industries and even outperform men. Some women of may have to begin at a lower level and work their way up, however the potential and opportunity are there. New female workers need now take advantage and follow in the footsteps of those before them, and pave the way for others in the future. Woman mechanic image from Shutterstock

There are plenty of creative people in the world. If you're one of them, then there are some great career options for you in the automotive industry. If you want to join the automotive field via creative avenues and obtain a well-paying job, then getting into automotive design may be one of your best options. To be the one that comes up with a new design for future cars and trucks sounds sure exciting to us, even if it’s just to design the exterior curves and lines, or to lay out the ergonomics of the interior. For inspiration and example, see Michelle Christensen, a 28-year old exterior designer recently out of college. She herself designed and saw to completion the majority of the design of the new Acura ZDX. When it comes to automotive design, the pinnacle of the profession is to be responsible for developing new vehicles. This ranges from creating a completely new vehicle from scratch (like Michelle), or changing the appearance of a current model for a new release. In the field, you could concentrate your efforts on the exterior or interior of the vehicle, or details such as the color and trim. In order to excel in the automotive design field, you will need to be truly creative.

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