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
The automotive industry is filled with interesting and varied job opportunities (just look at Indeed.com, 47,000 job opportunities titled under “automotive”)! However, aside from the people who have direct input and influence over the visual look of the vehicles we drive, there are many more who work behind the scenes. Safety and efficiency is important to nearly all drivers and there have been many advances in this area over recent years. For example, a greater appreciation of aerodynamics, that is, the interaction of air with moving objects or vehicles has been enormous, and it’s benefits of safety and efficiency by stabilizing vehicles at speed has not gone unnoticed. When we see a strong gust of wind move an otherwise steadfast object we get a glimpse of aerodynamics at play. This same principal is used in creating cars that glide through the air more efficiently (for better MPGs), and for better handling. The title for an engineer in this field is “aerodynamicist.” This can be a very challenging yet very rewarding automotive career for those who love cars and physics. Not many people are familiar with what an aerodynamicist does in the automotive field, even with the above explanation. However, an image of a wind tunnel and streams of air going over a car are immediately recognizable. Also, the designs you see at auto shows always seem sleeker and more aerodynamic than the years before...Well, that and everything along those lines is what this job entails. However, it’s not all fun and games inside the wind tunnel like Myth Busters or other shows would make you believe. Since wind tunnels are serious business, are very expensive and the tests and analyses run in them have hundreds of variable and different designs that need to be accounted for, and work inside a wind tunnel can be never-ending. Designs and cars must continually be improved and enhanced to fit new benchmarks, and government mandates. The primary concern of an aerodynamicist, besides efficiency, is to create a better driving and riding experience in the vehicle. This includes looking at controlling the drag of the tires, the wind noise and the noise of the vehicle as it moves past other things. The lift of the vehicle as it moves at different velocities along different types of road surfaces is another issue. This is why a newer car can drive more smoothly at speeds never attained in the past by production cars, and why a used car typically never seems as quiet as a newer one. Also, improvement in aerodynamics has enabled cars to be faster. The field of racing-development utilizes aerodynamics very much in order to ascertain advantages over other racers as well as to ensure the safety of their drivers while going at these fast speeds (racing and motorsports is where the big money is at in aerodynamics, but the production auto industry is great too). The work of aerodynamicists include creating computer models of vehicle (as well as real-life replicas of car), and creating other objects and exploring methods that require engineering, mechanical and design skill. They use specialized computer software to aid in design as well as replicating test scenarios. This helps to lessen the cost of physical tests because preliminary testing can be done using computer models. The vehicles will be enhanced repeatedly based on these tests so that when it comes time for the physical test the primary factors would have been accounted for. An aerodynamicist job requires years of study at a technical or other school in order to learn the concepts and how to use the” tools of the trade.” An automotive aerodynamicist would also learn a lot from having worked in the industry and developed hands-on knowledge and skill. Trial and error is a big part of this job, so no doubt it is continuously challenging. Aerodynamicists are multi-functional engineers; therefore, when learning they will have to develop and practice manual skills such as constructing models as well as making the needed modifications. They also need software-related skills to prepare data as well as analyze and interpret it. They will have to prepare reports on the tests they do, the results and document progress. Their work is as much research and development as it is implementation and testing of features. Automotive aerodynamicists fall in the middle salary range for the automotive engineering industry. They tend to make more money the longer they are in the field and the more significant and successful their achievements have been. Engineers that work in racing are likely to make above average if they work for large racing teams in the U.S. or other parts of the world. This field is currently more popular for males than females. However, as more females enter the auto industry a rise in the number of female aerodynamicists can be expected. Aerodynamics may not be one of the most well-known jobs in the auto industry but it is certainly essential to it. It can be a rewarding job but it requires particular skills that must be learned in an academic setting then practiced in the practical setting in order to be mastered. It is a field that allows for continued growth and development as technology is always changing and the ever increasing need and government mandates for fuel efficiency is unavoidable. Automotive career aerodynamicist 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.
When it comes to the automotive industry, there are certainly a wide range of jobs available to be had. These jobs appeal to people of many different interests, so you should be able to find something suitable you like (if you’re interested). In this field, with the right training, you can advance to higher positions relatively easily. Here is a look at different career opportunities that await in the automotive industry. Automotive technician: These technicians are responsible for performing various tasks such as changing oil, replacing air filters, and balancing wheels. There are also plenty of other maintenance tasks technicians have to perform such as changing brake pads and doing tune-ups. If you're looking to join the automotive industry, you could also become a car mechanic, which is a level or two up on the ladder from the technician. Many people confuse mechanics with automotive technicians. Mechanics are responsible for performing many of the same tasks as technicians. However, mechanics also perform more difficult tasks than a technician. These tasks include things such as replacing engines, alternators, or fixing suspension and electrical problems. In order to become a mechanic, you will also need more education and experience. Becoming a diesel mechanic is also an great option in automotive industry. These guys are responsible for repairing and servicing diesel engines. Although this includes a few passenger vehicles, you would likely have most of your focus on buses and trucks. This corresponds to a hefty increase in wages. The average yearly salary of a diesel mechanic is $50,000. If you enjoy communicating with people rather, becoming a car salesperson may be the perfect career with you. You would spend the majority if your day trying to sell cars to people who visited the car lot. Your salary would be based on the amount of commissions you earn. You can also work your way up the ladder into a management position as you gain experience. In the current economy this job isn’t as lucrative as before, but top salespeople in relatively wealthy areas still make an attractive living ($75,000+ per year) Similar to a floor salesperson is the internet sales manager. Instead of working with people who visited the car lot, you would work with leads received from the internet. Some of these leads come in direct due to the dealer’s website advertising, others come in from affiliated websites who work with you to sell cars. One example of a site like this is the Internet Autoguide. Whenever you get these internet leads like this, you would have to make an appointment to try to get the person into the dealership to buy a car. This is one of the best paying and most sought-after positions in auto sales. The top-producing and most quick-witted sales staff advance to this position. If you’re more of an artistic person, another option is automobile design. As its name suggests, you would be tasked with coming up for new car designs. This career is definitely in high demand thanks to the fact trends are constantly changing in the car industry. However, you will need plenty of education in order to begin a career as a designer, and your first employment and first projects won’t be designing cars. A career opportunity in the automotive industry that is expanding is a body and paint specialist. As one of these specialists, you would have to repair damage that resulted from a car accident of some kind. You would have to fix the exterior of the car and then restore the paint job as well. Thanks to the fact there are plenty of car accidents around the country, this position is in high-demand. Another option is to get a job on the assembly line. Getting your foot in is not easy, but it’s easier than before. You could join an assembly line that focuses on making cars, or even a line that simply makes certain parts that go in the cars. Nowadays, most assembly line positions require some knowledge about computers and robotic manufacturing. More of a money person? Finance and insurance department of a car dealership are a good opportunity. People looking to buy a new car will need financing and insurance in order to get it. You would have to work with sales staff, management and lenders (and of course the customer) to do your job. After you gain experience in this department, the top role to achieve within the dealership is Finance Manager. You would oversee all financing and monetary inflows and concessions of the dealership on all car sales/leases and purchases. You would have to ensure the dealership makes a fair amount of money whenever people buy a car. As you can see, there are certainly a lot of positions available in this industry. You should be able to find something that suits your interests easily if you have the required education and experience, or in some fields just getting your foot in the door at the right time. Career opportunities automotive industry image from Shutterstock
Most mechanics use their skills working for someone else. But if you have business skills and access to some capital, you'll be in a good position to learn how to start an auto repair shop of your own. You should be aware that it takes a lot of hard work of course, so you'll need to prepare accordingly. One of the first things you will need to do is formulate a business plan. I'm sure you've heard the saying before: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Every business needs a plan. And this plan is more than simply, “We’ll rent a shop and fix cars for money. If we get enough customers, we will make a profit.” No. You'll need to set a goal on where your business is headed. Your plan will also include things such as advertising methods and expenses, as well as particular (specific) start-up costs that you'll have to pay—that diagnostics machine costs $5,000? You don't necessarily have to open your own auto repair shop from scratch. You could look into buying one that already exists. You'd already have a suitable building to use, as well as a few employees who may stick around under the new ownership, as well as returning customers and an established marketing presence. Another way to get a good head start is to purchase an auto repair franchise. You would work with an established company and operate under their name instead of doing business under your own. There are plenty of benefits of starting a franchise, but there are also a few drawbacks. The most important benefit is that you'll have an established brand-name that customers will recognize. Training and equipment will also be provided generally. However, you may be severely limited with the way that you do business when operating a franchise. If you want to start your own business, then you will need to pick out a proper location. Your location will play a large role in whether your business succeeds or fails. Shops located by highways or in the middle or busy cities typically fare much better. You may even be able to find an old building that already has all the necessary equipment in it. When picking out a location, make sure that you take into account how much the lease will cost you on a monthly basis. The location will also need to be zoned for your particular type of business. This is important. Another important expense that you'll have to pay when starting an auto repair shop is insurance. You'll need insurance for your garage in cause there's a fire, natural disaster or an employee injures themselves. As such, you will also need worker's compensation insurance in case an accident happens. You may not have the cash to pay for everything you need to start an auto repair shop, so you will need to get a loan from a bank or a personal loan from a friend or family. You can expect to pay anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 to get your business started. You'll need to pay for the building as well as any equipment. You can save some money by leasing the equipment instead of buying it. The amount of money that you'll have to pay will mainly depend on the size of your operation. Starting a shop that can repair up to four cars at a time will obviously be more expensive than one that can only service two. When you start an auto repair shop, you also need to decide what services to offer. You could specialize in a certain area such as heating and air conditioning systems or brakes. However, doing so would significantly limit the amount of money that your shop could make. Most shops are general, but remember that customers love niche businesses, and if you specialize in say, engine repair and tuning for high performance autos, you’ll have a much more established credibility to start off with. However, sometimes it’s best to offer as many services as you can. Even if you or your mechanics don't have the experience to perform a particular service, you could outsource it instead. It's important you look into advertising when starting an auto repair shop. You will need to get customers in the door. Make sure you get a listing in all local online directories, Google places, the yellow pages and consumer review sites such as Yelp and CitySearch. If you can afford it, you may also want to look into radio and television advertising. Just make sure you take the time to do it carefully. Always start out by creating a business plan that outlines your goals, and remember it may take months to a year to finally be profitable. The last piece of advice (if applicable), is to start repairing autos in your home garage, or otherwise rent some small space and start doing simple repairs, and build up your customer base and repetition. For example, offer the first oil change free, do it quickly and very well, and make sure subsequent oil changes are cheap too. Do it for all your friends, family, and neighbors, and soon the word will spread about how fast and economical you are. One you build up a base through simple oil changes, other requests for service will come, and once you open your shop, you will already have guaranteed traffic. Image from Dja65/Shutterstock