A crisis is looming in the automotive service industry. Fewer people are entering the field, which is creating a serious shortage of skilled, trained technicians available to care for the number of passenger vehicles on the road today.
One study found that just to keep pace with people retiring and new jobs being created, the auto-service industry will need to replace about 76,000 technicians each year.
But the number of people entering the field is not enough to keep up with the demand. U.S. technical colleges and training programs graduate only about 37,000 new technicians.
That leaves roughly 39,000 jobs without qualified, skilled technicians to fill them. Unless the industry increases the number of new technicians, the shortage will only get worse, potentially driving up the cost of repairs, adding to wait times and potentially compromising safety of vehicles on the road.
The “grease monkey” stereotype of yesterday quickly is being replaced with an image of a professional technician. Today’s vehicles are loaded with advanced technology and systems, requiring a different skill set.
There are more lines of computer code in modern passenger vehicles than in an F-35 fighter jet. In fact, the most advanced military aircraft has 35 million lines of code, while today’s new vehicles have three times that. Training and continuing education is required to be able to repair and diagnose such complex systems.
High-school career guidance offices often will steer potential vehicle technicians into engineering or computer science over auto service. For those who love to work with their hands, who enjoy teams and a fast pace without feeling trapped in an office, technician training may be a far more rewarding career path.
For tire service professionals, the Tire Industry Association (TIA) offers qualified training for passenger and commercial vehicle work, focusing on tires and tire safety.
Earning TIA certifications also can be a selling point for your customers. Seeing the TIA symbol and Tire Industry Association certification demonstrates that your shop has professional trained technicians who are committed to doing things right.
In addition to TIA and local vocational schools, tire manufacturers, equipment companies and distributors also provide training.
With the number of training options available, some tire dealerships focus instead on finding individuals with the right attitude who want to do the work but lack the experience. “Hire the smile; train the rest.”