Technology, demand drives automotive careers

Today’s automotive field offers ample job opportunities and high earning potential. Jackson College’s automotive program prides itself on preparing students for these opportunities in an industry that is constantly changing.

“Technology is already available for cars to drive themselves,” says Chris Kaser, assistant professor of automotive technology at Jackson College, who began his work with automobiles in 1975. “The technology is incredible,” he said, citing computer-controlled braking systems, interaction with smartphones, and the removal of mechanical linkages, such as steering wheels.

Jackson College has an eye on the future. The College provides cars, parts, and tools for students to enhance their practical skills. Classes are divided between lectures and hands-on, task-based practice. The College offers associate degree and certificate programs, as well as skill sets and concentrations in automotive technology. Jackson College also offers a specialized program with Ford Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR).

Future Growth

Kaser said he receives calls from auto shops looking for students to work – more calls than he has students available. Demand for automotive technicians and mechanics is expected to grow 5 percent in the coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students may also find work as parts representatives, service writers shop owners, or with aftermarket suppliers such as Eaton Corp.

“People think it’s a grubby job where you can’t make money,” he says. “That’s not the case.” Automotive repair technicians can earn about $35,600 annually, while wages for those at dealerships are often higher. Some earned as high as $63,330, while others in related automotive jobs earned up to $100,000 per year. “It’s a fun job,” he said. “And there is money to be made.”