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Discussion Starter #1
can you guys/gals give me some opions on what would be best career to area to go into.... Right now im trying to choose between dealership work and hotrod fabricating..... im somewhat intrested in a well paying job but i also like to customize things... so can you help me by showing me the pros and cons of each of these...
 

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With a good education you could do both,a dealer would be a good place to start. Do custom work on the side and make a decision later. Mo. is not quite a hotbed of rodding yet,maybe you could change that. Good luck whatever you choose.:thumbup:
 

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or Jeff, or Doc, or...
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Do the smart thing. Go to college. Find out what YOU WANT to do, see if it pays relative to your standards of living and go from there. Don't go straight to work after highschool. Get the education, so YOU can CHOOSE what you want to do. Take control of your life now, pay the "toll", then YOU get to drive from that point on. Don't try taking the shortcut. Ask me.
 

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Been has a good point... except for one thing. Some of us dont learn very well in school. I didnt go to college, but a few years ago I took 2 semesters of HVAC , basically to learn refrigeration repair.
I always regreted in the back of my mind not going to college, but when I took that HVAC course... I remembered part of the reason why I didnt go to college...Im a person who seems to have to learn from experiance, not from someone telling me what to read.
I like Jerrys idea better, for the most part theres not alot of money in hotrod related jobs.
Atleast you have some idea of what you want to do. When I was 17, I assumed Id work in a factory all my life, I really had no direction or idea what I wanted. Now Im 38...self employed, & pretty darn happy. BTW what part of MO. you in ?
 

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1950 Ford Custom
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College

Try college or junior college first. You don't have to get into Harvard. Get into mechanical engineering. You can then do what ever you want. I was a horrible student but I make a great engineer because of problem solving and design ability. If you are already hot rodding you seem to be a good candidate. There's always time to bang on rusty rods but if you want to understand how they really work this would be a good path.

Talk to your High School Teachers on what junior college is a good choice. First get that 2 year degree and transfer to a 4 year shcool.

If it doesn't work out go to one of the fabricator/tech schools and learn how to form and machine metal.

It's good that you are looking into a plan.

http://www.my-career-education.com/missouri.htm
www.mssc.edu
Maple Woods Community College www.kcmetro.cc.mo.us/maplewoods/index

Another good field is CNC. I am a Manufacturing Engineer who does a lot of hands on bending and machining of special components. One of our guys came through a CNC class and machined a 500 cid engine block from casting to run in his nova in his second year of CNC school.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i already go to a "vocational school" for auto technology half the day and then regular highschool the other half.... I was thinking either wyotech or Longveiw community college for my colleges. Im not sure if i want to do dealership work (longveiw) or if i want to do more customizing..... because i fear that the way technology is going it might make hotrodding a rare and hard business.
 

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I'm in IT and make a pretty decent salary. I'm not sure I'd recommend IT anymore for someone just starting out, but I've looked into some of the salaries factory-trained techs make and if you are a good mechanic, and get the factory training, you can make a potentially good living. A lot of trade schools can give you the training to get you certified, but as with any technical career, you have to go into it with the realization that you'll be constantly updating your skills/training/certification if you want to maintain the high salary brackets.

Look around at the salaries being asked for well-trained techs at BMW/Mercedes/Jaguar dealerships. It rivals what I'm making in IT with a decade of experience in my geographic area. There's some good money there if you've got the training and aptitude, but you'll need to make a commitment. Also, like any field, you aren't going to make the bigger bucks until you have some experience and good solid recommendations. From what I've read, there's currently a shortage of qualified techs for the high-end marques, and even for some of the lower ones. If that lasts, the salaries will be quite good.
 

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Dreadlord said:
can you guys/gals give me some opions on what would be best career to area to go into.... Right now im trying to choose between dealership work and hotrod fabricating..... im somewhat intrested in a well paying job but i also like to customize things... so can you help me by showing me the pros and cons of each of these...
Dreadlord,

Think about where you want to be in your career and what you want to be doing when you are in your 30's and 40's. Over time the knees and backs start to go for the technicians. I see a lot of guys my age leaving the business to look for something else. Just something for you to keep in mind as you go forward.

If you want to be a technician check into the GM ASEP program at a community college. The steady paying job with a dealership might then well help you launch into your own custom business.

I've known a number of guys thay work a regular job for awhile to help get their own business going. Either way you go get the education now. I did and it has paid dividends for me with a career better than I dreamed when I was 17.

And enjoy the journey.
 

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If you're one of those that learn more by doing instead of books, consider the military. Yeah, I guess I'm a little biased with 22 years active duty (and still going!), but it has its advantages. You have to do all the dirty stuff like go to war occasionally, but even if you do four years then get out that's four years of training and experience, not just school. You have a technical school to go through first, which is like a fast paced technical college course, then you'll have a set of self-study books to deal with. The plus side is you're getting paid more than the typical beginner with zero experience (you have to consider rent, food, and insurance as part of your pay to understand this!) and you have someone there to assist you in training that has a vested interest in YOU, unlike most teachers. Well, that's after you get out of tech school anyway. Then the NCO you're assigned to gets HIS butt chewed if you screw up or dont progress as you should! You can go into vehicle maintenance in any branch of service, even National Guard. You'll get more out of four years of active duty though. If you like it you can stay, if not get out and there's four years of work experience under your belt while getting the schooling you need! Save a little money and go to a factory training school or something after you get out, though many places would hire you right away. The military even helps you save for that, matching whatever you save up to a certain amount. You can get the money back if you don't go to school over a period of time, but you get no interest. The only way to get the matching funds is to use it for education -- that's the only catch. You can also get your ASE certification while in the military. Just a thought, I know it isn't for everyone, but gets you out on your own without being totally left on your own. Dorm room and meal card mean you don't have to worry about rent or going hungry, and while mom and dad aren't there, there IS a Sergeant if you get to far out of line... but generally they leave you alone as long as you do your job and don't get into to much trouble off duty. Lots of employers take four years of active duty as a sign that you have a good moral character and can at least follow directions.
 
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If you are looking for the moeny side, consider this.
1) dealership techs are in demand in this area, and many others. Part of the reason is that the pay is not really regular. The work is usually seasonal. There are normal periods when the work slows down. Since most shops(atleast in this area) pay by book hours. That means, when business is slow, your paycheck shows it.
2) A large portion of your pay will be going into tools. The average tech with 5 or more years experience will have abour $35000 invested in their tool box. That is a continueing expense.
3) Although the cost of repairs seems to increase regularly, the pay that the techs get doesn't increase any near as much.

My son went to a seminar at the local community college a couple of years ago. They talked about all of the money that the techs in this area can make. He came home and told me that they said that he can make $60000 to $80000 a year. I thought I would fall out of my chair laughing. In reality, less than 10% of the techs in this area will make any where near the lower figure. Most will be struggling to make 1/2 that.

If you think that it will be an easy career to get into, think again. Years ago, you could start out in a independant garage and get experience that way. Now, with all of the computers, it will take schooling of some sort. That is to get started, and from then on.

Just some things to think about.
 

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I'd vote on starting at the dealership. You can learn a lot about different vehicles, which can be applied later. Most good dealers have programs for you to take, to keep up on the technology.
While you are working, making steady pay, you can build contacts, and your tool crib.
Maybe even start some simple projects, on the side. Most companies offer discounts to employees, well, they used to, anyhow.

Owning your own business is almost everybody's dream. The reality is, that it is more than doing the work, tool, shop expenses, parts overhead, taxes, etc. Then some lazy bum sues you, for something he screwed up, and you are in trouble for nothing. O.K., maybe that's a little dramatic, but not unrealistic for today.

Bottom line is this: Planning for your future requires a solid finacial foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
im not so much thinking of owning my own business ( i would love to but.... ) im more thinking of working for a already established shop... has anyone on this board been to wyotech? is it a good school whats the pros and cons of it? because i already had a guy from GM ASEP and FORDS ASAP programs come and talk at our trade school... so i know about them but what about wyotech?
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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I work with a young man who just finished a year and a half at Wyotech, I'll ask him tomorrow if he can fill me in. There is a Wyotech campus right here in my town in the San Francisco area now. But he went to the one in Laramie Wyoming.

I have to say, you sound exactly as I did at 17, exactly. I got into autobody and paint working a few restoration shops and collision shops as well for a few years. At 23 I opened my own shop and kept that for 13 years before I got burnt out on it. I took a job as a paint rep for S-W (very interesting job) for five years and now I have been back doing body repair for the past five years.

If there is anything I could ever recommend, this is coming from a 45 year old (crap, I forgot, I turned 46 yesterday) guy who sounded EXACTLY like you at 17, GO TO COLLEGE.

You really need to take business courses so you have an understanding of what happens in the office. You will learn all the fab and repair stuff, that will happen. But if you don't get a good understanding of the business part of it, all you will ever be good for is the shop work.

Now, that isn't a bad thing, I love it. But as others have mentioned,you are not young forever and your body does break down over time. I certainly can't keep up with the young guys in the shop.

On that note, PROTECT YOURSELF always, I mean ALWAYS wear your protection. Eye, ear, lungs, hands, etc. Do it now, do it every time, don't ever slip up. You WILL Pay for it in later years. I have done pretty good, I slipped too much up until my early twenties. But since then I have been pretty diligent about and thank God. I have worked with guys who didn't protect themselves and they really,REALLY paid. I work with a guy who is so screwed, my God, he is dead man walking. And on top of it he has no idea about the business so he is destined to live out his life in the shop killing himself.

There is pretty good money to be made around here with $50,000 to $65,000 for the AVERAGE autobody or mechanical tech.

Don't worry so much about "career" choices at this point. Just learn something and do what you love, the "choice" will fall in your lap.
 

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I would have to agree with MartinSr-

I am a General Manager of a John Deere Dealership, however in our other business we are a GMC/Buick/Pontiac/Jeep Dealership with two locations. IF you are a good Tech, and can be efficient, there IS money to be made out there. BUT-your recovery rate (hours worked vs. hours billed) in the Auto Industry better be 110-125%-if you can do that you can make 65-80K-I have Tech's in my JD shop in the 75K range.

Watch out! The typical Benefits package in this Industry are not as good as other types of businesses(Health, Vacation, 401K match), so TALK to your propective employer-

Craig
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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I talked with my co-worker who went to Wyotech today. He really did like it a lot, and I think there is a lot there for you. One of the courses is a street rod and fabrication class. They chopped a top on a 50 Chevy pickup, did suicide doors on another car. They worked with pnumatic planishing hammer, english wheel, etc. They have refinishing, and the important AMS (Automotive Managment systems) for the business side. It sounds like a super start for you.
 

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definitely try college, I went to one for 2+ years for auto body, right now economy sucks so bad, around here anyways, that nobody [email protected]( about body work on their car, so Im unemployed, I shoudve chose better and got something else than auto body, even though I dont have to pay someone to do body work on my cars, Im not making any money right now and I havent had luck with other careers. See whats in demand in your area, nursing, computers, lawyers? You gotta spend more than one day deciding what you wanna do, since if you fail to take right decision you wont have job probably, like me, having hard time living by.
 

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My son is a junior in high school and wanted to go to WyoTech, until he say the price of tuition for a year, 18K. He has since decided to look at schools closer to home and the price is quite a bit cheaper.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #19
yea but i looked at the schools around here and theyre not to great and they mainly focus on genral mechanics im looking into hotrodding.
 

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The hot rodding you can pick up on your own, you have to have the general mechanics background first! Once you understand how things all work together, it's relatively easy to figure out how to make improvements. Look at the local mechanics schools then go hang out at local tracks (drag or circle). You'll pick up a lot! It's a real good idea to learn more about the modern EFI systems and engines. Just remember, 20 years from now when big V-8s are truly a thing of the past there won't be many around, but there will be lots of guys able to work on them! There won't be as many for the newer engines and control systems. You can't feed the family (eventually you'll likely have one!) or buy all the neat toys if you aren't making some dough!! Even the newer hot rod builders are looking at some of the new smaller engines. GM even sells a crate Eco-Tech four with a supercharger! That's great for something like Speedway's Track-T. I've seen one Track-T built with a salvaged 2.0L GM already in Rod and Custom (just a photo and caption). R&C's comment? "Sounds like fun to us". It would be, doesn't take a lot to power something so light and still have it be a hot rod!
 
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