In our previous blog, we pointed out the shortage of good trades talent in the workforce, particularly in auto collision repair. It seems the mainstream believes that a bachelor’s degree or higher is the only route to a good paying career these days. That is not necessarily true, especially if student loans had to be used to pay for that higher education and the job after graduation obtained paid $25,000 per year or less.
The Cost Of A Bachelor’s Degree
Let’s get a better understanding of the cost of a 4 year degree. The average tuition and fees of a 4 year public college costs around $40,000 for residents of the state to attend, and about $100,000 for nonresidents. Private schools ask for a low sum of $136,000 for that bachelor’s degree. These are rounded figures from College Data’s 2016-2017 college cost data, and it excludes food, living expenses, and boarding.
Average Earnings Of New Graduates
Now consider the 2016 average earning potential of new graduates with a bachelor’s degree for non- engineering / medical / math / science / technical majors. Time.com specifies the annual salary range of graduates in these fields are between $35,000 – $52,000 per year. Although some of these salaries are reasonable, the employment rate of graduates making these figures are less than 70%. CNBC states The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that 39% of 2014 and 2015 new graduates are making $25,000 or less per year. These are not exactly good rates of return for such large investments, thus skyrocketing student loan debts.
Auto Collision Repair As A Career
Now let’s look at trades programs and focus specifically on auto collision repair, as that is our specialty. For a year of Collision Repair & Refinish Technology Training Program at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), tuition is around $40,000. During the program, students receive hands on and theory training on auto collision repair using current, state of the art equipment in real world applications.
To promote and increase hiring rates, the school holds job fairs regularly to connect future graduates and body shops together. These connections give students the perfect opportunity to get on the job training, develop relationships to build their career through internships or apprenticeships, and solidify classroom concepts and training with actual industry applications. During these internships or apprenticeships, they are making money to support themselves while going to school.
After graduation, students receive 15 industry certifications with work experience equivalent to 2 years. Typically they are hired on with the shops in which they’ve trained. If not, they have all necessary certifications with 2 years of industry experience to make them marketable. The annual starting salary can be around $30,000 and increase as they become more seasoned. Senior, seasoned technicians can bring home 6 figure incomes.
So for those with the love of tinkering with cars, but have no interest in taking the route of a 4 year or longer education while incurring heavy student loan debts in the process, the collision repair training program is a viable solution.
Mission Viejo Auto Collision Invests In Our Growth
We recognize for us to continuously grow our operation, we need to invest in future tech talents. As such, we need to hire, mentor, encourage, and provide opportunities to those with the desire to build a career in collision repair. UTI’s Collision Repair Program is the perfect environment for us to find qualified candidates, as it aligns with our shop training, I-Car certification requirements, and it is located in Orange County. By working hard as a student at UTI, we know these future techs are driven as they have skin in the game by investing time and money to develop a career in auto collision repair.
We introduce our new collision repair apprentices: Steven Barrera, Kevin Zelada, Cameron Knapp, and Francisco Perez. These 4 men are new hires brought on to learn the trade and earn income while going to school. Watch their brief stories of how they arrived at Mission Viejo Auto Collision, their experiences with us, and why they chose this career. Welcome Steven, Kevin, Cameron and Francisco. We look forward to your professional growth with us!