It seems that a lot of people have a big misconception about what being an automotive technician is really about. And here to give us some pointers, we have Trish Serratore from ASE, NATAF. Trish, welcome to Goss’ Garage.

TRISH SERRATORE: It’s a pleasure to be here, Pat.

PAT GOSS: Alright. Tell us a little about the organization first.

TRISH SERRATORE: ASE is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and it is the credentialing agency for automotive repair technicians. They must have two years of hands on experience as a technician, and pass our fairly difficult written exam. Then we make them come back every five years and retest, to make sure they still know what they know.

PAT GOSS: Ok, and I have to tell you that as a business owner, that’s a requirement in my shop for my technicians.

TRISH SERRATORE: Yes, ASE is actually a voluntary certification program, but because of the value of ASE, and the testament to the skill of the individual being certified, most employers either require it upon hiring, or shortly thereafter in their employ.  

PAT GOSS: Ok, now a lot of people seem to think that it’s nothing but dirt and grime and there’s nothing challenging about it, and anybody could do it, and it’s painless and all the rest. None of this is true.

TRISH SERRATORE: Not at all. Well, the dirt part’s true. There’s still a lot of oil and grease and all that. But there are so many computers in cars today that you could be sitting in a white lab coat and not get a single speck of dirt on you as you’re diagnosing those vehicles. And you can work anywhere in the country. That’s what’s really fun about it. You like the South or the North, or the snow or the heat, you can get a job. You won’t be outsourced, and the pay is significant.

PAT GOSS: Yea, it can be…there can be a lot of benefits. The businesses that higher technicians are mostly professionals, so you have the same benefits you would other places.

TRISH SERRATORE: Sure. Most independent repair shops or dealerships will offer some kind of benefit package to repair technicians. And there’s lots of job opportunities within those businesses. You can be a technician; you can be a parts person; you can be a service writer or consultant. You can work on the websites of the businesses. You can own your own business. The spectrum is huge of what you can do.

PAT GOSS: Alright. So, in my way of thinking: it’s a great alternative, at least to look into, as opposed to some of the more popular fields.

TRISH SERRATORE: Well if you like to fix things, you like to work with people, and you don’t mind a little dirt, but you really enjoy those kinds of things, the automotive industry really offers an amazing category of different occupations that you can achieve.

PAT GOSS: Trish, thank you. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.