WHAT ARE THE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND PATHWAYS IN THIS FIELD?
What is the outlook for entry-level employment in this field and how do CRC students compete?
Entry level prospects are considered to be “decent” while there is a relatively high demand for skilled technicians. Most technicians begin their careers as “MLR” or Maintenance and Light Repair technicians. Ideally, the entry-level student should try to find entry-level employment perhaps as a oil and lube tech when they begin their training and not wait until they have completed all of their course work.
Employers are not going to start someone at the higher wage levels just because they have the training; they want to see the experience and work habits first and the entry–level experience will show this. By mixing school with work, the student is likely to experience wage growth as their skills increase. CRC students do much better at this entry-level work than someone without the training.
What is the pay range from entry-level pay to high end with experience in this career?
Entry-level pay is above the minimum wage and, of course, the wages rise with experience and ASE/smog/AC certifications. A technician with two years of full-time experience currently makes from a low end of $13.16 to $24.37 per hour for the upper 25% of technicians in the valley. The California State Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that the hourly mean wage in 2006 was $19.54. Highly motivated and skilled technicians with perhaps five or more years of experience and ASE certifications will earn between $45,000 and $75,000 per year.
Are there any physical or legal limitations (immigration status, felony or misdemeanor convictions, etc.) to licensing or employment?
Apparently BAR does review any felony convictions before allowing a smog license to be granted but immigration status doesn’t seem to be an issue. A valid driver’s license is pretty much required to work as a technician by most employers but is not required for ASE or Smog certification. Drug testing is pretty standard for most employers and technicians are expected to be able to do some lifting on the job.
What other jobs are related to or made possible by experience or training in this field? What is the potential for advancement in this career?
There are six figure positions such as Parts and Service Director at large dealerships. In addition, dealerships employ service, parts, and body shop managers, service advisors, and warranty advisors. Large companies like Coca Cola, UPS, the CHP and other governmental agencies all operate huge motor pools and hire fleet maintenance and management personnel. Additionally, the BAR hires people at multiple levels.
Technicians with experience find work in other mechanical fields such as elevator repair, start their own businesses and provide in-service training.