“I don’t have any experience with cars. How much do I need to know before I enroll in classes?”
You don’t need any automotive experience to enroll in auto classes at Skyline College. The classes are designed to accommodate beginners as well as experienced technicians. If you haven’t taken an automotive class before, you can enroll in Auto 710 – Fundamentals of Automotive Technology. This is an entry level class which will give you the background needed to be successful in the other classes.
“I was never good at math or science. Do I need a high level of skill in these areas?”
The necessary math and science concepts are taught along with the technology in the automotive classes, so if you barely passed Algebra or have never taken a science class, you can still do well in the Automotive Program.
You will need basic math skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) as well as knowing how to work with decimals, fractions and converting standard and metric measurements. If you need help with the basics, Skyline College has a wonderful Learning Center where you can get up to speed quickly.
“Can women really get jobs in the automotive industry? What if I do all this work and no one will hire me?”
Women are in great demand in the auto industry! Many shop owners and managers are discovering that a large percentage of their customers are female and that many female customers prefer dealing with women. Having women in the shop OR behind the desk are assets to the organization. Take a look at our Success Stories – these women were not only able to find jobs, but were able to advance as well.
“I’m worried about the attitudes I might encounter in a male-dominated field. What’s it really like for a woman in the auto industry?”
Women in the auto industry have come a long way in the last 20 years, but there are still some barriers to overcome. Overall, our female students have done extremely well in their careers and classes. Old attitudes are changing, and younger technicians have grown up with women in the workforce, in non-traditional jobs and in non-traditional classes. At Skyline College, all students are given equal consideration.
“Don’t you have to be really strong to work on cars?”
The answer to this question is yes and no. The amount of physical strength needed depends of the kind of work you specialize in. Brakes, steering and suspension (or “front end work”) do require a fair amount of upper body strength, but there are a lot of tools available now to compensate. If you specialize in smog, driveability or electrical work, then a woman can do quite well. Diagnosis of a problem requires critical thinking skills, high reading comprehension and good theoretical background – skills in which women usually excel.
“I like knowing about cars, but I don’t want to spend all day everyday getting dirty. Do I have to work in a shop to use my knowledge?”
There are a tremendous number of jobs which you can use your knowledge that don’t require crawling under a car every day. Repair technician jobs are only one small piece of the auto industry. One position that women do very well at is Service Writing. The Service Writer works directly with the technicians, so automotive understanding is essential, but they also work in the office with the customers, where they explain the problems, the testing procedures and the results.
Women with automotive backgrounds can work in management in dealerships, body shops or parts suppliers. There are also government jobs, such as the Bureau of Automotive Repair which oversees repair shops in California. A woman with an automotive background could be a technical writer, work in design and development or automotive marketing, just to name a few.
“I want a college degree. Can I get one through the Automotive Program?”
Students can choose to obtain a certificate of completion through the Automotive Program at Skyline College, or they can earn an Associate’s Degree in Automotive Technology by taking auto classes as well as meeting their general education requirements. Some of our students have gone on to obtain Bachelor’s degrees in Business, Engineering and other disciplines. Please see a counselor to discuss your options – for many, automotive classes are just the beginning!