Ever since Nick Bergdahl could hold a tool in his hand he’s been interested in cars. As he was growing up, Nick’s dad and two older brothers would work on cars at home as a hobby. He learned a lot watching and helping them on whatever car projects they were working on, and he began to develop a passion of his own for the auto industry. While in high school, Nick considered a few different career paths, but ultimately kept coming back to automotive. After hearing an automotive instructor speak to one of his classes, he decided to go for it and pursue his passion. Nick attended Dakota County Technical College’s GM automotive program. While in school, he interned at Auto Works Automotive Service Center and after graduation, Nick was hired full-time.
Position: Auto Technician
Job description: Work in an auto shop to provide service and maintenance to vehicles.
Job outlook: Number of jobs growing faster than average.
Salary: Median salary for an auto service tech is $39,550. Experience influences pay rate and significant growth potential.
Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific degree or certificate preferred and helpful.
Character traits: Motivated to work and tackle challenges. Like being active and working with hands.
Benefits: Opportunity to for hands-on work and problem solving. Satisfaction and accomplishment when finishing a job and returning the vehicle back to its owner.
Nick’s favorite part of his job is being able to help others and fixing problems they have with their vehicles. He enjoys the opportunity to work with his hands instead of working at a desk all day. He also likes that he’s challenged with something different each day.
If you’re a hard worker that enjoys a fast-paced environment that allows you to solve problems with your hands, than an auto tech career is for you. Every day is different and you’ll constantly be learning. Nick also reminds future techs that they’ll get to use and build their own tool sets, so make sure to factor in the ongoing cost of tools.
“For me, getting a two-year degree was imperative to getting hired,” explains Nick. “I would recommend a two-year program for anyone interested in starting on this path.” Nick earned his automotive service A.A.S. degree from Dakota County Technical College where he completed the GM automotive program. During his schooling, Nick gain additional experience by interning at Auto Works Automotive Service Center. Nick added that continued education is also important to keep up with new technology and features which helps you grow in your career.
Cars are becoming more advanced – more features with more technological advances and as more cars have more integrated electronics, technicians are going to need to know how to troubleshoot and fix them. During school, almost half of Nick’s education was focused on electronics. This is likely to increase over the next few years, so it’s going to be important for students to be comfortable with technology and electronics.