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When considering obtaining an automotive degree, you have to decide what kind of degree you would like, an automotive technology degree or an automotive engineering degree. Students can earn a vocational certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree in automotive technology. Those seeking an automotive engineering degree can earn a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree. Each degree offers its recipients different career opportunities, depending on what your interest in cars is. An engineering degree offers you opportunities such as designing vehicles while a technology degree allows you to perform maintenance.
An automotive parts specialist works in repair shops and retail stores. This person recommends parts to customers depending on the make and model of the vehicle. He may help to diagnose the automotive issues for the customer and provide suggestions on how to best remedy the problem. If a part can not be found locally, a part specialist uses his contacts in the industry to find the needed part for his client. In this position you may also be called upon to do customer billing, use a cash register and open and close a retail location. A part's specialist position may require an automotive technology vocational certificate or associate's degree.
One of the more exciting opportunities available to holders of an automotive technology degree is to be a part of a race car driver's pit crew. The pit crew requires its members to work as a part of the team. You also have to travel with the race car driver on a regular basis. As a part of the pit crew you must be able to quickly perform routine maintenance on the car. You should also be able to make diagnostic decisions and be able to repair or replace almost anything that goes wrong with the race car in a very short amount of time. To work on a pit crew you need to receive specialized training in automotive technology or a comparable associate's degree.
A position where you can decide how far you want to progress is as an automotive mechanic. There are multiple opportunities available to automotive mechanics including working in a repair shop, being the shop manager or foreman and owning your own repair business. You can specialize in certain types of cars, such as foreign or domestic when earning your degree. To be a successful automotive mechanic you must love to work on cars and be able to stand for long periods of time while working. You must also have good mathematical and problem solving skills and a vocational certificate in automotive technology to obtain a job as a mechanic.
With an automotive engineering degree you are able to become an automotive designer. In this position you could design cars, buses or other types of vehicles. The automotive designer not only creates the idea for the vehicle but also figures out how it should be built and makes sure that it passes all testing regulations for safety. As a designer you are able to put your creativity to work, developing and integrating new technology into vehicles, determining ways to lower production costs and considering the environmental impact and ownership costs of the vehicles that you design. To become an automotive designer you need at least a bachelor's degree. Advanced positions may require a master's degree. While doctorate degrees are available in automotive engineering, it is not strictly necessary to advance your career.
Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.