How to Become a Mechanic with No Experience: 5 Path

Here are 5 paths on how to become a mechanic with no experience or schooling.

It can actually be difficult to get hired in the automotive field for complete beginners. I know because I’ve been there.

Most shops will say you either need experience or technical training before you can get a job.

But how do you get experience if no one’s willing to give you a shot?

And what if you’re having difficult getting enrolled in college?

Learn here on how to become a mechanic with no experience or schooling in the automotive field. 

Here are five ways you can get started:

Path #1

Start by changing engine oil and brakes.

This is probably the easiest method to start learning how to become a mechanic. And that is to just start doing basic vehicle maintenance. This is least expensive way to start.

For example, you only to buy a starter tool set to change engine oil and brakes. And if you do a proper job, it should take you no longer than 5 hours total to complete the repairs:

2 hours to do an oil change
3 hours to replace front brake pads and rotors.

As you can see, the upfront investment is minimal and the difficulty to get started becoming a mechanic is relatively low.

Here are two video examples on how to do an engine oil change and brake repair:

2011 KIA Sorento engine oil change

2011 KIA Sorento brake pad and rotor replacement

Quick way to get into the field

Doing engine oil changes and brake jobs will give you the experience that’s required to get hired in the automotive industry. Employers are always looking for candidates who have experience working on vehicles.

Just note, using this approach may not land you into dealerships immediately, but your chances of getting into lube shops is almost assured knowing these things. This route will save you money on tuition costs, and build your skills while working entry level jobs. 

Then you can move up slowly to enter dealerships or independent shops while building your resume. This is how you can start your journey to becoming a mechanic the easiest way possible.

When going to college might actually work in your favor

While I do show you here that you can get into the automotive field without going to college, there are certain instances where I recommend college. Continue reading below:

Path #2

Enrolling in community college for entry level certification.

If you want to know how to become a mechanic if you have 0 skill right now, schooling in another option. You can attend a community college (in Canada, we just call it college) to walk out with an official certificate

The plan would be to enroll in community college and pay for a 4 month tuition course. I wouldn’t recommend taking any course that goes longer than 4 months. Usually it’s a rip off for beginners.

Usually the tuition for community college is around $3,000 or less

You can also apply for scholarships or grants that will help pay for your tuitions. Which is a pretty decent deal if you’re able to score one of them.

Upon successful graduation, you would receive credentials to show employers that you’ve been certified in some way to work on vehicles.

This route will allow you to bypass working at lube shops in most cases. Which means you can approach dealerships and independent shop with a higher chance of success.

Path #3

how to become a mechanic with no experience or school schooling automotive technician apprenticeship an apprentice journeyman

Employer promotes you to become an apprentice.

If you want to know how to become a mechanic as an apprentice, this will be a path you can take later on.

Now that you’re working for your new employer, chances are you’re going to work at the shop you’re in for long haul. Usually a year or two into your employment is when your employer will likely decide to promote you.

That means your employer will likely sign you up for apprenticeship. Which means you now have to go back to school in order to start and complete your apprenticeship program. 

In some cases employers are willing to pay for all, if not some of your tuition training once you’re their apprentice. 

Stack this up with scholarships you can apply for and you’re almost paying nothing for college again; maybe you’ll even be making a surplus of money if your employer is covering for you. 

This is the only scenario I would recommend any one go to college.

Path #4

Becoming a mechanic the worst way possible. 

The worst way to become a mechanic as a beginner is to attend long term college programs. Let me explain.

The courses I’m talking about which you should avoid are those courses that go for 1 year to 4 years. Turns out, those class are not really good for your health… and your financial health in general.

Even apprentices usually go to college only 2-4 months a year at a time. Do you see them spending 1-4 years in college training?

I recommend you stay completely AWAY from these 1-4 years courses. Why? Because those courses will cost you $30,000 and up just to enroll in them. You’ll rack up so much debt in interest, you’ll spend half your life trying to pay it all back!

Scholarships and grants wont really help you In this situation

Say goodbye to any scholarship really helping you out to cover your 4 year college tuition. Maybe you might score a $15,000 scholarship.

But then you’re competing with straight A students in your college with people who have many qualifications. Good luck getting those scholarships. There are maybe only 1 or 2 of them anyways.  

The best you might get are those $1,000 or $2,000 scholarships that are a bit easier to receive. You may score a few of them.

If so, you’d likely end up shaving $4,000 off from a $30,000 tuition. But, do those numbers make sense to you?

And say hello every month to a big fat interest-loan that will haunt you for years to come. This is the worst way to become a mechanic.

Fun fact 

While you’re stuck in school for 4 years going this route, there are people getting out of community college within 4 months!

They’re out there running around making money with a 3 year and 8 month head start on you while you’re stuck in school,  earning no income for 4 years. Avoid this college trap like the plague

Path #5

how to become a mechanic with no experience or school schooling automotive technician apprenticeship an apprentice journeyman own your own shop

Become your own boss | open up your own shop.

Now that we’re done talking about college, here’s an option you thought maybe not possible for a beginner.

Now this path isn’t for the faint of heart, but this is how you can become a mechanic on the fast track. You can become your own boss. All you would have to do is learn how the business operates and hire out the right people.

Sure it’s much tougher to get to this position but if you know how to leverage other people’s money/time, this is a viable opportunity you can create.

Family and Friends May Want In

It’s possible you know someone who has capital to put up front. You, or someone you know may also know a mechanic or two. Put these two things together and you can get your shop set up and running.

Pitch these ideas to your family and friends and it becomes easier to put together a down deposit for a bank loan. 

At least you know it’s possible now to open up your own shop sooner than you think. No need to gruel it out 4 years as a technician.

Pros Willing to Help You Run Your Business

Solera, the parent company of Identifix also offers financing if you need some cash starting up your business. But that’s not all.

With a solution like Direct-Hit Pro Academy, you get access to over 350 training videos and professional mechanics support. Their support team will help you to diagnose and fix any vehicle out there.

Plus you get instant access to over 3 million repair manuals in the software they provide you with.

Something to consider if you want to level up quickly as a mechanic and shop owner.

5 Paths On How to Become a Mechanic

So there you go, 5 Paths on how to become a mechanic without school or experience.

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to learn along the way, you’ll have opportunities open up for you. It’s just the way it works.

The best way to become a mechanic is to just get started. Don’t let schools and employers discourage you if you get rejected by them.

It happened a lot to me in the beginning. But, I refused to accept their denial of me. I learned to make my own way into the field.

Now you know you create your own path, so get out there and create it!

Last Update: October 10, 2023

How to Become a Self-Employed Automotive Apprentice

Although rare, it is possible to get started as a self employed apprentice in the automotive world. I’ll offer a quick breakdown on how it’s possible to get into it, and some of the pros and cons going down this route.

So how do you get this deal?

The first answer is you need to be overqualified to approach employers this way. Here’s a video explaining how to become an overqualified 1st year mechanic. 

Once you’ve become overqualified, you can now approach any employer and ask if they’re looking for contract mechanics.

Since you’ll have the skills to back you up, employers may consider hiring you out as a contractor.

It’s even possible to get this type of contract as a 1st year apprentice. But again you’d have to be an overqualified 1st year to accept this kind of deal.

The pros for this are:

    • You get to set your schedule and rates more favorable to you
      • Which means if you prefer part time, you don’t have work as a zombie for the employer 5 days a week overtime all year long
        • You’ll get more time to carve out any side hustle you’re building towards
        • Plus, in Canada the Apprenticeship Board recognizes self-employed apprentices. Which means you can work towards completing your apprenticeship hours at your own pace.
      • You can also ask for higher wages since the employer wont be paying for your health insurance
        • A win-win for both parties

Which brings up the cons of this route:

    • You’ll need to have your own health insurance to protect yourself from workplace hazards
      • You could work as a contractor with no insurance protection, but if you get hurt at work the employer isn’t responsible for any injuries
    • You’re also not covered by any government labor board should the employer decide not to pay you
      • Which means you’ll have to take on small jobs first so you don’t lose much if the employer doesn’t pay

So there you go, now you know how to become a self employed apprentice.

Although fairly risky to go down this route of contractor, it is something to consider if you’re working on other projects while leveling up your automotive skills.

You’ll get to live life on your own terms and have a side hustle you look forward to every time you wake up.

The risks are high, but so are the rewards.

Kickstart Your Automotive Electrical Skills

As vehicles are becoming more electrified, it’s important to have electrical knowledge and skills to work on vehicles.

Learn the simple real life Formula that Runs All Electric Vehicles.

Get a head start if you’re thinking about getting into the automotive field.

March 07, 2022

Get 1st Year Apprenticeship on Day 1: Automotive Trades

If you’re having trouble getting into apprenticeship, this post might help you out so you can get started sooner. I’ll also explain how you can get hired as a 1st year apprentice on day 1.

Now there could be a number of reasons why it’s taking longer for you to get into apprenticeship. And I know because I’ve been there. But, I’ll get into that a little bit later on.

So how do you get into 1st year apprenticeship on day 1?

The short answer is: you need to be overqualified before approaching the employer.

So what do I mean by being overqualified?

Basically that means you can fix almost every part of the vehicle with a wide range of skills. Things like windshields, tires, electric repairs; practically everything.

You essentially have to be like a 3rd year apprentice to become qualified for this kind of opportunity.

But then the question arises: how do you become like a 3rd year when you’re just starting out?

Which is another very good question; that has good news in the end.

The first answer is, that it’s going to take time go get to a 3rd year level when you’re a complete beginner. So you’ll have to start small repairing vehicles and work your way up gradually. You’ll have to put in at least 3 to 5 years to get good at automotive repair.

Which means you’ll want to move around shop to shop to learn the different skills you’ll need to reach that level.

Question again: But, why move around shop to shop when you can stay in one place? Don’t most shops promote you to 1st year apprenticeship after just 1 year anyways?

Why should I spend an extra 3-5 years to get 1st year apprenticeship?

Yes. Success stories like that do exist. And it’s what you should be aiming for in the beginning. 

But in reality however, most techs don’t get into apprenticeship after putting in just a years worth of labor. For most it takes much longer to get into apprenticeship to get started. And that can be for any number of reasons:

    • Such as working for an employer who doesn’t pay well, or offers empty promises to promote you.
    • It could be due to toxic work environment. And instead being arrested for assaulting your coworker/employer, it’s better to relocate to other shops.
    • Or your priorities shift as years go by. Maybe you have other opportunities come your way which aren’t automotive related.

Things are always changing.

But if you can get into apprenticeship sooner, there’s no reason to move around.

But again, this post are for those having difficulty getting in and wanting an alternative route to apprenticeship.

Here’s more piece of good news: you won’t have wasted any time moving shop to shop for whatever your reasons were.

As long as you’re picking up the skills from the places you go to, you’re becoming more qualified as time goes on. You’re getting paid and living life on your terms as you progress.

So now when you approach an employer 3-5 years later, you can mention your skills during the next interview.

Ask if they’re willing to sign you up for apprenticeship before they hire you. If so, you’re in a much stronger position to get signed up on day 1.

Even if you can’t get 1st year apprenticeship on day one, you can still negotiate better terms to start apprenticeship sooner now since you’ve got the skills to back you up.

You could ask to start apprenticeship after a 3-month performance review instead. Many employers will have no problem with this.

This beats putting in another year for someone just to sign up for apprenticeship.

So there you go. How to get apprenticeship on day one if you’re having difficulty getting started.

I’ve got another post about how to become a self-employed apprentice if you’re interested in that as well. This also work for 1st year apprentices.

I’ll explain some of the pro and cons going that route, but it is something you can consider if you want to work part time. 

Let me know your thoughts about apprenticeship. Do you think employers are good at keeping their word in this industry? How many bad employers have you run into? Let me know in the comment section below.

Kickstart Your Automotive Electrical Skills

As vehicles are becoming more electrified, it’s important to have electrical knowledge and skills to work on vehicles.

Learn the simple real life Formula that Runs All Electric Vehicles.

Get a head start if you’re thinking about getting into the automotive field.

March 05, 2022

Employer VS Employee: Automotive Expectations In Shop

When you’re first starting out in the automotive world, you can feel intimidated for interviews with shop managers.

You might feel underqualified walking into the shop to get a job.

Or maybe you’ve been hired for some time and now your boss is starting to act up. Maybe this is your 5th boss now, but for some reason you just seem to butt heads with your employers over time.

So, are employers really as good as you think they are?

Today we’ll look at how much smarter is the employer vs the employee.

Now we all know when we go to job interviews we can feel a little bit of stress. We walk into a brand new place. We see a new face and then we sit and wait to be called. Then we have to meet the manager or shop owner. We answer a bunch of questions and then we hope for the best. Sometimes we land the job, sometimes we don’t.

What happens if the manager doesn’t call you back after the interview? This happened to me a lot. And will that stop you from approaching multiple shops because one or two shops say ‘no’ to you?

You might even think to yourself, “These guys are smart. They know what they’re talking about. They must know I’m just not cut out for this.”

Realize that at the end of the day, these employers aren’t the brightest either. Some of the times they’re making mistakes too which ain’t so smart; sometimes grave mistakes.

two short stories I want to share.

The first employer I had was an owner of an independent shop. He is knowledgeable in fixing vehicles and I learned a lot from him over the course of my employment.

But on the first day I noticed he had a car running in his garage bay. I got a quick tour of the shop and maybe 10 minutes had gone by now. 

Next thing I know I see the same car that was running earlier, spewing out hot coolant into the air like a high pressure fountain you see at a city park. 

That fountain was probably reaching well over a meter high. Next thing, I see the owner rushing back to the car in haste to turn it off.

…2 Months Later

About 2 months working for him I get a car on the lift that needs a brake job. I noticed that the caliper pins are seized unto the caliper bracket. I quickly show the owner this problem and he immediately responds, “It’s okay, just throw everything back on with the new pads.” 

So essentially I did just that. We didn’t order a new caliper or notify the customer. We just put everything back like nothing ever happened.

I realized then the rumors to be true about shop owners taking shortcuts, and here was one of them. Not only will the customer’s new brake pads wear out even faster, but this could cause a safety hazard down the road later on. 

The owner just wanted to get another car into the bay and keep generating that cashflow as fast as possible. Not a smart idea if the customer gets into an accident. That can come back to bite the employer.

Second employer gambling with his shop.

The second example is when I worked for a different owner who had a good operations going. But, it had a very weak point that could easily be exploited. 

This weak point could knock him back in heavy fines and possibly revoke his license to keep his shop open. Which here in Alberta, is a requirement to have a license to keep your shop open. 

Some provinces in Canada don’t need a license. And in the States it seems you don’t need one as well. But here in Alberta and in some other provinces; if you don’t have at least 1 person with a license working on the floor in your shop, that can spell out trouble for you.

I discovered this through my coworker who told me he doesn’t have a journeyman license. He also mentioned that I ‘not say anything to anyone’ about it.

And whenever I saw regulations people walk into the shop, I would notice the owner running around frantically. Since it was just me and my coworker working at this shop, I knew the owner was trying to coo the regulations people because he had no licensed journeyman in his shop; including himself. And I realized he was just one step away from being shut down because of this.

Another shortcut an owner is willing to take so he doesn’t have to pay higher wages to a licensed mechanic. Not so smart.

After about two years I tried to call my former employer about setting up a business deal. The number was disconnected, and when I visited the shop everything was shut down. I looked online and saw confirmation that the place had emptied and was no longer open by looking at the reviews.

I learned alot from my employers

But to be fair these mechanics knew how to fix vehicles and impressed me some of the time. But that’s the thing, it’s only some of the time. 

The other times it’s just neutral or they’re out there taking shortcuts and breaking regulations.

Which means you as the beginner shouldn’t worry when employers say ‘no’ to you when you ask for a job. Now you know they don’t know what they’re talking about. 

You just head to the next shop and ask again until you land employment.

And for people thinking of starting their own business, competition from other shops shouldn’t stop you from doing your own thing if you think it’s going to work out.

So there you go. Employer vs employee. Are employers smarter? No. Not really. But if you ever do become an employer, now you know the pitfalls here so you can become a smarter one.

Learn how to become a mechanic with no experience or school. 

Watch a quick video here to get started in the automotive field if you have no idea where to start. With people saying go to college or get experience, it can be frustrating when you don’t have either and you’re starting with less money. So check out the video to solve this issue:

Play Video about how to become a mechanic with no experience or without school easy learning repair cars

Kickstart Your Automotive Electrical Skills

As vehicles are becoming more electrified, it’s important to have electrical knowledge and skills to work on vehicles.

Learn the simple real life Formula that Runs All Electric Vehicles.

Get a head start if you’re thinking about getting into the automotive field.

Starting your own business

And if you’ve fixing care for about 2 years but can’t seem to level up, consider flipping cars.

Learning how to flip cars can earn you a decent amount of profits if done right. Not only that, but you can level up you automotive repair skills at the same time.

Which means if you’re getting sick of working for people, you can become your own boss.

Check out the link below to learn more:

July 28, 2021