Demand Driving Free Auto Tech Training In Metro Phoenix

Published: Monday, July 15, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, July 15, 2019 - 11:03am
Universal Technical Institute
Students participate in Universal Technical Institute's free summer program at its Avondale campus in 2019.

Demand for more automotive and diesel technicians is driving a free program for Valley high school students.

Scottsdale-based Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is a private, for-profit provider of automotive and diesel technician training. At its Avondale campus this week, UTI is wrapping up a program offered at no cost for high school juniors. Two courses introduce students to engine repair, and operation and undercar systems.

Kevin Naylor oversees the parts and service department at Larry H. Miller Hyundai Peoria. He said the industry isn’t keeping up with retirements.

“The industry is currently short over 10,000 qualified technicians and that number continues to grow,” he said. “It’s important to bring entry-level technicians into the industry to learn from the senior- and master-level technicians so they can share their knowledge while they’re still in the industry.”

Naylor said today’s average car has 70 computers and a hundred million lines of code and technicians spend as much time doing digital diagnostics as they do under the hood.

“The amount of training necessary to have a technician come into the industry now is much greater and it’s changed,” he said. “We still replace parts but the majority of repairs we do are electronics-based: software updates, electrical diagnoses. A lot of the vehicles in the industry right now have fiber optic systems that they’re replacing wires, so it’s an entirely different type of technician than it was when I went to school.”

Naylor said an entry level technician can make $40,000 a year while a master technician can earn six figures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says jobs for automotive service technicians will grow 6.1% by 2026 while auto body technicians will see employment grow 8.5%.

Students involved in UTI’s summer program will take final exams. If they pass and want to continue their training, they can receive credit toward future courses.

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