With an on-again, off-again sluggish U.S. economy and the state of Oklahoma hit hard by layoffs and slowdowns in the oil, gas, and agricultural sectors, it is more important than ever to choose a career path that has many job options in multiple fields. If you’re looking to train for a new career, give some serious thought to investing the time and energy to become a skilled technical worker. Working in automotive mechanics, diesel engine repair, HVAC equipment maintenance, welding and other similar fields remain viable career choices for Americans today. Here’s a look at why.
For those who love trucks, a job caring for diesel engines is very appealing. And it’s a practical career choice. The big rig trucks that haul produce and other goods across the country and the transit buses that keep our cities connected need regular maintenance and tender loving care to function at their best and keep the economy moving.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which analyzes trends in the U.S. job market, diesel service is a rapidly expanding field throughout the country. The BLS estimates that job opportunities for technicians and mechanics specializing in diesel engines will grow by 12% between 2012 and 2024 nationwide. That’s faster than the national average for job growth. Average national pay for a diesel technician was over $21 per hour in 2015, for an average salary of $44,520 nationwide (local numbers may vary). And since the diesel repair field is expanding, opportunities for its workers to grow with it, rise to higher-level positions and make more money is a distinct possibility.
Automotive Repair and Maintenance
It’s estimated that the current age of cars and light trucks on America’s roads is a solid 11.5 years old. People are holding onto their cars longer than ever and that trend bodes well for anyone interested in a career in automotive repair and maintenance. Independent repair shops are definitely benefitting because consumers who own cars out of warranty are more likely to visit mechanic shops than those with newer, still warrantied vehicles.
It is those shops that are in need of skilled workers to help them keep pace with car owners who want their 11.5-year-old cars in tip-top shape. While the field is expected to grow at 5% between 2012 and 2024 nationwide, the same as the national average of job growth, mechanics who are well-trained in auto repair are still hard to come by, according to many auto service managers. Getting a solid education in automotive maintenance from a technical school that is dedicated to preparing its students fully for their chosen field can help you find career success in auto repair.
Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
Another area of the economy that is growing faster than the national average is HVAC/refrigeration maintenance and installation. Estimated to surge by 14% between 2012 and 2024, HVAC/refrigeration is growing much faster than average. The current average salary in this field is over $45,000, a solid wage with current trends showing the field is growing.
The demand for skilled HVAC+R repair workers is especially strong right now because employers say they are continuing to have difficulty finding employees with the right mesh of computer/electronics savvy, good troubleshooting skills and the proper training for today’s HVAC+R technology. You can set yourself up for success in this field by training at a technical college that can put you ahead of the curve on current HVAC+R repair techniques.
Though welding is growing at 4%, slightly lower than the national average job growth of 5%, it continues to be a excellent field for those who enjoy challenging, hands-on work. One benefit of training as a welder is that the skill set is adaptable across many industries, from automotive to oil and gas and more. And with the increasing need to replace and repair aging infrastructure (highways, bridges, and buildings), welders who know their stuff are likely to do well.
The best way to set yourself apart in the welding field and achieve continued growth and success is to get the latest, up-to- date training and keep up your skills to match new welding technologies and techniques.
Let Oklahoma Technical College Prepare You for Your Career
Here at Oklahoma Technical College, we care about your future. And we stand ready to provide you with the professional, up-to-date, classroom, and hands-on training you need in the diesel, automotive, HVAC+R, and welding fields. Let us help you determine the right path for your career goals. Request more information today on how OTC can further your future. Schedule a tour or call us at 918-895-7500 so our expert advisors can answer your questions.