2018 Automotive Graduate
Gold Wrench Award Winner & HIghest Academic Average
Express Service Technician at a Subaru Dealership
I was always fascinated by cars.
My mom remembers that I asked for a jeep for my Barbie doll—I thought, ‘How can Barbie go shopping without a car?’ During my middle school years, I had a little hot wheel toy. I hated the green color—so I stripped the color, and used nail polish to paint it red.
As a young person, I liked to troubleshoot and fix things.
A family member who enjoyed working on cars introduced me to the automotive industry.
When I graduated High School, my classmates were taking SATs to apply to college.
I didn’t want to put my money into going to a two or four-year school to learn something I wasn’t interested in doing. I decided to take a year off after High School—that one year turned into eight.
In 2016, I started working at a dealership, providing customer service and sales.
As a Sales Administrator, I scheduled service appointments through CareConnect and reviewed orders with customers. Learning about PDIs (Pre-Delivery Inspections) on vehicles coming in from the Port taught me a lot. But I wanted to do something I have a passion for—I wanted to work on cars.
I looked into different career training programs.
At first, I considered a program in which I would work on a specific brand of vehicles. That, and the long commute, didn’t feel right for me.
Someone mentioned they knew a person who had attended MTTI.
Another friend encouraged me, and came with me to my Admissions appointment. After the tour, I thought, ‘What would it hurt to fill out an application?’ I completed the financial aid paperwork and decided I would start in a few months, during September.
At the program's start, four of my classmates were women.
Later a fifth woman transferred in from another class. The first four of us got pretty tight; it took a while to get used to another person. Now we are all friends and chat together on Facebook.
Smaller classes make a real difference.
My instructor, Rich, got to know each person in our group; he could relate to all of us, regardless of age, interests or background.
You learn from scratch or build on the auto tech skills you have.
We learned about something in the classroom and then went right into the shop to practice the same skill.
At MTTI you work on many makes and models of vehicles.
We learned to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair anything that comes in the door—our own or our classmates’ cars, and vehicles community members bring in. Similar to working in a repair shop, we saw or performed diagnostics almost every day—whether we used a scan tool or visually inspected a vehicle, to know what needed to be repaired.
We learned about bolts—and what to do when they break.
Someone I know went to a more expensive school—but had no idea what to do when a bolt broke.
The Auto Tech program dealt heavily with electrical systems.
It was the hardest part of the course—but knowing how to work on automotive electrical is so important. To work on today’s cars, you need more than mechanical training to become a technician. Rich told us, “Hybrids and electrical cars are the technology of the future—you can’t stop the future.”
When I tried something my own way, I had validation from the Instructors.
Instead of asking, ‘Am I doing this right?' I could say to them, ‘Do you see what I see?’ It supports, and even pushes you, to go for the answers when someone shows you how to do it yourself.
Rich would say, “Do it this way and this might happen. I’ve made this mistake myself.”
He would tell us, “Try it that way.” HIs guidance gave me a great foundation. Now that I am working on the dealership’s brand, I take what I’ve learned in school and figure out what I need to do differently.
We built up an understanding about how a car works as a whole.
That makes it easier now, on the job, to explain repairs to customers.
MTTI gave us a student discount for tools; we also earned a Tool Bonus after verifying that we were hired.
Having professional tools gave us an edge in starting a new career.
The internship made a nice transition into employment.
Interning at a dealership or repair shop builds on the basics we learned in school.
I moved from my Sales position into the Service Department at the start of internship.
During my internship, they threw me into anything that came in for service—they treated me like a regular employee. It’s the same work you learned in school, even if it is on a different brand than you’ve worked on before.
Doing tasks multiple times makes it easier—and makes you faster.
After a few weeks of repetition, it becomes comfortable. If you mess up, you learn from the experience; you make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. Your customer will appreciate if you check your work a second time, so they won’t have to come back because you didn’t do the job right the first time.
Being a female in the automotive industry, I can sometimes reassure female customers.
We give customers a color-coded multi-point inspections sheet to explain what work needs to be done. Female customers sometimes worry they’ll be charged for repairs they don’t need. Even though I work with nine honest males, sometimes I’m the best one to relieve a female customer’s concerns. By showing her what needs to be replaced, she knows she won’t be paying more than necessary for the repair.
A lot of people today are scared to enroll in a school program because of finances.
People get anxious about owing a large amount of money after four years of college. They worry about being in debt after school and not finding a job.
MTTI was affordable; leaving MTTI I had only a little debt—and I had begun an Auto Tech career.
Going to school to learn something we really like puts us on the path of doing something better in life.