Job: Refinish Technician, Collision Repair
Age: 22 | Hometown: Bay
Degrees: Associate degree in Applied Science and a Collision Repair Technician Certificate
Alma mater: Arkansas State University-Newport at Marked Tree
What advice would you give students considering this field?
Employees in this line of work make good money, and there will always be a need for it.
What was the most surprising thing about your training?
It takes time to master the skills to be successful. You can’t just throw things together and call it a day. This career takes someone who is willing to invest their time in what they’re working on.
Rachel is paving the way for women in her field after becoming the first professional female auto body painter in Jonesboro. Not only that, she is the first female worker at Cavenaugh Ford Lincoln.
What was your training like?
I learned so much in the 10-month program, including how to pull dents, how to prep panels, color matching and tinting, welding, frame pulling, painting and many other things. We spent most days in the shop doing hands-on activities, and some in a classroom doing book work.
Now that I have a job in the field, I see more and more how much the program helped me succeed!
What is your job like? Why do you love it?
My job is more like my hobby, so rarely do I feel like I’m working! There’s always something new and different to do, and that keeps you learning every day.
I have always been interested in the automotive field, and I’m an artistic person, so I just decided to give painting cars a try. I made so many new friends who enjoy the same things I do, but I get to do what I love every day and it never gets old.
What’s the outlook of your industry look like?
The outlook of my industry is very positive because it grows every day. There will always be cars to fix and new materials to learn about.
WHY IT'S HOT
Skilled machine operators and industrial mechanics were the No. 11 and No. 16 fastest growing jobs in Arkansas in 2017. And demand is only going to grow, with jobs increasing up to 25 percent in Arkansas by 2024. Nationally, the need is no different. Forbes and CareerBuilder.com report the same demand: three of 12 hardest jobs to fill in 2017 were for skilled tradespeople.
Possibilities are broad when it comes to skilled labor. Degrees range from electricians, truck drivers and welders to auto repair technicians and mechanics. The type of degree you may need (whether it be an apprenticeship, on-the-job training, a certificate or an associate degree) will vary.
Welders, electricians, machinists, truck drivers, refinish technicians and so much more.
Since skilled labor is so broad, salaries vary by job, but entry-level positions tend to range $35,000-$50,000.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salary.com & Zippia.com