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08-04-2012, 01:07 PM   #1
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Automotive Technician to Photography, Help.

Hey my Pentax friends. I have not started my automotive technician courses yet. But I am really unhappy and not what I really want to do. My parents are proud and happy for me thinking that I will have a great career upon graduation. I don't know how they will feel if I told them I wanted to go into photography as a full-time student instead. I really would like to make photography my career although I know it is a very competitive field and most are unemployed and are free lancers with minimal pay.

I am 22 years old and still live with my parents. I had 3 semesters in a different college doing just generals as I did not know what I wanted to do, I only need 1 1/2 semesters left to complete my AA but dropped it for automotive technician courses at a different college, now I am deciding it's photography that I really want to do. What are your thoughts about this? School starts August 27th and I need to pay for my courses by August 6th and I only have 1 1/2 days left to make my choice.

EDIT: NVM! Just checked some of the photography courses, it's all full! Not enough seats for me to pop in, I am a little too late. Arghh!! I'm stuck with Automotive Technician.


Last edited by LeDave; 08-04-2012 at 01:12 PM.
08-04-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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I would finish out the automotive technician courses/training and then try photography. You may find you don't like photography and you'll have your auto tech training to fall back on.
08-04-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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What not a number said. Being a one trick pony is not good in today's world. Besides, even if you do go into photography, it's still nice to know either how to fix your car, or when a mechanic is ripping you off.
08-04-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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After a couple years in college I lost interest in my course of study (liberal arts).

After several seemingly dead-end jobs at 24 I decided to go to technical school,
to get in on the computer boom that was happening then (in the mid-1980's).

With my Electronic Technology certificate fresh in hand my first job was for
Olympus USA in Woodbury NY doing camera repair. I had pursued photography
passionately as a hobby for ten years, so I figured this job was a perfect fit.

Though I stayed less than a year that job somehow destroyed my interest in
photography. Afterwards I didn't pick up a camera again for nearly a decade.

I'm not sure what lesson (if any) my experience might offer you.
For me it was clearly not beneficial to mix my passion with my career.

Chris


Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 08-07-2012 at 04:51 PM.
08-04-2012, 04:47 PM   #5
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I did three degrees (BA, BA Hons and MA) and one certificate course. I have worked for small companies and huge companies and even my own company. I never once worked in the area I studied. The job I loved was when I worked for myself, but it paid little and for some jobs, the pay was good but sporadic. The high I got working for myself wasn't enough to pay the bills and I had to return to the regular workforce. My education allowed me to land a well paid job with great benefits that I would not have landed without the education. The job I got was in a bank. My MA, if you are curious was on Rapid Reaction Peacekeeping Forces and Their Practical Application (or there abouts). My own business was in antiques and I had free lance wrote on antiques and collectables. I am now on disability due to illness.

My point is that your education opens more doors than it closes. Sometimes it's not about what you studied but that you studied something. I also got to do what I loved for about 10 years before I had to return to the regular workforce. The education gave me the ability (and freedom) to try it and know I could fall back on something more regular if I needed to. Am I sorry I studied what I did? May be a little tiny bit, but I am not sure what I would have studied instead. My love for most things old didn't show up until I was almost 30 - a little late to switch MA programs.

I would be inclined to continue with the automotive technician program so that you have a fall back option. While doing that I would also explore your options if you decide to pursue photography. Just because you complete one program it doesn't prevent you from completing another.

bigted
08-04-2012, 05:41 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, this was helpful. I will continue on with my automotive technician program =)
08-04-2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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Just one more thing...

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN... You never know where the road will take you!
08-04-2012, 07:35 PM   #8
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.I have been an Auto Technician for the past 40 years . It has given me a good living . I agree with the other posts here. I would get the education You can always study photography on the side and switch if and/ or when the time comes.
QuoteOriginally posted by bigted Quote
Just one more thing... ALWAYS KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN... You never know where the road will take you!
+1

08-05-2012, 08:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
Thanks guys, this was helpful. I will continue on with my automotive technician program =)
I think that is a wise decision. You may not have to be (or want to be) an automotive technician for your entire life but professions like that have multiple advantages over being a professional photographer. One advantage is the recession-proof nature of autos always needing repairs and maintenance. In fact, professions like that actually benefit from recessionary times because fewer people purchase new vehicles during those (these) times and their old vehicles break and need repairs. If money is an issue you would likely benefit from having full time work all the time. I think that there are very few and far between professional photographers that can say recessions don't adversely affect their businesses. Also, if you are good at it, you might get to work on some really cool and/or exotic vehicles.

I am not big into giving life philosophy advice, but I always tell younger people that I work with that they shouldn't let their job/work/profession get in the way of their life plans. If you want to travel, have a family, etc. you should do it regardless of anything else. I have seen a lot of people in my generation put off doing things like that because of work related issues. Later they find that they are either too old to accomplish their personal goals, or too old to enjoy them if they achieve them.

Good luck.
08-05-2012, 11:41 AM   #10
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Thanks for the help you guys, however I need one more help. I only need to buy one book which costs total of $130. My tools will cost around $4,000 (at least someone told me this is how much they had to pay for tools while they were in automotive technician courses, don't know whether to believe them or not). How do I fill this out? What does less estimated financial aid mean? I have a total of a little over $9,000 in grants and loans combined.


Last edited by LeDave; 08-05-2012 at 11:52 AM.
08-05-2012, 03:31 PM   #11
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If you have $9K in grants and aid, you should be all set. BTW: just so you know, $4k for tools is just a starting point. It would cost me well over $30k to replace mine.
08-06-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lammie200 Quote
I am not big into giving life philosophy advice, but I always tell younger people that I work with that they shouldn't let their job/work/profession get in the way of their life plans. If you want to travel, have a family, etc. you should do it regardless of anything else. I have seen a lot of people in my generation put off doing things like that because of work related issues. Later they find that they are either too old to accomplish their personal goals, or too old to enjoy them if they achieve them.

I have one thing I would add ,and highly recommend.... When you start working ,as soon as possible start a retirement account of some source and religiously contribute to it. You will reach the age of retirement faster than you can ever imagine.
08-06-2012, 07:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
If you have $9K in grants and aid, you should be all set. BTW: just so you know, $4k for tools is just a starting point. It would cost me well over $30k to replace mine.

But I'm sure that most of that has been built up over many years.



As a first year apprentice/student it's likely that you'll only need a decent set of spanners and sockets to start with. You'll probably be doing basic oil changes etc at the beginning, which doesn't require any special tools.
08-06-2012, 11:36 PM   #14
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I've been turning wrenches for over 40 years and my skills are still very much in demand. I'm in the heavy duty transportation end of the business and I specialize in Transport Refrigeration equipment. So few people are entering the field today that it has been predicted that in a decade or 2, skilled mechanics will be making more money and be in higher demand than doctors. Something for you to consider. Still, I know your agony as I was once a young man who also wanted to be a photographer. I made a little money. Very little. At 22, I also had a wife, one daughter and the second on the way. One of the worse days of my life was when I had to sell all the camera gear I had worked hard and saved for to pay for medical bills for one of the girls.

I enjoy working on the trucks. I am much better suited working for a private fleet as my customer service skills aren't very good. Bad attitude. That probably world have caused problems in the photography business far more than auto/truck repair so I probably made the right decision. I eventually had 3 girls and they all went on to college and I'm now seriously considering retirement as it has taken a toll on me physically. Tools are something you will have to buy. Don't get sucked in to the Snap On trap. Buy the essentials at Sears or Harbor Freight. Don't give up on photography either. You can do both. You don't have 3 mouths to feed.
08-09-2012, 08:30 PM   #15
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What Reeftool said. A good auto tech a couple years ago here could make $95-140K a year. You would be hard pressed to do that with photo skills in a relatively short time. I would suggest you master mechanics and you can do the photo stuff on the side and improve your skills as you go. Techs do burn out or drop out due to physical issues namely backs and such. If you reach that point, photography can take over for you. A good tech can have a job most anywhere, they are always looking.

An interesting change is happening and that is on-line training. It would seem that this specialty also holds some promise for technical mechanical skills as well as video presence. I bumped into an old friend doing this for a very large restaurant chain. Providing video training for food preparation within the international chain. The same need is there for mechanical systems by manufactures. Kind of combines both skills.

Good luck
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