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school vs. shop

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by billytschopshop, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. billytschopshop
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 121

    from denver

    its been a while since i posted so can someone give me an opinion, well i am 25 in the army get out in 7 months, i am thinking about going to wyotech for collision repair and hotrod. but at the same time i think i just wanna try and get a job at a school and learn like the old schoolers did from the people before them and so on. its kinda like tattooing you dont go to school for it you work from the bottom up, but my biggest thing is i have a family a wife and a kid, so going to school is going to be hard, and getting a job it hard to, now i dont have much experience except what i have learned from doing and the tips and tricks and hints i have received from my father in law who has been doing this for about 40 yrs, so and advice on what to do, please dont hesitate to answer.
  2. Well I'm not big on mechanics school. I didn't learn that way and I know that when you get out you still start at the bottom. Never the less we live in a sheep skin world so maybe it is a good starting place.

    You might consider a UAW apprenticeship. Best of both worlds as far as i see. or maybe you can make friends with someone with a known rod shop that will take you under their wing.
  3. billytschopshop
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 121

    from denver

    what is UAW apprenticeship?
  4. You sure you want to work on other peoples cars all day for a living? It's hard to get a job working on hot rods only. You may end up doing tune ups on Toyotas. May sour you on the hobby.
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  5. autobodyed
    Joined: Mar 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,945

    from shelton ct

    first of all, thanks for your service. does your father in-law still do this? maybe he or a friend can get your foot in the door, so to speak. even after school you still have to start at the bottom.
  6. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    from Kansas

    It's a catch 22 scenario. You don't go to school and get your degree and then have no chance out there. You go to school, get the degree or certificate and have no experience. I myself am self taught, with sprinkling of knowledge from good people that know their stuff. If you can get the experience and the schooling from wyotech or some other tech institute, then secure a decent job, then on your spare time get more schooling, I would think that would be the best case.

    My daughter just got her degree in business and did it while she works. I am a very proud father, in both her sticking to it, and taking my advice and getting the degree.

    Think it over carefully and talk to good people in the business choice of yours.
  7. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 5,157


    UAW - United Auto Workers

    Googled it and there are a bunch of apprenticeship programs. Being a veteran (thanks for that!) could really help you get into one.

  8. United Auto Workers. Its a union with excellent benifits. Its like joining the boiler makers or the iron workers you pay your dues and they give you the training that you need. It takes a while but eventually you get a journeyman's card.

    If you were an assembly line worker any place but saturn you would be a UAW member. But they don't just work in factories. My dad was a UAW member starting after the war. He was an automotive machinist and an induction specialist. But as far as the union was concerned he was a master mechanic. Even when he was in business for himself he kept up his union dues so he always had health insurance, and ended up with a pretty good retirement.

    I still wish I had joined the union. But I didn't see the point when I was young I already knew how to wrench one and never had any trouble finding work. Now I'm older and have nothing to fall back on but social security. Not complaining I wouldn't change a damned thing but I could be setting better if I had followed the Ol' Man into the union.

    Ok this is starting to sound political, sorry fellas. :eek:
  9. billytschopshop
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 121

    from denver

    YES he does still do it, but he is in dallas and i really wanna do it in denver.
  10. jakesbackyard
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 653

    from ND
    1. Upholstery

  11. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,008

    from Atl Ga

    Go to school.
    Just for conversation, say the classes are a year. You'll have a year of LEARNING how to do something specific every single day.
    If you go to a shop and try to learn "old school" by watching other guys, you're not going to be of much use to that shop, so they'll give you the shit jobs of taking things apart, parts runs, sweeping the floor, etc.
    After a year there, what do you think your knowledge base will be? You'll be able to sweep a mean floor, but will you be able to tig weld?

    School isn't the end-all/be-all, but it IS a good place to get a LOT of very useful knowledge in a relatively short period of time.

    As was said, you'll still be starting at the bottom once you get out, but you'll be worth more to a shop.

    If you plan on opening your own shop some day, make sure you take some business classes. Once you open a shop, you're no longer a hot rod builder, you're a businessman making a widget. Your widget will be hot rods.

  12. I've done it in Denver before. That whole mile high thing is way over rated.

    Oh you're talking about wrenching I got a little off track there.:D:D
  13. VNTGE41
    Joined: Mar 4, 2007
    Posts: 737

    from l.a.

    going to school will help get you in the door, but youll still start from the bottom. just as others have said,your best bet is some type of apprenticeship . sometimes there are paid apprenticeships, but not very likely
  14. orange52
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 451


    Hopefully you have the Army College fund, or whatever the current equivalent is. If you have it, use it. Get an AA, BA, or ??.
    If nothing else, it tells potential employers that you're motivated, willing to learn, and can be trained.
    Good luck!
  15. 59mercsled
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 161


    Find a local vo-tech and use your G.I. bill to pay to go at nights. Then work during the day as a parts runner for a local aut parts store. S then you are getting your certs. you need and establishing a basis with some of the local shops, and you can still support your family.
  16. billytschopshop
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 121

    from denver

    have you guys ever heard of the hot rod institute? is it worth it going to it over wyotech, granted its ll hot rod there and wyotech you learn other skills.
  17. Joe Johnston
    Joined: Jun 29, 2008
    Posts: 127

    Joe Johnston
    from Ohio

    I vote for some sort of school or on the job training, because as mentioned in an earlier post, it is indeed a sheepskin world. I am a college graduate ('72) with a degree in business admin and was very fortunate at the time to get a job with GM. They weren't hiring at the time and the degree was the only thing that got me in with the intention to work in their supervisory training program beginning in a few weeks after starting. I worked in their foundry for a couple of years (never did join the salaried work force) and became a Pattern Maker apprentice. Had to take a small pay cut to become an apprentice, but that was for only 6 months. The apprenticeship was approximately 4 years with specified courses to study and specified hours spent on various aspects of the trade. Good job, pay, benefits, clean(er) environment and a job that taught a tremendous amount. Something I have been very thankful for. Retired at 53 from a CAD/CAM job in and air conditioned office inside an air conditioned machine shop with access to all the machinery you could imagine. Had to take many courses over the years and never stopped learning. Jobs are hard to find, good jobs even harder, and if you don't have a decade of documented experience, you need an education either from a 4 year degree program or a vocational school before any one will even consider your resume in a stack of a hundred.

    Good luck and thank you very much for serving our country!
  18. demonspeed
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 517


    If you do decide to go to school I would personally pick a school like wyotech which teaches auto repair and hot rodding over a place that only teaches hot rod stuff. I went to wyotech saying I only wanted to work on hot rods and that I'd never work in a dealership. After working on hot rods for 8 hours a day at wyotech and seeing the salaries that hot rod shops pay my mind changed. Now I work as a technician at a dealership. Hot rodding for a living may not be as fun as it looks. It is legitimately VERY hard work, which takes a lot of patience and natural talent. Also unless your name is jesse james or chip foose you most likely wont make shit for money. Most the hot rod shops that recruited at wyotech were offering $8 an hour starting pay. I made more than that in high school at my first job. So you'll probably work on other people's sweet hot rods all day and then drive home in a p.o.s. corrolla or somethin lol

    Basically just make sure you have something to fall back on in case you change your mind. I swore on my life I would do whatever it took to work on hot rods and that I would never fix street cars for a living when I was 18, but now i'm glad i made the decision I made.
  19. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,755


    What about staying in the military and making a career out of that? Retire relatively young with a decent pension and then do cars just for fun.

    To me, that might be your best long term plan.
  20. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    You got a family to support,thats no.1 Have you considered staying in the service for now,reup take the reup bonus,talk to your C.O. and see how you can get into transportation ,the ARMY does do their own body work and repairs and you can learn the trade and still have the security and benefits for your family.The way the economy has gone to hell don"t throw your money away on schools because the jobs are not out there like they were before.Its your life dude,but don"t lose what you have now on a chance move.
  21. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,380


    School = a systematic learning approach grounded in the fundamentals of why things are done the way they are. OJT = hit & miss learning of others bad habits and wrong or incomplete information. my $0.02
  22. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,519


    I made a BIG MISTAKE as a youth in high school in the early 1970s. I really liked cars and car racing. Even had ideas of being a midget race car driver. So, I took auto mechanics class for a year. I found the subject matter very dry and I just could not get motivated to learn about the car at a higher level. I WAS WRONG!!! I blame myself. I never raced anything and all I can do today is watch people who have built a custom car themselves today, wishing I could as well. GET THE EDUCATION. Learn about the car from bumper to bumper. You will be happier decades from now.
  23. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,529


    I have to agree with the "stay in the Army" then retire early crowd. If you joined when you were 18 you could retire with a decent pension at 38 with good skills and health.

    Otherwise consider going to a good welding and fabricating school. You will need those skills if you do build Hot Rods anyway.
  24. This(as well as the others who said the same) is probably the best advise there is. And buy a house as soon as possible. Wouldn't it be nice to retire, with a house with a garage, but no house note, at 40?
  25. BCR
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,263


    Are you sure you want to work for $10 per hour to start out in a hot rod shop after school.

    Not trying to be negative. Just asking
  26. E HANSEN13
    Joined: Aug 2, 2009
    Posts: 503

    E HANSEN13

    This is just what i'm doing bro .Im a shop hand and I get to build my hot rod and learn from all the guys at the shop. You just take care of yourself overseas for the next 7 months bro good luck....
  27. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,536

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    If I could do life all over again I would not be a plumber. This is what I would do.

    I would specialize in the automotive field, pick something that fewer of these guys are good at.
    Take a long hard serious look at interiors, stitching, upholstery, there are a few guys on here that are good but generally most of these guys send their upholstery out.
    Pro paint, there are some real good painters on here and the better they are the more money they make, I would specialize in paint and strive to become a legend.
    Metal fabricator, Marcel is getting older, he always seemed to be busy, I would say there could never be too many Marcels in the world.
    I would also pursue a minor in business, it makes it a lot easier to get loans and make connections to run a shop later if you take care of this now.
  28. Hightone111
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 307


    I work at a Nissan dealership. I have seen a number of dudes come out of schools like this thinking they know it all and end up jobless. I started in a shop and went to school part time a few years later. Didn't learn a damn thing, I was helping teach actually. IMO start in a shop and only do the schooling that is required/paid for.
  29. LaidoutRivi63
    Joined: Apr 21, 2009
    Posts: 193


    My buddy took the auto body and hot rod UTI course about 4-5 years back. He know runs the body shop at M & M paint and body in Riverside here at age 22 or 23. Now thats not only because of school, but it gave him a good start, and finding that job after he was certified was tough, not everyone wants a green, less-experience graduate. took him prolly a year of job hunting after school. He was lucky enough to have the owner of M & M give him a chance to prove himself, now he is set! He has mean skills too though. If you can turn the education into real world skills, then it can be a really useful tool.
  30. AnimalAin
    Joined: Jul 20, 2002
    Posts: 3,417


    First task: Figure out what it will take to fulfill your immediate responsibilities to your family. Even as a veteran (by the way, thanks for your service), the current job market is tough.

    Second task: Figure out how to assemble a skillset so you can work in a job that makes you smile more often than it makes you cry, and still make enough money to meet the responsibilities mentioned above.

    Third task: Figure out how you are going to get closer to your long term goals. Where do you want to be in twenty years? Forty? When you are in your twenties, this stuff seems a long way away. Trust me, it happens way sooner than you might think, and without a plan, you are just along for the ride.

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