Becoming a Nascar Technician: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons to becoming a NASCAR technician? Is it worth the education requirements? Check out real job descriptions and get the truth about career outlook and salary info to find out if becoming a NASCAR technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons to Becoming a NASCAR Technician

Automotive technicians for NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, have the opportunity to work in a well-known industry on the cars that race drivers operate. Find out some of the pros and cons to becoming a NASCAR technician to decide if this career is right for you.

PROS to Becoming a NASCAR Technician
NASCAR technicians get to be a part of a beloved business*
Minimal postsecondary educational requirements (Optional NASCAR technician program can be completed in 1-2 years)*
Variety of job options (Under-car pit mechanic, race shop technician, front end mechanic, engine tuner)*
Unique work environment on NASCAR racetracks*
Travel opportunities (NASCAR events are held across the country)*

CONS to Becoming a NASCAR Technician
Keen job competition due to positions at NASCAR being highly coveted amongst automobile technicians*
Limited career openings. Although NASCAR is a huge industry, only a certain number of technicians are required*
May have to network in order to find and secure a position*
Might have to relocate to North Carolina (Over 80% of NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are located in Charlotte, NC)**
Automobile technicians often see overtime, weekend and evening work hours*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Career Info

Job Description and Duties

As a NASCAR technician, you have the same duties as an automobile technician would. You're responsible for a racecar's condition. The steering, braking and engine cooling are just some of the things under your jurisdiction. When you're working on a racecar, you'll test the different parts of the vehicle to ensure everything is operational. If you diagnose a problem, you'll repair the issue. Typically, these problems are detected before or after a race, but sometimes you'll be required to work on a car that gets pulled in the middle of a race. You'll keep records of all the parts you use and all the changes you make to a racecar. This is done to keep a log of all changes and events for other NASCAR technicians to reference.

You can choose to work at the racetrack or in the race shop. Mechanics who travel with the team might focus on one area of the car, such as the front end or under car. As an under-car specialist, you'll concentrate on the engine and transmission. If you work as a mechanic in the race shop, you'll focus on getting cars ready for each race. These professionals are specialized, and also might work on only one part of the car, performing specific tasks like suspension or chassis adjustments.

Salary Information

While salary data specific to NASCAR technicians isn't available, automobile service technicians and mechanics for all industries made around $39,980 on average annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Automotive service technicians who were in the top ten percentile of wage estimates earned upwards of $62,280. The top paying states for automotive service technicians were New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Alaska and Massachusetts. The BLS predicted an average job growth of 5% for the decade of 2014-2024.

Vocational Requirements

Education and Training

The BLS reports that most employers, including NASCAR race teams, seek technicians with postsecondary education. Many vocational and technical schools along with community colleges offer automobile technology programs. These programs can last from six months to two years depending on the degree. You might acquire an educational certificate or an associate's degree.

You can also find specialized NASCAR technician training. These programs offer you the chance to study chassis fabrication, finish fabrication, aerodynamics and advanced fabrication. You'll also learn about NASCAR equipment, rules and safety procedures by studying to be part of a pit crew.

Useful Skills and Certification

To work as a mechanic in NASCAR or in other industries, you'll need strong customer service skills, including the ability to listen to a customer's maintenance or repair concerns. You'll also need to know how to troubleshoot a variety of vehicle systems and be able to take apart and put back together various car parts, such as engines. Industry-specific certifications are generally required of a mechanic once they've obtained a job, according to the BLS. You can acquire National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification for working on cars and light duty trucks in several areas, including engine repair, suspension and steering, brakes and automatic transmissions.

What Are Employers Looking For?

The BLS reports that entry into a NASCAR position can often depend on who you know. You might have to be willing to work in non-racing positions to gain experience before seeking a career with a NASCAR team. You could also find employment with small racetracks or teams not affiliated with NASCAR. Employers of mechanics seek applicants who can perform diagnostics and solve mechanical problems. Some teams ask that you have a driver's license and the ability to pass a background check or drug test. Check out the job postings below to find out what real employers were looking for in applicants in April 2012.

  • In California, a retail automobile business wanted technicians with at least three certifications from the ASE. Duties of the position included diagnosing and repairing brakes, exhaust systems or air conditioning systems.
  • A Maryland automobile technician opening at a dealership was available for applicants with at least one year of experience and a clean driving record. ASE certification was required.
  • A wheel repair company in Florida was looking for a technician who owns a pickup truck that can pull a trailer. They wanted a mechanically inclined employee who could interact easily with customers and pass a drug test.

How To Stand Out?

Consider Relocation

If you want to work for a NASCAR team, you might have to relocate. The BLS reports that most NASCAR shops are located in North Carolina, near the Charlotte area. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, you can also find several smaller racetracks in the state, where you might be able to acquire experience before finding a job in NASCAR.

Establish Connections

Possessing connections with existing NASCAR technicians or people employed by NASCAR can help you find employment. If you're familiar with the history of the sport, that knowledge can help you stand apart from other applicants who're unfamiliar with NASCAR. Internship opportunities with NASCAR race teams could be another way you can get your foot into the door.

Other Career Choices

Motorcycle Mechanic

If you like mechanic work, but aren't sure a job with NASCAR is for you, you might consider other options. If you want to work on motorcycles instead of automobiles; you could become a motorcycle mechanic. You'll perform many of the same duties that an automobile technician would. You'll examine a motorcycle, conduct routine maintenance, replace or fix any broken parts and keep regular records of these inspections. Most motorcycle mechanics work for dealerships. The BLS in May 2011 reported that motorcycle mechanics made roughly $34,000 on average annually.

Automotive Body and Glass Repairer

If you want to work on the outside of cars rather than the inside, consider becoming an automotive body and glass repairer. After examining a report of the damage a car has sustained, you'll plan your work and create a cost estimate for the client. From there, you'll remove damaged parts and replace them. In some cases, you might just be able to repair the damage done to a vehicle without replacing it. Additionally, you might refurbish an automobile's surfaces and create a new finish for the car. In May 2011, the BLS reported that the average yearly salary for automobile glass installers and repairers was roughly $34,000.

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