If you are a current college student looking for a career in the automotive industry, visit our Cars and Jobs board for both co-op and apprenticeship opportunities. You can also visit your program's office or career services team to explore these opportunities, get connected with recruiting dealers and get valuable advice on perfecting your resume and cover letters.
If you are exploring post-secondary education, see the automotive programs offered at Ontario colleges.
Don’t know where to start?
Learn more about automotive industry careers in our comprehensive list below:
AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE & TECHNICAL
A Service Technician is a person that carries out the maintenance and repairs on a customer’s vehicle. Gone are the days of the “dirty job” image of technicians. Today, they are a combination of diagnosticians, engineers, electricians, and computer programmers, based on how quickly vehicle technology is changing. Many college programs in the automotive industry include apprenticeship and co-op terms that involve working and reporting to a professional Service Technician or manager.
In Ontario, Service Technician programs are available at:
Algonquin College, Ottawa
Collège Boréal, Sudbury
Cambrian College, Sudbury
Centennial College, Toronto
Conestoga College, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo
Confederation College, Thunder Bay
Durham College, Whitby/Oshawa
Fanshawe College, London
Loyalist College, Belleville
Mohawk College, Hamilton
Northern College, Timmins
Sault College, Sault Ste. Marie
St. Clair College, Windsor
St. Lawrence College, Cornwall/Brockville
When a customer comes into a dealership with either a problem or for scheduled maintenance, they will often speak first with a Service Advisor. The Advisor will look for and address any concerns, retrieve the customer’s profile to look at their service and maintenance history and, if needed, will offer service suggestions based upon the customer’s profile.
At most dealerships, the Service Advisor is a former Service Technician who is familiar with the business and has worked in that role for some time - displaying excellent communication and customer service skills.
An Automotive Service Advisor Certificate is available at Centennial College in Toronto.
An Autobody Technician carries out repairs on the body (exterior and chassis) of the vehicle. Today’s vehicles are complex and must adhere to strict safety and environmental regulations, making the job more challenging, but also more exciting.
The Autobody Technician may often specialize in either repair or painting. While still a very “hands on” role, the Autobody Technician must be able to efficiently absorb their research on parts and techniques, in addition to consulting external resources to achieve maximum productivity.
In Ontario, Autobody Technician programs are available at:
Centennial College, Toronto
Fanshawe College, London
Parts Manager, Parts Consultant, and Parts Counter Sales
Parts Managers play key roles in a dealership’s service division. For any service department to run smoothly, parts need to be ordered and on-hand for repairs and maintenance to be completed in a timely and efficient manner. A Parts Manager must have strong knowledge of common brand-specific maintenance requirements, and be a highly organized individual.
The Parts Consultant is the individual tasked with sourcing the necessary parts, ensuring that repairs are completed both on time and on budget. In support, the Parts Counter Sales team are the people in the service department that handle retail product sales, third party and aftermarket products, as well as branded apparel, and accessories.
In many dealerships, the Parts Manager is an individual who has gained experience in the business and has demonstrated a strong aptitude for organization and management.
A Detailer is responsible for completing all vehicle clean-ups prior to a client taking ownership of their new vehicle. This includes both a full interior and exterior cleaning.
Many dealerships also offer full detailing packages for customers who wish to have their vehicle cleaned and polished following maintenance and service.
A Detailer can come from any educational background if they are detail oriented and have an aptitude for thoroughness.
In Ontario, an Automotive Detailing Certificate is available at Centennial College in Toronto.
MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
Fixed Operations Manager
In larger dealerships, the Fixed Operations Manager will oversee all operations of the Service Department, including service, parts, and auto body. The Fixed Operations Manager will be the direct report of all of these specific managers.
A Service Manager oversees all operations within a dealership’s service department. The Service Manager reports on service advisors, technicians, appointment coordinators, staff involved in lube & oil, and service bay cleaning.
Both Service Managers and Fixed Operations Managers can come from any education background. Individuals assigned to these roles have usually worked in the service area for a number of years and have demonstrated their ability to effectively manage time and staff.
Within the automotive industry, there are several titles associated with “General Manager.” Depending on the size and scope of the dealership, the General Manager may be the individual who oversees all areas of the business and reports directly to the Dealer Principal. In other dealerships, the General Manager may also be the Dealer Principal.
As with many management roles, the ideal candidate can come from any education background if they possess the correct skillset and aptitude for management - of both people and products. A General Manager may also gain their position by working within various areas of the dealership and working their way up in the business.
For those specifically interested in a career as an automotive dealership Manager, check out the Automotive Business School of Canada in Barrie.
A Controller is a member of the dealership’s senior management team and will most commonly hold a university degree and a Chartered Accountant or Certified General Accountant designation.
The Controller oversees the entire financial scope of the dealership, from budgeting and financing to taxation and investment management.
Finance & Insurance Manager (F&I)
The F&I Manager plays an integral role within the dealership, arranging for suitable financing, insurance, warranties, protection packages, and purchase agreements for customers. The role is often also referred to as a Business Manager.
As in every office setting with complex operations, an Office Manager is required to ensure smooth operation on a day-to-day basis. Office Managers from any industry will find that their skillset transfers perfectly to the Automotive Retail environment.
Additional Administrative roles within a dealership setting include Business Development Team Members, Accounts Payable, Marketing Managers and Team Members, Receptionists/Greeters, and Product Specialists.
Individuals from a variety of educational background can fill these roles. Candidates typically possess applicable university degrees or college diplomas and display a love for the automotive industry.
For questions on colleges, programs or careers in the auto industry, please contact us at any time.