Working as an auto mechanic can be very rewarding, but there can be substantial costs involved before a mechanic gets her first job. A mechanic hopeful may have to pay to attend trade school, and she may have to buy her own tools. To allow more people to learn the mechanic trade, many schools and agencies provide grants to help students or established mechanics purchase the equipment they need to make a living. Some of these grants are given on a yearly basis while others are one-time awards.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students achieve their goals in the automotive repair field. Individuals interested in receiving future awards should check with the CREF or ask the administrators or financial aid officers of their school. Grants may vary, depending on which sponsors decide to participate and the value of the equipment they donate.
In 2011, ABRA Auto Body & Glass gave $1,000 tool grants to 16 students from across the country. The award winners were allowed to select tools from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation’s (NATEF) tool list.
GEICO, the national insurance company, partnered with the Collision Repair Education Foundation to provide these awards. Each student selected receives a $1,000 scholarship and $500 worth of tools.
Students who have completed at least one semester in a collision repair program are eligible to apply for this grant. In 2010, 17 students who demonstrated financial need received a 268-piece tool set and case to help them in their future endeavors. The value of the grant was $575, and the sets were awarded to students from several states.
Students enrolled in the Automotive Program at Walla Walla Community College are informed that the tools they need to complete their first year will cost between $600 and $1,300. Second-year students will need to spend another $800 to $1,500. Depending on the shop in which a mechanic works, he may need to purchase more tools and equipment to repair modern automobiles.