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Being a Female Auto Mechanic: What’s It Like?

Jul 30, 2021 ·

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When you picture an auto mechanic, what comes to mind? At first thought, you might not picture 20-year-old Liz Rocha.

How many female mechanics are there? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up only 9% of those employed in the automotive repair and maintenance industry in 2020. When looking across all fields, this industry is among those with the largest difference in the number of men versus women.

While female auto mechanics are small in number, their contributions are significant. Across the United States, we see powerful women working as technicians in a variety of industries, from automotive and diesel to motorcycle, marine and welding. Here at UTI, we’ve had the honor of helping train incredible women to pursue careers in these fields — with Liz among them.1

With female auto techs being a rarity, you might be wondering, “What’s it like to be a female auto mechanic?” Keep reading to hear from Liz and several other NASCAR Tech and UTI grads on what it’s like to be a woman in the industry.

Choosing the Nontraditional Path

A passion for cars and racing was first sparked in Liz when she was just 3 years old. She grew up watching NASCAR and dreamed of one day working in the industry.

When she heard about NASCAR Technical Institute, Liz immediately scheduled a tour to see the campus with her parents. Upon arriving, she was wowed by what she saw. “My parents saw a sparkle in my eye when I saw everything NASCAR Tech was about,” she shares.

With Liz being from New York, going to NASCAR Tech meant having to relocate to Mooresville, North Carolina. The transition wasn’t easy at first, but with the support of her instructors and the community she found on campus, she adjusted to her new home and excelled in her automotive training.

Choosing a career in the auto industry is considered a nontraditional path for many — but this was especially the case for Liz being a woman. As she went through her training, she found herself to be the only woman in many of her classes.

While this brought on some nerves at first, it didn’t stop Liz from achieving her goals. Her classmates and instructors saw her determination and quickly caught on to the fact that she knew what she was doing.

“I wanted to prove that I could do just as much as the guys,” Liz shares.

Success Doesn’t Come Without Hard Work

During her time at NASCAR Tech, Liz stayed busy working as a technician for Volvo. Once she graduated, she began her search for a full-time job. Through a classmate, she ended up being connected with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), one of the largest organizations in NASCAR competition.

Working in NASCAR had been a longtime dream for Liz, so she decided to apply for an open position. In the process, she was up against five competitors, all of whom had more experience than she did. While this would have deterred many, Liz was confident in her skills and abilities due to her education from NASCAR Tech.24

Part of the application process involved completing a skills test. To no surprise, Liz passed it on her first try! She wowed the team at RCR and ended up landing the job as a finish fabricator. Now, she spends her days doing what she loves — working on cars and getting them ready to hit the racetrack.

“I love my job,” Liz shares. “I get to work on race cars, and not everyone gets to say that.”

Making History

When starting at RCR, Liz noticed she was the only woman working in the shop. What she didn’t know was that she was the first woman to ever work in the RCR shop in its 50-year history!

Getting into the automotive industry makes you strong and independent. We definitely need more females in the industry. We can do just as much as men.
Liz Rocha, NASCAR Tech grad

When her manager told her the news, Liz was blown away. “I was shocked, and I felt honored,” she shares. “It’s an emotion that’s indescribable … it’s something I never expected.”

Liz isn’t the only NASCAR Tech graduate who’s made history. Grads Madison Conrad and Caitlyn Brown recently joined Paretta Autosport, the first female-forward team to compete in the Indianapolis 500!

According to Madison, “Hard work gets noticed whether you’re male or female. That’s been my biggest motivator.”

Madison works full-time for Roush Yates Engines, and like Liz she was the first female to step into her role in the teardown department!

The success stories of female UTI grads don’t stop there. Veronica Anderson became the first female technician to work at Mercedes-Benz of Chicago!

Women Bring Something Special to the Industry

While women are few and far between in the automotive industry, they can bring a unique skill set that’s incredibly valuable in the workplace.

“Us females pay close attention to precision,” Liz shares. Attention to detail is incredibly important to be a successful technician, and it’s a quality many women have. Women are also very thorough, which is key to getting jobs done the right way.

While being an auto mechanic is often considered an uncommon career choice for women, it can be very rewarding.

“Getting into the automotive industry makes you strong and independent,” Liz shares. “We definitely need more females in the industry. We can do just as much as men.”

Advice for Aspiring Female Mechanics

Like many female techs, Liz had to overcome challenges when she started working in the field.

Many of the other techs at RCR weren’t used to working with a woman, so learning the new dynamic took time. Now, Liz has established great relationships with her coworkers, and they’re all more than happy to share their knowledge with one another to strengthen their abilities.

Liz’s advice for other women looking to break into the industry is simple: Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams.

“You’ll get a lot of noes before you get one yes, especially as a female,” she shares. “But no matter how many people tell you no, there’s always going to be that one person who will open the door for you.”

For Veronica, the key to succeeding as a woman in the industry is confidence.

“Females need to know they can do anything they set their minds to,” she says. “Don’t let anyone tear you down. Don’t let anything that someone says get in your head. You are great, and you should never think you shouldn’t be in this field.”

As you can see, women aren’t limited to what they can do when pursuing careers in the automotive industry. They play an important role in keeping vehicles on the road, and with the unique skills and talents they bring to the workforce, more of them are needed! UTI is proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our female grads and is looking forward to training many more in the years to come!

Train for a Career in the Auto Industry

Ready to get on track to a career in the automotive industry? UTI’s 51-week Automotive Technology program is available at campuses nationwide. To learn more, request information today to get in touch with an Admissions Representative.

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

24) NASCAR Technical Institute prepares graduates to work as entry-level automotive service technicians. Some graduates who take NASCAR-specific electives also may have job opportunities in racing-related industries. NASCAR Tech is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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