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How Brandon Jurasin Went From Pre-Med to Auto Tech

"Employment Assistance services also teaches you how to interview and how to present yourself, how to sit up straight, what to wear, how to dress for the job you want. It really helps a lot."

 

When he graduated high school in Oradell, New Jersey, Brandon Jurasin had a college scholarship and planned on going the pre-med route. He headed to school but as he took classes, he wasn't enjoying himself. He thought maybe it was the college, so he transferred, but something was still wrong.

Needing an outlet from traditional college, Brandon started working on cars for his friends and people around town for a side job. Something clicked for Brandon that the automotive industry was more his speed.

“Even though I was going from pre-med to an automotive technician, no matter how big of a jump that looked, everybody still supported me,” Brandon says. He finished his Associate's degree, but decided to attend Universal Technical Institute (UTI) to pursue a career in the automotive field instead.

“I'm much happier now,” Brandon says. “I don't have to be in college until I'm 32. I'm only 23, and I've been working in the field for 2 years now.”

Brandon is an automotive technician at BMW of Tenafly in New Jersey, working on jobs ranging from simple services like oil changes and filter replacements, to heavy engine removal, replacement and repair.

“It's always something new,” Brandon says. “You never have the same problem with the same car. The problems don't know what the book says was supposed to go wrong, so you always have something new to diagnose.”

How He Got Here

Before Brandon attended UTI in Exton, Pennsylvania, he approached several dealerships and asked them what schools were recommended. He noticed that all schools, but especially the higher-end luxury brand dealerships, focused on UTI.

Brandon headed to UTI and completed the Automotive Technology Program and then finished the Ford Accelerated Credential Training (FACT) Program. He says he enjoyed the manufacturer-specific advanced training (MSAT) because the class sizes were smaller, and the curriculum was a bit more flexible, diving into electrical diagnosis. Completing the FACT Program helped Brandon advance to where he is.

“With today's cars, everything is electrical,” Brandon says. “When I took that program, I was able to get accepted into the BMW STEP program a lot easier. When it came down to it, I noticed a lot of opportunities I had because of Ford FACT, because I was already advanced within electrical.”

He then enrolled in the BMW Service Technician Education Program (STEP), a manufacturer-paid training. Before he was set to graduate in the fall of 2016, he emailed the service manager at BMW Tenafly regularly, trying to get a job at the dealership. He didn't receive a response, so one weekend he drove there and introduced himself in person. He landed an interview on the spot.

“He had so much respect for me for what I did, he said, 'When you graduate, you will have a job waiting,'” Brandon says. Now he works with several co-workers who also went through the BMW STEP program.

Benefits of BMW STEP

When Brandon came out of the BMW STEP program, he was already a Level III technician for BMW, a step above apprentice-level. Brandon says it can take up to 4 years to become a Level III technician, but he's already testing for Level II technician status in just 2 years on the job.

“Within the BMW STEP program, you truly learn everything about the cars, everything about the new models coming in, and that's what puts you ahead of new techs, is that you already have the knowledge,” Brandon says.

Brandon adds, “When you come in, you're ready to work on these cars. A big thing for BMW is their computer programs. Without the training at STEP, you're kind of lost, you're kind of asking everybody how to work it and what are the little pathways and tricks and quirks in it. With the STEP program, I never had to ask that. They put me to work right away because I already had that knowledge.”

Tips for Other Aspiring Technicians

Even though Brandon was confident in his decision to attend UTI, he had his challenging moments. One area where he initially had limited knowledge was electrical. For UTI students who are facing their own tough subjects, Brandon shares how he got through.

“When I walked in to my first electrical class, I was really scared, but I knew if I really studied, I would start to get the hang of it,” Brandon says. “That’s what I did. I asked all the stupid questions nobody wanted to ask because I didn't know it, and I needed to know it. It worked out because by the time I was done, I was fine with it.”

Brandon still talks with several of his instructors today. He says his teachers at UTI were eager to help students with whatever they needed, including exploring career path possibilities.

Brandon says another benefit of attending UTI was learning about mechanics and shortcuts that have helped him work on cars more efficiently. For technicians working on a flat rate system, those sort of skills enable you to make more money on the job.

Besides the comfortable financial living Brandon is making, he says going to UTI also saved him valuable time in having to attend school for a subject he wasn't passionate about.

“UTI teaches you life lessons as well as educational points” Brandon says. “I think and believe it's definitely a better route for a lot of people rather than going to college and not being able to find a job. This industry is looking for people every day and needs an abundance of people.”

Brandon adds that with the automotive industry becoming further entrenched in electronics, having a formal educational background helps technicians better navigate their work.

Consider an MSAT Course

Brandon also says pursuing a brand-focused elective can help you have more fun in your career and potentially increase your earnings as you learn more about the brand.

When you're ready to start looking for a job, tap into UTI's Employment Assistance services, which can help you create an effective résumé, just like the help Brandon received.

“It was easy for BMW Tenafy to pick me up without a question,” Brandon says. “It showed all my achievements, everything I learned, and they were able to know right from there all the knowledge I had.”

Brandon adds, “Employment Assistance services also teaches you how to interview and how to present yourself, how to sit up straight, what to wear, how to dress for the job you want. It really helps a lot.”

If you're interested in pursuing an automotive career, contact UTI

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