From Playing Car Video Games to Working on Cars in Real Life

"The best advice I’d give to someone is to work hard and pay attention, attendance is a huge thing. I never missed one day."

Lots of kids play video games featuring cars in them. For Tony Causey, that was his first taste of what would become his future career, as he now works as a technician at Audi Northlake in North Carolina. He works on a variety of car issues that come in, making for a job that’s never boring and that’s always new and exciting.

Tony’s interest in cars grew from video games to working on his own car as a teenager. He thought he might go to the military after high school, but after a change of heart, the North Carolina resident decided to enroll at NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina. Tony started an entry-level porter job at Audi Northlake while he was in school at NTI, working on the same vehicles professionally as the ones he was learning about in the classroom.

Tony says that type of real-world experience was an amazing complement to his time as a student. It helped him to better understand the things he was studying and put his studies to work in a real-world environment.

“If you can, get a job in a shop, because it really helps you apply the knowledge better,” Tony, who graduated NASCAR Tech in 2017, suggests to other students. “You’re learning it at school, and if you’re in a good shop, they’ll let you apply it at work. Then you can really, really learn it.”

Pushing Farther Past the Basics

At NASCAR Tech, Tony went through the core Automotive Technology Program, which teaches students how to become entry-level technicians in places like dealerships and independent shops. The program takes less than a year to complete, with instruction from teachers who have decades of years of real-life experience. Students master industry technical skills like:

  • Vehicle electronic technology
  • How to use tools like handheld scanners, oscilloscopes and multimeters to diagnose vehicle components
  • Automotive engines service and repair
  • Automotive power/performance tuning and emissions repair
  • Vehicle brake systems

After the core program, Tony was interested in going farther with his education. He enrolled in the Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) Ford Accelerated Credential Training (FACT) Program. The 15-week program teaches students authorized Ford Motor Company technician training, putting students on the path to Master Technician status.

Tony says the FACT Program helped him learn how to work in a dealership and master electrical skills. He says the cars he works on are very, very complicated, so completing the FACT Program was a good starting point that gave him the tools he needed to succeed in the industry.

Why Tony Loves Working in the Automotive Industry

Tony says the biggest reason why he loves working on cars today is that every day is different and interesting. It’s always a surprise to see what new tickets come through. The work is never monotonous, always challenging and always fun.

For those who are interested in pursuing an automotive career like Tony, get in touch with NASCAR Technical Institute and Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Employment Assistance representatives. That department alerted Tony about the job opening at Audi Northlake. Representatives help students all over the country find employment in areas they want to work, too.

UTI schools and NASCAR Tech also partner with dealerships and shops for future technicians events, like one Tony attended at his dealership. Check out a campus career fair to connect with employers, too.

Also, while you’re in school, Tony advises to make the most of the classroom experience.

“The best advice I’d give to someone is to work hard and pay attention,” Tony says. “Attendance is a huge thing. I never missed one day.”

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a professional automotive technician, request information from UTI.


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