With technology at our fingertips and machinery that's becoming more advanced, the need for a more skilled, high-tech workforce is crucial. Paired with trade-school trends that require formal training, mechanics continue to be in demand for their expert services.
Fortunately, the need for mechanics and technicians means that there are scholarships out there to support your higher education training. In addition to automotive and aviation scholarships that The Scholarship Coach has featured in the past, there are some more varied awards for those that dream of fixing the machinery that keeps the world moving.
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One of best places to start your scholarship search is at the school you're interested in or planning to attend. The Universal Technical Institute lists more than 30 scholarships and grants on its foundation website for students who plan on studying at a UTI campus.
From trucks to motor sports, there are a number of mechanic-related awards available. Some scholarships have to be used for a specific campus location, but others are more general, like the new Reaction Time Scholarship, a $1,000 award for students to attend any UTI/NASCAR Technical Institute campus.
The Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium offers a number of technician scholarships geared toward the automotive aftermarket, thanks to its network of more than 30 automotive aftermarket organizations – groups that specialize in services and sales of automotive parts. Simply fill out one application and it will be reviewed by all of the organizations where you meet qualifications.
Graduating high school seniors are eligible to apply, which includes an online scholarship application, at least one letter of recommendation and a 250-word essay on why the applicant believes he or she should receive a scholarship. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2014.
For aircraft lovers, the AMTSociety AMTScholarship Program ensures that "future aircraft maintenance technicians are recognized for their desire to enter into the skilled aircraft maintenance profession." The AMFA Scholarship, for example, is for students who want to pursue a professional aviation maintenance career.
Check the scholarship criteria before applying, as there are different eligibility requirements depending on the program. All scholarship programs require that applicants are members of AMTSociety. Although the deadline for 2014 winners has passed, be on the lookout for a new application cycle, as scholarships are awarded each year.
If the tour or travel industry piques your interest, check out the American Bus Association Foundation's George T. Snyder, Jr., Scholarship Program. It includes six different types of scholarship programs, both for association members and nonmembers.
The Peter L. Picknelly Honorary Scholarship specifically recognizes bus drivers or maintenance personnel or awards dependents of association members who work in these fields.
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If you're not a member of ABA, you can still apply for the Academic Merit Scholarship, which applies to any study related to transportation, travel or the tourism industry. All awards from ABA are given to full-time undergraduate students.
Along with national groups, local trade associations can be great resources for scholarships, too. For example, the Rocky Mountain Master Mechanic Association offers the Ernest Swinney Master Mechanic Scholarship – an award that's perfect if you're interested in studying mining-related technical, maintenance or field mechanics in the Rocky Mountain region.
Taking time to research awards from both large and small programs could pay off, and every little bit helps.
Carissa Chang joined Scholarship America in 2013. She is an alumna of Taylor University and a former scholarship recipient.