Automotive technician schools teach students everything they need to know to be successful on the job. Automotive technicians and mechanics provide basic inspection, maintenance and repair to light trucks and cars. Most automotive technicians work in well-lit and well-ventilated repair shops. These service techs often work with greasy tools and parts, but also fix automotive problems using computers.
Automotive technician salary is competitive and the job outlook is positive. The key to qualifying for these jobs is to successfully complete training provided by local or online automotive technician schools.
Automotive Technician Career at a Glance
|2015 Median Pay||$37,850 per year
$18.20 per hour
|Typical Entry-Level Education||Postsecondary nondegree award|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|On-the-job Training||Short-term on-the-job training|
|Number of Jobs, 2014||739,900|
|Job Outlook, 2014-24||5% (As fast as average)|
|Employment Change, 2014-24||39,100|
Recommended Automotive Technician Schools
Duties and Responsibilities
- Use computerized diagnostic equipment to identify and resolve problems;
- Plan work procedures using previous experience, charts, and technical manuals;
- Test systems and parts to ensure they functional correctly;
- Follow examination checklists to ensure no critical steps have been overlooked;
- Perform basic maintenance and vehicle care, including checking fluid levels, rotating tires, and changing oil;
- Replace or repair worn parts, such as wheel bearings, sensors, and brake pads;
- Perform repairs to customer and manufacturer specifications;
- Explain automotive repairs and problems to clients;
Automotive technician schools usually offer 6 month training programs. These programs offer intensive career preparation through hands-on practice and classroom education. Some schools may offer specific certification programs, such as engine performance specials or brake maintenance technician. Here are some other common service technician positions:
Automotive air-conditioning technicians repair and install air-conditioners and parts, such as controls, compressors, and condensers. These technicians must be certified and trained to handle refrigerants.
Brake technicians adjust brakes, diagnose brake system problems, replace brake pads and rotors, and make other brake system repairs. Some workers specialize in both front-end and brake work.
Diagnostic technicians, also known as “drivability technicians,” use their extensive knowledge of electrical, ignition, fuel, and emissions systems and engine management to diagnose issues preventing engines from performing efficiently. They often use the car’s on-board diagnostic system and electronic testing equipment such as multi meters and scan tools to find the malfunction.
Front-end technicians diagnose tire wear, ride, and handling problems. To correct these problems, they frequently use special wheel balancing machines and alignment equipment.
Transmission technicians and rebuilders work on couplings, gear trains, hydraulic pumps, and other transmission parts. An ability to diagnose hydraulic and electrical programs and an extensive knowledge of computer controls are needed to work on these complex components.
Automotive Technician Salary
In May 2015, the median annual wages for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Automobile dealers – $42,360
- Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance – $35,600
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores – $31,890
Automotive Technician Jobs
The BLS has projected automotive technician jobs to grow by 5% over the next ten years. This growth is expected to create more than 40,000 new automotive technician jobs by 2024. Now is the perfect time to search for automotive technician schools and enroll!
Automotive service technicians and mechanics held about 739,900 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most automotive service technicians and mechanics were as follows:
- Automobile dealers 30%
- Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance 28%
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores 9%
Automotive technician schools can give you the knowledge and skills to run your own mechanic shop. In fact, in 2014 about 1 in 10 automotive technicians were self-employed!
Automotive technician schools give students the professional skills they will need to succeed on the job. However, there are some personal qualities that will make you excel as a technician. Here are the most important qualities of a successful automotive tech:
Dexterity. Service technicians perform many tasks, such as attaching or assembling components and subassemblies. This requires good dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
Customer-service skills. Service technicians must discuss automotive problems—along with options to fix them—with their customers. Because workers may depend on repeat clients for business, they must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.
Physical strength. Service technicians must sometimes maneuver and lift heavy parts such as body panels and engines.
Mechanical skills. Service technicians must be familiar with systems and engine components and understand how they interact with one another. They must be able to take apart major parts for repairs and properly put them back together.
Detail oriented. Because electronic and mechanical malfuctions are often due to misalignments or other easy-to-miss causes, service technicians must be aware of fine details when repairing or inspecting vehicle systems.
Troubleshooting skills. Technicians must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to maintain and fix them. They must be able to use diagnostic equipment on engine components and systems in order to fix and identify problems in increasingly complicated electronic and mechanical systems.
Organizational skills. Service technicians must keep workspaces organized and clean in order to ensure accountability of parts and maintain safety.