If you love to work with your hands and solve problems, a career as an automotive technician might satisfy both desires. There aren't any stuffy offices or long meetings with this career; instead, you're constantly on the move, getting your hands dirty and finding new ways to keep cars in tip-top shape.
An automotive technician job description can vary widely depending on the work environment. For instance, a technician might say, "My responsibilities range from providing maintenance services to diagnosing conditions, documenting repair work, and communicating with service advisors and - when I'm lucky - the vehicle owners."
Automotive technicians work on different types of vehicles, from cars and trucks to motorcycles and boats. Also called mechanics, these technicians might work on an all of a vehicles systems or may focus on a specific part, such as engines or transmissions.
How Do You Prepare for a Career as an Automotive Technician?
You'll need a minimum of a high school diploma to get a job as an automotive technician in most areas. Many will say that you don't need an advanced education in any specific area because, "there is no replacement for on-the-job training." However, they will always concede that prospective technicians will benefit from "automotive tech school or high school vocational programs."
If you're interested in higher education, a degree in automotive systems technology is recommended. "It's not that going to school for automotive work automatically makes anyone a good tech, but having an understanding of how each system works is a huge benefit."
If you plan to obtain on-the-job training, consider seeking positions with companies that place a high value on employee development. An on-site mentoring or education program can help you learn faster and more efficiently so you can chase the highest-paying job possible.
How Much Do Automotive Technicians Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive technicians typically earn a median annual salary of $65,500, with a range between $38,000 and $120,000 annually.
Pay can prove unpredictable at a dealership, so choose wisely. "I'm fortunate to work at a dealership where technicians don't have much of a chance to sit down during work hours, and when most technicians are only paid according to each service he or she performs, that becomes an important quality in a dealership." reports one technician.
Pay schedules can vary depending on the employer. Some automotive technicians receive an hourly wage or a consistent salary, while others receive pay based on the services they perform, which makes it more of a commission structure.
What Are the Common Misconceptions About Automotive Technician Jobs?
Many people believe that, because of the advancements in automotive engineering, mechanics rely on computers and high-tech equipment to perform their jobs. This is in fact true, but many also agree that their jobs require considerable physical exertion, saying, this job requires "a lot of physical and mental hard work."
What Are the Job Prospects Like for Automotive Mechanics?
According to Automotive News, there exists a severe shortage of trained and qualified mechanics, especially in dealerships. Employee turnover rates of between 30 and 40 percent have left service centers in a jam, and a lack of talent has minimized employers' access to new hires.
Consequently, you might consider entering this field if you're looking for job security and excellent diversity in opportunities. In addition to the talent shortage, nearly 20 percent of automotive technicians have been at this line of work for 21 or more years. This suggests impending retirement for many current mechanics, which will create new job openings.
What Do Mechanics Love About Their Jobs?
Automotive technicians might exert plenty of physical and mental energy on the job, but many like what they do - a love for "fixing things," and helping customers' with their problems.
What Challenges Do Automotive Technicians Face?
As with all careers, automotive technicians must overcome obstacles as they complete their work. It can prove to be both physically and mentally taxing. There is also a huge amount of information required to work on all aspects of a modern vehicle.
If you're looking for a rewarding career that will allow you to use your customer service, mechanical, and analytical skills, you might want to consider a job as an automotive technician.
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Degrees and Certifications:
Associate Degree - Industrial Technology - Major of Automotive Technology Greenville Technical College ASE Certifications - Master Automobile Technician Advanced Level Specialist Medium/Heavy Truck Technician Maintenance and Light Repair Technician ASE Certification Details - A1 Engine Repair A2 Automatic Transmission/Transaxle A3 Manual Drive Train & Axles A4 Suspension & Steering A5 Brakes A6 Electrical/Electronic Systems A7 Heating & Air Conditioning A8 Engine Performance A9 Light Vehicle Diesel Engines L1 Automobile Advanced Engine Performance L2 Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis G1 Auto Maintenance and Light Repair T2 Diesel Engines
Mr. Randy Martin
My name is Randy Martin. I have been married for twenty plus years and have two sons. I graduated from McDuffie High School in the late eighties, then attended Greenville Tech where I received my Associate Degree in Automotive Technology. I worked in the automotive field for eighteen years for both GM and Mopar Dealers. My first six years were spent as a general line technician with GM. The later twelve years were spent with Mopar as a transmission specialist. This is the beginning of my sixteenth year as an automotive instructor.
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