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Employers prefer that automotive service technicians and mechanics complete a formal training program at a postsecondary institution. Industry certification is usually required once the person is employed.Education
High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, computers, and mathematics provide a good background for prospective service technicians. However, high school graduates typically need further training to become fully qualified.
Completing a vocational or other postsecondary education program in automotive service technology is considered the best preparation for entry-level positions. Programs usually last 6 months to a year and provide intensive career preparation through classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Short-term certificate programs in a particular subject, such as brake maintenance or engine performance, are also available.
Some service technicians get an associate’s degree. Courses usually include mathematics, electronics, and automotive repair. Some programs add classes in customer service and other necessary skills.
Various automobile manufacturers and dealers sponsor associate’s degree programs. Students in these programs typically spend alternating periods attending classes full time and working full time in service shops under the guidance of an experienced technician.Training
Service technicians who have graduated from postsecondary programs in automotive service technology generally require little on-the-job training.
Those who have not completed postsecondary education, however, generally start as trainee technicians, technicians’ helpers, or lubrication workers. They gradually acquire more knowledge and experience by working with experienced mechanics and technicians.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all technicians who buy or work with refrigerants to be certified in proper refrigerant handling. No formal test preparation is required, but many trade schools, unions, and employer associations offer training programs designed for the EPA exam.
Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the standard credential for service technicians. Certification demonstrates competence and usually brings higher pay. Many employers require their service technicians to become certified.
ASE certification is available in nine different automobile specialty areas: automatic transmission/transaxle, brakes, light vehicle diesel engines, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, engine repair, heating and air-conditioning, manual drive train and axles, and suspension and steering.
To become certified, technicians must have at least 2 years of experience (or relevant schooling and 1 year of experience) and pass an exam. Technicians who achieve certification in all of the foregoing areas (light vehicle diesel engine certification is not required) may earn ASE Master Technician status.Important Qualities
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.
Detail oriented. Service technicians must be aware of small details when inspecting or repairing vehicle systems, because mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments or other easy-to-miss causes.
Dexterity. Service technicians perform many tasks that require steady hands and good hand-eye coordination, such as assembling or attaching components and subassemblies.
Mechanical skills. Service technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often must take apart major parts for repairs and be able to put them back together properly.
Organizational skills. Service technicians must keep workspaces clean and organized in order to maintain safety and ensure accountability of parts.
Physical strength. Service technicians must sometimes lift and maneuver heavy parts such as engines and body panels.
Troubleshooting skills. Service technicians must be able to use diagnostic equipment on engine systems and components in order to identify and fix problems in increasingly complicated mechanical and electronic systems. They must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Auto Mechanic
Top Careers After Auto Mechanic
Hispanic or Latino13.1%
Black or African American0.5%
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Universal Technical Institute17.3%
Lincoln Technical Institute12.0%
Apex Technical School7.9%
University of Phoenix7.3%
University of Northwestern Ohio4.7%
Hinds Community College4.2%
New York Automotive and Diesel Institute4.2%
Greenville Technical College4.2%
Pennsylvania State University3.7%
Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc3.7%
Macomb Community College3.1%
Grand Rapids Community College3.1%
Bates Technical College3.1%
Atlanta Technical College2.6%
Trident Technical College2.6%
Henry Ford College2.6%
NASCAR Technical Institute2.6%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Auto Mechanic||AZEE Auto Repair||Chantilly, VA||Jan 03, 2008||$53,740|
|Auto Mechanic||Katonah Gas & Auto Service Inc.||Katonah, NY||Sep 08, 2016||$52,686|
|Auto Mechanic||Car Magic Auto Repair Inc.||NY||Feb 11, 2015||$51,168|
|Auto Mechanic||MSQ Auto Clinic, LLC||Wall, NJ||May 22, 2008||$48,898|
|Auto Mechanic||King St. Collision||Silver Spring, MD||Apr 12, 2010||$48,815|
|Auto Mechanic||Kings Park Auto Care, Inc.||Springfield, VA||Jun 22, 2015||$48,360|
|Auto Mechanic||A&G Auto Service, Inc.||Rockville, MD||Apr 27, 2010||$48,189|
|Auto Mechanic||King St. Collision||Silver Spring, MD||Apr 28, 2009||$48,189|
|Auto Mechanic||The Car Outlet, Inc.||Arlington, VA||Oct 28, 2008||$47,980|
|Auto Mechanic||High Point Service Center Inc.||Beltsville, MD||Aug 02, 2016||$47,757|
|Auto Mechanic||Fred's Automotive LLC||CO||Apr 25, 2016||$46,987|
|Auto Mechanic||Hassan & Sons, Inc.||Cerritos, CA||Feb 02, 2011||$45,802|
|Auto Mechanic||Goodluck Service Station Inc.||Baldwin, NY||Jun 15, 2011||$43,971|
|Auto Mechanic||Queens Medallion Leasing, Inc.||Islandia, NY||Apr 15, 2015||$43,264|
|Auto Mechanic||Olympic Auto Group||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 03, 2010||$39,319|
|Auto Mechanic||A.N.S.S. LLC D/B/A A.N.S. Towing||Irvington, NJ||Dec 14, 2010||$39,298|
|Auto Mechanic||E R Auto Service, Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Jul 27, 2016||$39,236|
|Master Auto Mechanic and Auto Electician||Kishi Auto Repair||Lawndale, CA||Dec 10, 2016||$38,776 -
|Auto Mechanic||T & N Karimi Inc. DBA Eastland Repair & Tire||West Covina, CA||Sep 18, 2015||$38,750|
|Auto Mechanic||Four Seasons Used Cars, Inc.||Richmond, NY||Jun 09, 2009||$38,443|
|Auto Mechanic||Montebello Auto Craft Inc.||Montebello, CA||Mar 07, 2012||$38,397|
|Auto Mechanic||Adams Tire & Auto Center||Los Angeles, CA||Jul 12, 2012||$38,397|
|Auto Mechanic||Star Tech||San Clemente, CA||May 01, 2008||$33,434|
|Auto Mechanic||Quality Paving Company||CO||Nov 28, 2007||$33,392|
|Auto Mechanic||Ko-Am Motors, Inc.||Philadelphia, PA||Jan 16, 2008||$32,349|
|Auto Mechanic||7900 Ogontz Car Wash, Inc.||Philadelphia, PA||Mar 30, 2009||$31,994|
|Auto Mechanic||Sarmen, Inc. DBA Studio Cutom Auto Body and Paint||CA||Dec 23, 2009||$31,305|
|Auto Mechanic||NOK Auto Repairs, Inc.||New York, NY||Jul 09, 2008||$31,305|
|Auto Mechanic||Jegal Canter International DBA Goodwill Body Shop||Lynwood, CA||Nov 20, 2009||$31,305|
|Auto Mechanic||Lymans Automotive Services Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Feb 26, 2008||$31,201|
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