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Become An Auto Technician

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Working As An Auto Technician

  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Stressful

  • $46,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Auto Technician Do

Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.

Duties

Automotive service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:

  • Identify problems, often by using computerized diagnostic equipment
  • Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience
  • Test parts and systems to ensure that they work properly
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
  • Repair or replace worn parts, such as brake pads, wheel bearings, and sensors
  • Perform repairs to manufacturer and customer specifications
  • Explain automotive problems and repairs to clients

Although service technicians work on traditional mechanical systems, such as engines, transmissions, and drivebelts, they must also be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems. Braking, transmission, and steering systems, for example, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components.

Other integrated electronic systems, such as accident-avoidance sensors, are becoming common as well. In addition, a growing number of technicians are required to work on vehicles that consume alternative fuels, such as ethanol and electricity.

Service technicians use many different tools, including computerized diagnostic tools and power tools such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, welding torches, and jacks and hoists. These tools usually are owned by their employers.

Service technicians also use many common hand tools, such as wrenches, pliers, and sockets and ratchets. Service technicians generally own these tools themselves. In fact, experienced workers often have thousands of dollars invested in their personal tool collection. For example, some invest in their own set of pneumatic tools—such as impact wrenches—powered by compressed air.

The following are examples of types of service technicians:

Automotive air-conditioning technicians install and repair air-conditioners and parts, such as compressors, condensers, and controls. These workers must be trained and certified in handling refrigerants.

Brake technicians diagnose brake system problems, adjust brakes, replace brake rotors and pads, and make other repairs on brake systems. Some technicians specialize in both brake and front-end work. (See “Front-end technicians.”) 

Drivability technicians, also known as diagnostic technicians, use their extensive knowledge of engine management and fuel, electrical, ignition, and emissions systems to diagnose issues that prevent engines from performing efficiently. They often use the onboard diagnostic system of a car and electronic testing equipment such as scan tools and multimeters to find the malfunction.

Front-end technicians diagnose ride, handling, and tire wear problems. To correct these problems, they frequently use special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines.

Transmission technicians and rebuilders work on gear trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps, and other parts of transmissions. An extensive knowledge of computer controls and the ability to diagnose electrical and hydraulic problems are needed to work on these complex components.

For information about technicians who work on large trucks and buses, see the profile on diesel service technicians and mechanics.

For information about technicians who work on farm equipment, construction vehicles, and railcars, see the profile on heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians.

For information about technicians who repair and service motorcycles, motorboats, and small all-terrain vehicles, see the profile on small engine mechanics.

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How To Become An Auto Technician

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.

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Auto Technician Career Paths

Auto Technician
Automotive Technician Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Automotive Technician Technician Electrician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Automotive Technician Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Foreman Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Foreman Maintenance Supervisor
Assistant Maintenance Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electrician Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Driver Foreman
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Computer Technician
Senior Service Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Account Executive Sales Manager
Car Wash Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Specialist Operation Supervisor
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Field Service Technician
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Shop Foreman Service Manager
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Shop Foreman Owner/Operator Property Manager
Director Of Property Management
6 Yearsyrs
Service Advisor Shop Foreman Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Welder Installation Technician Hvac Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Sheet Metal Mechanic Hvac Technician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Installer Hvac Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Diesel Technician Lead Mechanic Mechanics Supervisor
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Master Technician 5.9 years
Auto Technician 4.0 years
Auto Mechanic 4.0 years
Smog Technician 3.8 years
Truck Technician 3.5 years
Fleet Technician 3.3 years
Lube Technician 1.6 years
Oil Bay Technician 1.3 years
Top Careers Before Auto Technician
Technician 11.1%
Mechanic 7.3%
Cashier 6.3%
Driver 3.4%
Owner 3.3%
Manager 2.9%
Welder 2.6%
Top Careers After Auto Technician
Technician 11.7%
Mechanic 7.0%
Driver 5.0%
Owner 4.1%
Manager 3.4%

Do you work as an Auto Technician?

Auto Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

86.5%

Unknown

8.1%

Female

5.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

74.1%

German

2.6%

French

2.6%

Polish

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Portuguese

1.7%

Samoan

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Swedish

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%

Dutch

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Romanian

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Japanese

0.9%

Amharic

0.9%

Carrier

0.9%

Dakota

0.9%

Navajo

0.9%

Thai

0.9%
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Auto Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

35.3%

Lincoln Technical Institute

11.0%

University of Phoenix

5.3%

Apex Technical School

4.9%

The Academy

4.4%

University of Northwestern Ohio

4.0%

Porter and Chester Institute

3.9%

NASCAR Technical Institute

3.7%

Lincoln College of Technology - Melrose Park

3.0%

A-Technical College

3.0%

Houston Community College

2.9%

Arizona Automotive Institute

2.6%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

2.6%

Lansing Community College

2.1%

Hennepin Technical College

2.0%

Northern Virginia Community College

2.0%

Macomb Community College

1.9%

Lincoln College of Technology - Indianapolis

1.9%

Ashford University

1.9%

Ohio Technical College

1.9%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

52.7%

Business

8.5%

General Studies

4.4%

Electrical Engineering

3.9%

Criminal Justice

3.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Precision Metal Working

2.5%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.5%

Mechanical Engineering

2.3%

Computer Science

2.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.7%

Education

1.6%

Engineering

1.3%

Accounting

1.3%

Information Technology

1.3%

Management

1.2%

Computer Information Systems

1.1%

Aviation

1.0%
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Degrees

Other

45.4%

Associate

20.9%

Certificate

11.9%

Bachelors

11.3%

Diploma

7.5%

Masters

2.2%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$46,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$28,000
Min 10%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Penske Truck Leasing
Highest Paying City
Roseville, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does an Auto Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Auto Technician in the United States is $46,224 per year or $22 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $28,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $76,000.

Real Auto Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Auto Technician BWL Management, Inc. Germantown, MD Aug 15, 2012 $55,245
Auto Technician Gill Enterprises Inc. T/A Aspen Shell Rockville, MD Apr 13, 2015 $45,739
Balance & Alignment Truck & Trailer Auto Technician Hodgkins Truck Center Co. Hodgkins, IL Dec 14, 2016 $45,344
Auto Technician S&A Service Center Inc. Lanham, MD Jan 22, 2010 $44,578
Auto Technician S&A Service Center Inc. Lanham, MD Feb 18, 2010 $44,578
Auto Technician S&A Service Center Inc. Lanham, MD Jun 07, 2010 $44,578
Auto Technician Dupont Automotive, Inc. New York, NY Sep 28, 2016 $44,000
Auto Technician Amar MK, Inc. Falls Church, VA Jan 29, 2009 $43,159
Auto Technician Quarterfield Service Center, LLC Glen Burnie, MD Jan 19, 2011 $42,078
Auto Technician Commercial Ave Auto Repair Corp. Ridgefield, NJ Oct 22, 2014 $41,662
Auto Technician M&A Auto Inc. New Castle, DE May 13, 2010 $37,856
Auto Technician Ghanomo, LLC Baltimore, MD Dec 08, 2009 $37,378
Auto Technician B & C Auto Repair Corp. East Orange, NJ Oct 16, 2009 $37,190
Auto Technician Najjar Lube Centers, Inc. San Dimas, CA Jun 13, 2016 $37,045
Auto Technician Chicago Cars Direct, LLC Addison, IL Dec 08, 2010 $35,963
Auto Technician/Mechanic 40 West Lube N Tune Catonsville, MD Feb 08, 2008 $34,310
Auto Technician/Mechanic 40 West Lube N Tune CO Nov 15, 2007 $34,310
Auto Tech Mechanica Star Motors Laguna Niguel, CA May 13, 2008 $33,434 -
$33,455
Auto Technician Kings Motors, Inc. High Point, NC Jul 20, 2010 $31,741
Auto Technician Kings Motors, Inc. High Point, NC Jul 08, 2010 $31,741
Auto Technician Certified Auto Care Upland, CA Mar 12, 2009 $30,157
Auto Technician Singh Auto World MD Oct 15, 2008 $28,995
Auto Technician Singh Auto World Allentown, PA Apr 22, 2009 $28,995

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Top Skills for An Auto Technician

  1. Customer Vehicles
  2. Engine Repair
  3. Oil Changes
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Diagnosed and repaired customer vehicles and did inventory of salvaged and repossessed vehicles
  • Specialized in diesel engine repair and diagnostics as well as electrical troubleshooting.
  • Performed Vehicle tune ups including; oil changes, coolant system servicing, differential repairs and complete transmission servicing.
  • Perform safety checks on vehicles to ensure all important parts are examined.
  • Perform repairs and preventative maintenance on customer vehicles also trouble shooting of various automotive systems using various test equipment.

What is it like to work as an Auto Technician

2.0

Automotive technician

October 21, 2019 on Zippia

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What do you like the most about working as Auto Technician?

The work is enjoyable if you like working with your hands and aren’t afraid o manual labor... Show More

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The pay, flat rate pay is not worth it in most cases and benefits, what benefits? Lol.. Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Auto Technicians

  1. Alaska
  2. Colorado
  3. North Dakota
  4. Wyoming
  5. Connecticut
  6. Nebraska
  7. New Jersey
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Washington
  10. New Hampshire
  • (76 jobs)
  • (1,412 jobs)
  • (190 jobs)
  • (78 jobs)
  • (426 jobs)
  • (417 jobs)
  • (979 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (745 jobs)
  • (231 jobs)

Top Auto Technician Employers

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