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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:
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.
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 Automotive Service Technician
Top Careers After Automotive Service Technician
Hispanic or Latino12.3%
Black or African American0.5%
Automotive Service Technician
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Universal Technical Institute34.2%
Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc5.1%
University of Northwestern Ohio5.1%
University of Phoenix5.1%
NASCAR Technical Institute4.3%
College of DuPage4.3%
Lincoln Technical Institute4.3%
Ferris State University3.4%
Advanced Technology Institute3.4%
Western Technical College3.4%
Northern Virginia Community College3.4%
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona2.6%
Hinds Community College2.6%
Arizona Automotive Institute2.6%
Hudson Valley Community College2.6%
Minnesota School of Business2.6%
El Paso Community College2.6%
College of Central Florida2.6%
Community College of the Air Force2.6%
Automotive Service Technician
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Wilson Automotive||Texarkana, TX||Aug 05, 2011||$69,950|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Autotechnica, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||May 13, 2011||$63,299|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Independent Car Specialists, Inc.||Los Alamitos, CA||Feb 13, 2013||$57,572|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Easy Way Auto Repairs Inc.||New York, NY||Oct 26, 2012||$57,500|
|Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic||Autotechnica, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Dec 13, 2007||$52,989|
|Automotive Service Technician & Mechanic||Bisma Mobile, Inc.||New York, NY||Nov 04, 2016||$52,582|
|Automotive Service Technician & Mechanic||Bisma Mobile, Inc.||New York, NY||Jul 21, 2015||$52,582|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Victory Service Station, Inc.||New York, NY||Jun 04, 2014||$50,400|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||H&D Automotive Corp.||New York, NY||Sep 19, 2014||$50,400|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Sandman Inc. DBA Star Concrete||San Jose, CA||Nov 25, 2013||$50,086|
|First Line Supervisor of Automotive Service Technician||MRS Cleaning Service Inc.||Hudson, MA||Sep 17, 2010||$49,566|
|Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic||Skyline Transmission, Inc.||Falls Church, VA||Oct 27, 2015||$48,360|
|Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic||Master Auto Care, Inc.||Springfield, VA||Jun 18, 2015||$48,360|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||P&N Inc. D/B/A European Service Centre||Leesburg, VA||Jan 17, 2014||$48,173|
|Automotive Service Technician||Tire Kingdom D/B/A Merchants Tire and Auto||Havelock, NC||Jan 18, 2008||$39,528|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Auto Collision Experts, LLC||Elizabeth, NJ||Jul 26, 2010||$39,298|
|Automotive Service Technician||Birch Tire Corporation||Rockaway, NJ||Jul 28, 2008||$39,298|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Marvic Transmission, Inc.||Islandia, NY||Nov 24, 2010||$39,131|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Pena's Transmission Inc.||Houston, TX||Feb 06, 2013||$39,104|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Circle Brake Service of Passaic County, Inc.||Clifton, NJ||Jan 21, 2011||$39,083|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||35 Auto Repair and Body Shop, Corp.||NY||Nov 14, 2012||$39,083|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Circle Brake Service of Passaic County, Inc.||Clifton, NJ||Mar 25, 2011||$39,083|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||CEMI Automotive, Inc.||Horsham, PA||Jan 15, 2008||$31,994|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Milis Auto Center, Inc.||Philadelphia, PA||May 13, 2010||$31,910|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Martinez Tire Service & Mechanic, LLC.||Yuma, AZ||Mar 06, 2013||$31,305|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||109 Muffler Shop||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 15, 2008||$31,305|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||Larocca's Garage Inc.||Bridgeport, CT||Sep 30, 2008||$31,305|
|Automotive Service Technician||Scully Ingineering Contractors Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Nov 14, 2007||$31,305|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||California Z Cars, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Mar 08, 2013||$31,096|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||I.S.International, Inc./DBA Econo Lube N' Tune#107||San Luis Obispo, CA||Oct 05, 2007||$31,034|
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Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics Job Description
Automotive Service Technician
What A Day As A Mechanic Looks Like ~Time Lapse Video