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Become A Junior Mechanic

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Working As A Junior Mechanic

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Junior Mechanic Do

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine.

Duties

Diesel service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:

  • Consult with customers and read work orders to determine work required
  • Plan work procedures, using technical charts and manuals
  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions, engines, and other parts of vehicles
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Read and interpret diagnostic test results to identify mechanical problems
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components, parts, and other mechanical or electrical equipment
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires
  • Test-drive vehicles to ensure that they run smoothly

Because of their efficiency and durability, diesel engines have become the standard in powering trucks and buses. Other heavy vehicles and mobile equipment, including bulldozers and cranes, are also powered by diesel engines, as are many commercial boats, and some passenger vehicles and pickups.

Diesel technicians handle many kinds of repairs. They may work on a vehicle’s electrical system, make major engine repairs, or retrofit exhaust systems with emission control systems to comply with pollution regulations.

Diesel engine maintenance and repair is becoming more complex as engines and other components use more electronic systems to control their operation. For example, fuel injection and engine timing systems rely heavily on microprocessors to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize harmful emissions. In most shops, workers often use hand-held or laptop computers to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions. 

In addition to using computerized diagnostic equipment, diesel technicians use a variety of power and machine tools, such as pneumatic wrenches, lathes, grinding machines, and welding equipment. Hand tools, including pliers, sockets and ratchets, and screwdrivers, are commonly used.

Employers typically provide expensive power tools and computerized equipment, but workers generally acquire their own hand tools over time.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on automobiles, see the profile on automotive service technicians and mechanics.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on farm equipment, construction vehicles, and rail cars, see the profile on heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians.

For more information on technicians and mechanics who work primarily on motorboats, motorcycles, and small all-terrain vehicles, see the profile on small engine mechanics.

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How To Become A Junior Mechanic

Most diesel technicians learn informally on the job after a high school education, but employers increasingly prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary training programs in diesel engine repair. Although not required, industry certification can demonstrate a diesel technician’s competence and experience.

Education

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. High school or postsecondary courses in automotive repair, electronics, and mathematics provide a strong educational background for a career as a diesel technician.

An increasing number of employers look for workers with postsecondary training in diesel engine repair. Many community colleges and trade and vocational schools offer certificate or degree programs in diesel engine repair.

Programs mix classroom instruction with hands-on training, including the basics of diesel technology, repair techniques and equipment, and practical exercises. Students also learn how to interpret technical manuals and electronic diagnostic reports.

Training

Diesel technicians who begin working without any postsecondary education are trained extensively on the job. Trainees are assigned basic tasks, such as cleaning parts, checking fuel and oil levels, and driving vehicles in and out of the shop.

After they learn routine maintenance and repair tasks and demonstrate competence, trainees move on to more complicated subjects such as vehicle diagnostics. This process can take from 3 to 4 years, at which point a trainee is usually considered a journey-level diesel technician.

Over the course of their careers, diesel technicians must learn to use new techniques and equipment. Employers often send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to learn about the latest diesel technology.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the standard credential for diesel and other automotive service technicians and mechanics. Although not required, this certification demonstrates a diesel technician’s competence and experience to potential employers and clients, and often brings higher pay.

Diesel technicians may be certified in specific repair areas, such as drive trains, electronic systems, or preventative maintenance and inspection. To earn certification, technicians must have 2 years of work experience and pass one or more ASE exams. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every 5 years.

Many diesel technicians are required to have a commercial driver’s license so they may test-drive buses and large trucks.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Diesel technicians frequently discuss automotive problems and necessary repairs with their customers. They must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Diesel technicians must be aware of small details when inspecting or repairing engines and components, because mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments and other easy-to-miss causes.

Dexterity. Mechanics need a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination for many tasks, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, or using hand tools.

Mechanical skills. Diesel technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often disassemble major parts for repairs, and they must be able to put them back together properly.

Organizational skills. Diesel technicians must keep workspaces clean and organized in order to maintain safety and ensure accountability for parts.

Strength. Diesel technicians often lift heavy parts and tools, such as exhaust system components and pneumatic wrenches.

Troubleshooting skills. Diesel 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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Junior Mechanic Career Paths

Junior Mechanic
Mechanic Foreman Superintendent
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Electrician Helper Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrician Helper Electrician Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Electrician Helper Journeyman Electrician Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Plumber Helper Journeyman Plumber Foreman
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Plumber Helper Owner/Operator Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Plumber Helper Owner/Operator Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Plumber Maintenance Technician Aircraft Mechanic
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Plumber Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Plumber Technician Shop Foreman
Senior Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Electrical Helper Journeyman Electrician Lead Technician
Service Technician Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Electrical Helper Journeyman Electrician Hvac Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Electrical Helper Electrical Foreman Maintenance Electrician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Plumbing Mechanic Maintenance Technician Hvac Technician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Electrician/Mechanic Field Service Technician Lead Mechanic
Mechanics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Electrician/Mechanic Maintenance Electrician Maintenance Planner
Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Engineering Technician Machinist Mate
Marine Mechanic
5 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Shop Foreman Senior Mechanic
Senior Maintenance Mechanic
9 Yearsyrs
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Junior Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

80.6%

Unknown

15.0%

Female

4.4%
Ethnicity

White

55.6%

Hispanic or Latino

22.6%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.3%

Russian

6.7%

Chinese

3.3%

Ukrainian

3.3%

Hebrew

3.3%

Gujarati

3.3%

Hindi

3.3%

Choctaw

3.3%

Polish

3.3%

Korean

3.3%

Armenian

3.3%
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Junior Mechanic Education

Schools

Apex Technical School

34.9%

Berk Trade and Business School

11.0%

Suffolk County Community College

8.1%

Nassau Community College

4.1%

Electrical Training Center, Inc.

4.1%

Career Institute of Health and Technology

4.1%

Lincoln Technical Institute

3.5%

State University of New York Farmingdale

3.5%

Branford Hall Career Institute - Branford Campus

3.5%

The Academy

3.5%

Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York

2.9%

New York University

2.3%

Universal Technical Institute

2.3%

PCI College

1.7%

Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

1.7%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

1.7%

Southern Technical College

1.7%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

1.7%

Technical Career Institute

1.7%

Fordham University

1.7%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering Technology

16.3%

Business

10.0%

Heating And Air Conditioning

10.0%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

9.4%

Automotive Technology

9.4%

Industrial Technology

6.9%

Aviation

4.4%

Electrical Engineering

3.8%

General Studies

3.4%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

2.8%

Graphic Design

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

Accounting

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Law

2.2%

Construction Management

2.2%

Computer Science

1.9%

Property Management

1.9%
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Degrees

Other

40.9%

Certificate

19.8%

Associate

16.8%

Bachelors

16.0%

Diploma

4.7%

Masters

0.8%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Junior Mechanic

  1. Electrical Systems
  2. Light Fixtures
  3. Pipe Systems
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assess the integrity of electrical systems and circuit continuity in electrical wiring, equipment to ensure electrical system safety and compatibility.
  • Installed fans, light fixtures, outlets, switches, and electrical appliances in residential and commercial sites.
  • Fill pipe systems with water and air and read pressure gauges to determine whether systems were leaking.
  • Attach, fasten, and disconnect cables or lines to loads, materials, and equipment, using hand tools.
  • Measured, cut, threaded and bonded pipes and tubing to feeding water, gas or refrigerant to various HVAC equipment.

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Top Junior Mechanic Employers

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