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Become A Master Mechanic

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Working As A Master Mechanic

  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Make Decisions

  • $45,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Master Mechanic 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 A Master Mechanic

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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Master Mechanic Career Paths

Master Mechanic
Field Service Technician Service Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Administrator Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Supervisor Superintendent
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Supervisor Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Supervisor Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Chief Engineer
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Owner Maintenance Manager
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Owner Construction Superintendent
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Manager Manager Service Manager
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Lead Technician
Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Production Supervisor Quality Control Manager
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Mechanic Maintenance Lead Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Foreman Shop Foreman
Lead Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Foreman Millwright Electrician
Maintenance Lead Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Foreman Hvac Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanic Senior Maintenance Mechanic
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Foreman Shop Foreman
Senior Mechanic
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Foreman Shop Foreman Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Mechanics Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Aircraft Mechanic Heavy Equipment Mechanic
Equipment Maintenance Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Master Mechanic?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Master Mechanic 6.0 years
Master Technician 5.9 years
Head Mechanic 4.9 years
Equipment Mechanic 4.6 years
Lead Mechanic 4.5 years
Auto Mechanic 4.0 years
Diesel Mechanic 3.7 years
Mechanic 3.6 years
Truck Mechanic 3.5 years
Service Mechanic 3.4 years
Shop Mechanic 3.1 years
Mechanic Helper 2.2 years
Top Careers Before Master Mechanic
Mechanic 23.5%
Technician 6.2%
Owner 4.3%
Welder 3.2%
Top Careers After Master Mechanic
Mechanic 14.5%
Owner 4.7%
Technician 3.9%
Supervisor 3.3%
Welder 2.6%

Do you work as a Master Mechanic?

Master Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

89.2%

Unknown

7.0%

Female

3.8%
Ethnicity

White

63.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.7%

Carrier

13.3%

Croatian

13.3%

Chinese

6.7%

German

6.7%

Bosnian

6.7%

Albanian

6.7%
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Master Mechanic Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.2%

Universal Technical Institute

11.2%

Ferris State University

9.0%

Garden City Community College

7.9%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

5.6%

The Academy

5.6%

Lansing Community College

4.5%

More Tech Institute

4.5%

ITT Technical Institute-Fort Wayne

3.4%

Arizona Automotive Institute

3.4%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

3.4%

Lincoln College of Technology - Melrose Park

3.4%

Saint Louis Community College

3.4%

Kalamazoo Valley Community College

3.4%

Everett Community College

3.4%

University of Utah

3.4%

Bismarck State College

3.4%

Cornell University

3.4%

American InterContinental University

3.4%

San Juan College

3.4%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

24.5%

Business

10.3%

Electrical Engineering

9.9%

Industrial Technology

6.6%

Mechanical Engineering

6.4%

General Studies

4.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

4.4%

Heating And Air Conditioning

4.4%

Aviation

3.6%

Precision Metal Working

3.0%

Management

2.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Education

2.4%

Drafting And Design

2.0%

Criminal Justice

2.0%

Computer Science

1.6%

Engineering

1.4%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

1.2%

Information Technology

1.2%
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Degrees

Other

42.7%

Associate

20.6%

Bachelors

14.0%

Certificate

11.0%

Masters

6.3%

Diploma

4.3%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$45,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$45,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Constellation Brands
Highest Paying City
Los Angeles, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
5.9 years
How much does a Master Mechanic make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Master Mechanic in the United States is $45,976 per year or $22 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $62,000.

Real Master Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Master Mechanic-Alternate Fuels Technician Rick Gaudette Service Center, LLC Marysville, MI Dec 18, 2014 $75,000
Automotive Master Mechanics Carlisle Capital Corporation DBA Binnie Motorsport Portsmouth, NH Oct 15, 2012 $72,000
Automotive Master Mechanic VFC Motorwerks Inc. Chicago, IL Nov 02, 2010 $62,400
Automotive Master Mechanic VFC Motorwerks Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 18, 2010 $62,400
Master Mechanic Chantilly Steering & Allignment, Inc. Chantilly, VA Dec 29, 2010 $52,676
Precision Master Mechanical Assembler Ingersoll MacHine Tools Rockford, IL Dec 17, 2014 $52,416
Master Mechanic Autotecnica Service LLC Lodi, NJ Jul 22, 2015 $52,000
Automotive Master Mechanic Harbor Auto Center Garden Grove, CA Jun 11, 2010 $50,422
Automotive Master Mechanic Jack Ingram Montgomery, AL Oct 31, 2007 $50,088 -
$54,262
Automotive Master Mechanics Beesham Furniture Services, Inc. Sayreville, NJ Oct 08, 2010 $49,254 -
$50,000
Automotive Master Mechanic Franconia Shell Alexandria, VA Oct 04, 2010 $48,585 -
$52,175
Automotive Master Mechanics Karaco, Inc. Beltsville, MD Feb 06, 2009 $48,189
Automotive Master Mechanics Country Hills Inc. 76 Torrance, CA Dec 11, 2009 $48,147
Automotive Master Mechanics Dole Fresh Fruit Company Wilmington, DE Feb 01, 2011 $48,131
Automotive Master Mechanic Capitol Mechanics, Inc. Troy, NY Dec 23, 2016 $40,435
Automotive Master Mechanich Nu Max Management Calverton, NY Dec 11, 2009 $40,321
Automotive Master Mechanics Singh Car Care Services Inc. Yucaipa, CA Feb 27, 2012 $39,998
Automotive Master Mechanic Benks Land Services, Inc. Mine Hill, NJ May 11, 2011 $39,945
Automotive Master Mechanics Dalessio Auto Group Inc. Boonton, NJ Aug 26, 2010 $39,945
Automotive Master Mechanic Benks Land Services, Inc. Mine Hill, NJ Feb 27, 2009 $39,653
Automotive Master Mechanic Texaco Xpress Lube CA Jan 16, 2008 $39,653
Automotive Master Mechanic Dokuzyan Arutyun Ontario, CA Jun 13, 2008 $39,507 -
$43,305
Automotive Master Mechanic (Manager) Darvish Inc. Winchester, VA Nov 01, 2010 $32,635 -
$38,064
Automotive Master Mechanic (Manager) Darvish Inc. Winchester, VA Dec 01, 2010 $32,635 -
$38,064
Automotive Master Mechanic Stellar Services Houston, TX Dec 20, 2007 $32,599
Automotive Master Mechanic Hallelujah Auto Anaheim, CA Sep 27, 2010 $32,594
Automotive Master Mechanic Monza Motors, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 17, 2008 $32,000
Auto Master Mechanic Apex Automotive Garden Grove, CA Dec 08, 2010 $31,722
Automotive Master Mechanics Star Tech San Clemente, CA Mar 16, 2010 $31,722

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Top Skills for A Master Mechanic

  1. Preventative Maintenance
  2. Customer Vehicles
  3. Engine Analyzers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Detail-oriented professional who drove preventative maintenance, purchasing and repair efforts on a variety of heavy equipment and machines.
  • Work with Service Adviser and the customer to develop a maintenance plan to minimize the risk of failures on customer vehicles.
  • Trouble shooting mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical machinery.
  • Worked with electrical systems throughout the complex: MCC Centers, distribution panels, UPS systems, and standby generators.
  • Specialize in repair of automatic and manual transmissions as well as repair and replacement of brake systems.

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Top 10 Best States for Master Mechanics

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. Nevada
  4. Texas
  5. Virginia
  6. Wyoming
  7. Montana
  8. New Jersey
  9. Connecticut
  10. District of Columbia
  • (50 jobs)
  • (98 jobs)
  • (87 jobs)
  • (959 jobs)
  • (340 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (76 jobs)
  • (201 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)

Top Master Mechanic Employers

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