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Master Mechanic Careers

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.

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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Average Salary
$43,099
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-1%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
33,128
Job Openings

Master Mechanic Career Paths

Top Careers Before Master Mechanic

Mechanic
23.9 %

Top Careers After Master Mechanic

Mechanic
15.8 %

Master Mechanic Jobs You Might Like

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Master Mechanic

Master Mechanics in America make an average salary of $43,099 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $57,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $32,000 per year.
Average Salary
$43,099
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Hackensack, NJ
Salary Range41k - 67k$53k$52,887
Colorado Springs, CO
Salary Range39k - 68k$52k$51,701
Arlington, VA
Salary Range39k - 65k$51k$50,943
Catonsville, MD
Salary Range39k - 65k$51k$50,846
Des Plaines, IL
Salary Range38k - 64k$50k$49,903
Huntington, WV
Salary Range37k - 63k$49k$48,814
$25k
$68k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Mechanic Master
Mechanic Master
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
05/25/2021
05/25/2021
$50,56805/25/2021
$50,568
Master Mechanic-Fleet Services
Master Mechanic-Fleet Services
City of Garland, Tx
City of Garland, Tx
05/21/2021
05/21/2021
$38,92305/21/2021
$38,923
Hvac/Refrigeration Master Mechanic
Hvac/Refrigeration Master Mechanic
State of Louisiana
State of Louisiana
03/26/2021
03/26/2021
$34,06003/26/2021
$34,060
Master Mechanic
Master Mechanic
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City
03/23/2021
03/23/2021
$41,76103/23/2021
$41,761
Mechanic Master
Mechanic Master
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
03/04/2021
03/04/2021
$50,56803/04/2021
$50,568
See More Recent Salaries

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Master Mechanic Demographics

Gender

male

91.3 %

unknown

4.4 %

female

4.3 %

Ethnicity

White

67.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.5 %

Black or African American

9.3 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.7 %

Carrier

13.3 %

Croatian

13.3 %
See More Demographics

Master Mechanic Education

Degrees

Certificate

34.9 %

Associate

21.4 %

High School Diploma

18.9 %
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Master Mechanic That You May Like

Control Systems Made Simple Beginner's Guide
udemy
4.5
(457)

Learn fundamentals of Mechanical & electrical system modeling, simulation and control with this unique practical course!...

Applications in Engineering Mechanics
coursera

This course applies principles learned in my course "Introduction to Engineering Mechanics" to analyze real world engineering structures. You will need to have mastered the engineering fundamentals from that class in order to be successful in this course offering. This course addresses the modeling and analysis of static equilibrium problems with an emphasis on real world engineering systems and problem solving. - Recommended Background: You will need to have successfully completed my earlier co...

Automobile Engineering: Vehicle dynamics for Beginners
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Introductory course on the mechanics which govern vehicle behavior and the Suspension design concepts...

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Top Skills For a Master Mechanic

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.1% of master mechanics listed heavy equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and detail oriented are important as well.

  • Heavy Equipment, 11.1%
  • Preventive Maintenance, 10.5%
  • Electrical Systems, 9.0%
  • Hand Tools, 6.4%
  • Diagnosis, 5.8%
  • Other Skills, 57.2%
  • See All Master Mechanic Skills

Best States For a Master Mechanic

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a master mechanic. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Alaska, New Jersey, and Colorado. Master mechanics make the most in Washington with an average salary of $56,267. Whereas in Alaska and New Jersey, they would average $53,479 and $52,565, respectively. While master mechanics would only make an average of $51,396 in Colorado, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Iowa

Total Master Mechanic Jobs:
521
Highest 10% Earn:
$80,000
Location Quotient:
1.96
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Idaho

Total Master Mechanic Jobs:
133
Highest 10% Earn:
$80,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. West Virginia

Total Master Mechanic Jobs:
111
Highest 10% Earn:
$82,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Master Mechanic Employers

1. Lear
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$47,323
Master Mechanics Hired: 
44+
2. United States Army
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$41,876
Master Mechanics Hired: 
30+
3. STARCON
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$44,195
Master Mechanics Hired: 
17+
4. Tyson Foods
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$45,438
Master Mechanics Hired: 
10+
5. Aviation Technical Services
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$42,814
Master Mechanics Hired: 
9+
6. Pep Boys
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$41,668
Master Mechanics Hired: 
8+

Master Mechanic Videos