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Become A Repair Technician

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Working As A Repair 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

  • $53,272

    Average Salary

What Does A Repair 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 A Repair 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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Repair Technician Career Paths

Repair Technician
Welder Technician Service Advisor
Assistant Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Sales Consultant Territory Sales Manager
Commercial Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Test Technician Engineering Technician Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Project Engineer Operations Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Test Technician Service Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Delivery Driver Field Technician
Field Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Installation Technician Driver Dispatcher
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Installation Technician Technician Foreman
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Field Service Technician Systems Administrator
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Material Handler Installer
Installation Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Specialist Service Technician
Senior Service Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Service Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Systems Engineer Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Welder Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Service Technician 3.2 years
Repair Technician 3.0 years
Bench Technician 2.8 years
Technician 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Repair Technician
Technician 11.2%
Cashier 5.9%
Manager 4.0%
Mechanic 3.5%
Supervisor 3.0%
Assembler 2.9%
Owner 2.6%
Top Careers After Repair Technician
Technician 11.7%
Owner 4.8%
Manager 3.1%
Mechanic 3.0%
Driver 2.9%
Supervisor 2.9%

Do you work as a Repair Technician?

Repair Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

85.6%

Female

12.9%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.9%

French

6.1%

German

5.7%

Russian

3.6%

Japanese

3.6%

Vietnamese

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Carrier

2.5%

Portuguese

2.2%

Polish

2.2%

Mandarin

1.8%

Hindi

1.4%

Korean

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.4%

Tagalog

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Turkish

1.1%

Nepali

1.1%

Thai

0.7%

Italian

0.7%
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Repair Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.8%

Community College of the Air Force

7.2%

Universal Technical Institute

7.2%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

6.2%

Strayer University

5.1%

University of Memphis

4.9%

Kaplan University

4.4%

ITT Technical Institute-Nashville

4.3%

ECPI University

4.1%

ITT Technical Institute - Indianapolis

3.9%

Remington College

3.8%

More Tech Institute

3.8%

Houston Community College

3.4%

ITT Technical Institute-Cordova

3.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.3%

The Academy

3.1%

A-Technical College

3.1%

Hinds Community College

2.9%

Liberty University

2.9%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

20.4%

Business

12.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

11.0%

Computer Science

7.4%

Automotive Technology

6.4%

Information Technology

5.7%

Computer Information Systems

4.7%

Computer Networking

4.3%

Criminal Justice

3.7%

General Studies

3.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.6%

Computer Engineering Technology

2.3%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering

2.2%

Industrial Technology

2.2%

Aviation

2.1%

Management

1.9%

Education

1.8%

Graphic Design

1.8%

Communication

1.7%
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Degrees

Other

34.8%

Associate

26.1%

Bachelors

23.4%

Certificate

8.0%

Masters

3.8%

Diploma

3.2%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Real Repair Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Repair Technician KAVO Dental Lake Zurich, IL Jan 09, 2008 $72,000
Furniture Repair Technician Supervisor Wood Craft Margate, FL Nov 12, 2010 $62,860
Wireless Repair Technician MOBO USA Corp Miami, FL Oct 18, 2010 $58,000
Phone Repair Technician G&G Solutions, Inc. Placentia, CA Nov 20, 2015 $57,866
Cable Repair Technician Cggveritas Services (Us) Inc. Houston, TX Nov 28, 2014 $55,910 -
$62,000
Maintenance and Repair Technician WEMA Vogtland America LLC Belvidere, IL Jul 15, 2011 $45,914 -
$75,132
Maintenance and Repair Technician WEMA Vogtland America LLC Belvidere, IL Aug 15, 2011 $45,914 -
$75,132
Hydraulic Repair Technician Controlled Motion Solutions, Inc. Burbank, CA Jun 06, 2016 $43,660
Maintenance & Repair Technician ATV Inc. La Mirada, CA Sep 06, 2016 $43,514
Auto Repair Technician & Mechanics Grand KH Lee. Inc. Ridgefield, NJ Jul 29, 2015 $43,118
Equipment Test and Repair Technician International Surveying Equipment Inc. Wesley Chapel, FL Oct 01, 2011 $42,000
Repair Technician A Carpet and Paint LLC Atlanta, GA Jul 16, 2015 $36,754
Musical Instrument Repair Technician L&L Music-Wind Shop, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Apr 05, 2011 $36,300
Musical Instrument Repair Technician L&L Music-Wind Shop, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Mar 18, 2011 $36,300
Musical Instrument Repair Technician L&L Music-Wind Shop, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Oct 07, 2010 $36,300
Sewing Machine Repair Technician Creative Sewing Center San Antonio, TX Nov 01, 2014 $36,209
Maintenance & Repair Technician Borla Performance Industries Tn, Inc. Johnson City, TN Feb 21, 2012 $35,901
Autobody Repair Technician Eaton Paint and Body Specialist, LLC Eaton, CO Jun 12, 2008 $35,479 -
$39,653
Office Machine Repaire Tech. Theodore Markowitz Brea, CA Nov 19, 2007 $34,060
Repair Technician Estrella Mountain Pools Glendale, AZ May 07, 2016 $33,000

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Top Skills for A Repair Technician

  1. Defective Products
  2. Trouble Shooting
  3. Computer
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Repair and testing of returned or defective products from customers and dealers in a timely manner.
  • Experienced in color geometry, Convergence, alignment, trouble shooting, soldering CRT, LCD and plasma computer monitor.
  • Certified to conduct original manufacturer hardware and software repairs to Apple portable computer systems.
  • Provided superior customer service and served as an excellent company representative.
  • Performed quality inspections to insure quality and safety standards were adhered to.

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Top 10 Best States for Repair Technicians

  1. Wyoming
  2. Colorado
  3. Alaska
  4. North Dakota
  5. Nebraska
  6. Connecticut
  7. Nevada
  8. New Jersey
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Arizona
  • (122 jobs)
  • (1,871 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (276 jobs)
  • (556 jobs)
  • (702 jobs)
  • (415 jobs)
  • (1,380 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)
  • (1,343 jobs)

Top Repair Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Repair Technician Employers

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