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Become A Service Technician

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Working As A Service 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

  • $61,989

    Average Salary

What Does A Service 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 Service 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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Service Technician Videos

Auto Service Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day-in-the-Life of Wind Turbine Service Technician

A Day in the Life of a Crown Service Technician: Mike in Sacramento, California

Service Technician Jobs

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Service Technician Career Paths

Service Technician
Service Manager General Manager Service Advisor
Assistant Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Operations Manager General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Operations Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Correction Officer Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
General Manager Technician Field Technician
Field Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Truck Driver Driver Dispatcher
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Forklift Operator Carpenter
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Material Handler Installer
Installation Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Correction Officer Operator Laboratory Technician
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Hvac Technician Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager
Service Director
10 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Repair Technician 3.1 years
Service Technician 3.0 years
Diesel Technician 3.0 years
Technician 2.6 years
Shop Technician 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Service Technician
Technician 10.2%
Cashier 5.0%
Mechanic 4.7%
Driver 3.9%
Manager 3.9%
Installer 3.6%
Owner 3.6%
Supervisor 3.4%
Top Careers After Service Technician
Technician 10.4%
Owner 5.4%
Driver 4.6%
Mechanic 4.3%
Manager 3.3%
Supervisor 3.1%

Do you work as a Service Technician?

Service Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

86.5%

Female

12.1%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.1%

Carrier

8.7%

French

5.4%

German

3.2%

Portuguese

2.3%

Italian

2.1%

Arabic

2.0%

Japanese

1.5%

Mandarin

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Russian

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Dakota

0.9%

Korean

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Hindi

0.7%

Swedish

0.5%

Urdu

0.5%

Cantonese

0.4%
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Service Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.2%

Universal Technical Institute

18.0%

Community College of the Air Force

5.3%

Ferris State University

5.2%

Liberty University

5.2%

Ashford University

4.5%

Lincoln Technical Institute

3.9%

The Academy

3.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.5%

Strayer University

3.2%

A-Technical College

3.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.9%

Wake Technical Community College

2.7%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

2.7%

Vincennes University

2.7%

College of DuPage

2.7%

American InterContinental University

2.7%

Midlands Technical College

2.6%

University of Northwestern Ohio

2.6%
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Majors

Business

15.5%

Automotive Technology

11.9%

Electrical Engineering

10.1%

Heating And Air Conditioning

8.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

7.3%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

5.4%

Criminal Justice

5.3%

General Studies

4.8%

Computer Science

4.5%

Information Technology

3.6%

Computer Information Systems

3.1%

Industrial Technology

2.9%

Computer Networking

2.7%

Management

2.5%

Psychology

2.5%

Education

2.3%

Communication

2.1%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Nursing

1.8%

Accounting

1.8%
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Degrees

Other

39.5%

Bachelors

21.1%

Associate

20.4%

Certificate

9.7%

Masters

4.5%

Diploma

3.9%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Service Technician Videos

Auto Service Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day-in-the-Life of Wind Turbine Service Technician

A Day in the Life of a Crown Service Technician: Mike in Sacramento, California

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Real Service Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Services Cobb-Vantress, Inc. Siloam Springs, AR Aug 11, 2014 $100,000
Service Technician Husky Injections Molding Systems, Inc. Peoria, AZ Aug 01, 2013 $84,050
Service Technician Husky Injections Molding Systems, Inc. Peoria, AZ Oct 01, 2012 $84,050
Service Technician Doublebarrel Downhole Technologies, LLC Houston, TX Aug 19, 2013 $81,806 -
$100,000
Professional Services Technician Shortcuts Software, Inc. Huntington Beach, CA Jul 01, 2012 $80,000
Journeyman Service Technician Steve Silva Plumbing Inc. Napa, CA Aug 10, 2015 $74,235 -
$80,000
Corrugator Service Technician BHS Services N.A., LLC Baltimore, MD Apr 29, 2016 $73,902
Electrical Service Technician BHS Corrugated Na, Inc. Baltimore, MD Sep 26, 2016 $73,445
Electrical Service Technician K&K Hardwood Floor, Inc. Chantilly, VA Aug 12, 2015 $69,514
Service Technician, Electrical Niehoff Endex North America Inc. Swedesboro, NJ Jan 22, 2016 $68,000 -
$85,800
Ashton Service Technician Cardinal Glass Company Irving, TX Oct 16, 2015 $63,731
Service Technician Diamondback Downhole Technologies, L.L.C. Houston, TX Nov 17, 2009 $63,034
Service Technician Serva Group Downhole Technologies, L.L.C. Houston, TX Nov 17, 2009 $63,034
Service Technician Allied Plumbing, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Aug 09, 2010 $50,192
Service Tecnician Precision Scales, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 02, 2009 $50,000
Veterinary Service Technician Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Leesburg, VA Jan 15, 2012 $49,377
Service Technician Veterinary Practice Associates, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2010 $48,147
ATM Service Technician Atlas ATM Corp. NY Apr 03, 2016 $48,048 -
$50,000
End User Services Technician (Refresh) Enterprise Integration, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Sep 30, 2012 $48,027 -
$69,900
End User Services Technician (Refresh) Enterprise Integration, Incl Jacksonville, FL Sep 30, 2012 $48,027 -
$69,900
Auto Service Technician Quality Auto Repair, Inc. Chicago, IL Dec 28, 2007 $41,000
Auto Service Technician Quality Auto Repair, Inc. Chicago, IL Feb 23, 2009 $41,000
Auto Service Technician Quality Auto Repair, Inc. Chicago, IL Jan 04, 2010 $41,000
Graphic Service Technician Polymeric Imaging, Inc. North Kansas City, MO Apr 08, 2011 $40,643
Service Technician Hana Merchant Service, Inc. Arlington Heights, IL Oct 14, 2015 $40,144
Welder & Service Technician Barnes Equipment Inc. Sims, NC Mar 25, 2011 $40,133
Equipment Service Technicians U.S. Ski & Snowbaord Association Park City, UT Oct 01, 2015 $39,716
Service Technician Arrowhead Commercial Equipment Service, Inc. Glendale, AZ Dec 15, 2014 $39,653 -
$48,231

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Top Skills for A Service Technician

  1. Service Department
  2. Safety
  3. Company Vehicle
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Handled emergency and after-hours calls on alternating weekends for service department.
  • Planned and implemented alterations to ensure safety, to improve operator ergonomics, and to increase machine productivity.
  • Complete appropriate paperwork, maintain parts and tool inventory in company vehicle as an independent technician prescribed by system management.
  • Attended several professional development classes about different HVAC/R components like, electrical diagrams, compressor diagnostics, and heat pump repair.
  • Created preventative maintenance procedures, documents and schedule for all equipment with noticeable productivity gains due to equipment reliability.

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Top 10 Best States for Service Technicians

  1. Texas
  2. Wyoming
  3. Alaska
  4. Colorado
  5. North Dakota
  6. Nevada
  7. Connecticut
  8. Nebraska
  9. District of Columbia
  10. New Jersey
  • (5,769 jobs)
  • (160 jobs)
  • (135 jobs)
  • (2,281 jobs)
  • (337 jobs)
  • (563 jobs)
  • (827 jobs)
  • (663 jobs)
  • (168 jobs)
  • (1,767 jobs)

Top Service Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Service Technician Employers

Service Technician Videos

Auto Service Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day-in-the-Life of Wind Turbine Service Technician

A Day in the Life of a Crown Service Technician: Mike in Sacramento, California

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