An automotive technician determines the problem faced by cars and light trucks and repairing them. You will also be doing maintenance checks on these vehicles to ensure that they remain in good running condition. This involves changing the engine oil, rotating tires and tuning up the vehicle, among others.
Automotive technicians are knowledgeable about the functions of the mechanical parts of a car such as the engine and transmission and the ways to repair them in case they get damaged. They also understand that computers and electronic systems are used to control braking and steering systems. As such, they don’t just rely on mechanical tools to do their job. They are also proficient in using computerized diagnostic equipment to determine what the problem is before proceeding to fix the issue.
After diagnosing the vehicle’s problem, automotive technicians use a combination of power tools and hand tools to carry out a repair. Jacks, pneumatic wrenches, welding torches, pliers, sockets and ratchets are just some of the tools that automotive technicians use to disassemble car parts for repair and putting them back again together after they have been fixed. Automotive technicians may adjust or repair brake systems, align wheels, address faulty transmission systems, fix the car’s airconditioning systems and identify the trouble spots that prevent engines from working as efficiently as they should. Once the repairs have been carried out, technicians also test their work to determine if the problem has been sufficiently addressed.
To succeed as an automotive technician, you need to be genuinely interested in cars since it is the only way for you to understand and learn about the complex interaction between engine components and the other systems that power up a vehicle. You also need to be generally comfortable working with both mechanical tools and electronic equipment and have that uncanny ability to diagnose what a vehicle’s problem is and find ways to fix it. You also need to possess excellent customer service skills since gaining a client’s trust and explaining to them what their vehicle’s issue is and what has been done about it is part and parcel of your job.
A career as an automotive technician is best suited for individuals who don’t mind getting dirty and greasy for as long as they are given the chance to tinker with a vehicle and find out where a faulty mechanism lies. For those who possess a keen interest in car mechanics and love to do hands-on work, this would be a good choice for a career. On the more practical side, the educational requirements for this profession aren’t much but the pay is good, making it a great occupation to go into if you aren’t really fond of going to school. It also has good job prospects in the next few years.
Automotive Technician Work Environment
Automotive technicians are hired mostly by automotive repair and maintenance firms and automobile dealers. Some are also employed by stores selling automotive parts, accessories and tires and the government. The work schedule is fulltime and done during regular business hours but overtime work is a common feature of this job. Cuts and bruises are some of the hazards of the job since automotive technicians typically handle heavy tools and equipment. However, the incidence of injuries can be minimized by following safety procedures and donning on protective clothing.
Automotive Technician Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of automotive technicians and repairers is $39,880. This is a bit lower than the $45,710 received by heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics and the $44,120 paid to bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists.
Automotive Technician Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a positive outlook for automotive service technicians and mechanics. The employment rate for this occupation from the period covering 2012 to 2022 is set to increase nine percent which is about the same as the national average for all job types. The demand is due to the increasing number of cars and light trucks that are being used. In addition, the durability and increased lifespan of older vehicle models will also fuel the need for automotive technicians. The best job prospects will go to qualified applicants who have undergone formal postsecondary training programs.
Automotive Technician Degree
The minimum educational requirement to enter this occupation is a high school diploma. High school students eyeing to become automotive service technicians should take courses in automotive repair, mathematics, English and electronics to prepare themselves for this job. However, an increasing number of employees prefer to hire technicians who have finished postsecondary training in automotive service technology which lasts anywhere from six months to one year. After working for at least two years or one year with relevant education, automotive technicians can sit for an exam in any of the eight areas covering various parts of automobile service. Passing this test will earn one a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in that area while passing all will give one the Master Automobile Technician credential.