Table of Contents,
- 1 Overview
- 2 What Auto Mechanics Do
- 3 Automotive Mechanic Responsibilities
- 4 Do You Have What It Takes?
- 5 Auto Mechanic Skills
- 6 Steps to become an auto mechanic
- 7 Certification In Handling Refrigerant/Mvac Units
- 8 (Ase) Automotive Service Excellence Certifications
- 9 Auto Mechanic Specializations You Can Pursue
- 10 Benefits of ASE Certifications for an Auto Mechanic
- 11 Auto Mechanic Salaries
- 12 FAQ
If you’ve been excited by cars for as long as you can remember, becoming a mechanic could be an excellent career for you. With drive and dedication, you can easily become an excellent automotive technician with a little education and training.
When something goes wrong with your car, an auto mechanic is your best friend. Serving as a doctor for your car, an auto mechanic diagnoses the problem and provides a remedy. Given the complexity of newer vehicles and vast array of cars on the road, an auto mechanic must have sophisticated skills and a broad understanding of how the mechanical systems work together. Most larger repair shops and dealerships require auto mechanics to have a two year degree in auto mechanical repair. Experience working for an auto repair facility, even as an assistant, will give you an edge, in the job search process.
We’ll cover the hows and whys of becoming a mechanic so you can decide if beginning a lucrative career in this evergreen industry is the right decision for your future.
An exciting career as an auto mechanic could be in your future. This is a career that offers job stability and competitive pay while there are always new openings at a variety of work settings. Becoming an auto mechanic introduces you to an ever-changing job with new challenges each day. This position also provides plenty of room for advancement. Those interested in climbing through the ranks have the option of earning numerous certifications which lead to higher pay and better job prospects.
What Auto Mechanics Do
Mechanics work with all of a car’s parts and systems, from the brakes and air conditioning to the belts, hoses and steering. In smaller garages or companies, a mechanic must be familiar with all of these systems to diagnose customers’ problems, but at larger garages, technicians may specialize in particular areas. Mechanics must be able to use a range of tools — jacks, screwdrivers, electronic diagnostic equipment, etc., and have strong problem-solving skills to find and repair problems.
Automotive Mechanic Responsibilities
Here are examples of responsibilities from real automotive mechanic resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.
- Inspect cars, service and repairs specializing in BMW repairs, manage shop, price and order parts, customer service
- Read and interpret engineering prints and diagrams, knowledge of PLC.
- Replace fuel pumps batteries ac compressors headlights light bulbs oil change transmission service radiator service
- Tune ups, heating/cooling systems, A/C systems, brakes systems, electrical systems and engine rebuilds.
- Perform repairs of all types on all makes and models of passenger vehicles as well as pursued ASE certification.
- Do routine repairs to complete overhauls on engines, transmissions, suspension, brakes, electrical and A/C systems.
- Master ASE certify automotive mechanic.
- Work as an automotive technician specializing in Toyota.
- Perform diagnostic analysis of automotive issues on Toyota vehicles.
- Hand on experience of adequately explaining technical diagnosis and need repairs to non-mechanical individuals.
- Explain technical diagnosis and need repairs to non-mechanical individuals which may include other teammates and customers as required.
- Document repairs, modifications and inspections in accordance with FAA requirements on both paper and in an automate maintenance information database.
- Replace switches, distributors, pumps, linkages, cables, filters, and components of vehicles’ HVAC systems.
- Preform maintenance and repairs on various wheel vehicles, track vehicles, engineer equipment, generators, and HVAC equipment.
- Solve and maintain problems on LTV to HTV, ASV, heat, PLS, HMMWV, and HEMTT.
- Provide customers with oil changes, tire repairs/changing battery replacement/bulb replacement.
Do You Have What It Takes?
According to Dave Kappert, executive director of electronic initiatives at the National Institute for Auto Service Excellence, aspiring mechanics should make sure they’re “not doing this just because working on cars is fun.”
“Working on cars with your pals on the weekends is all well and good, but is this really the direction you want to take?” says Kappert. “Because it does take some initiative.”
He also stresses that a good auto mechanic isn’t afraid of electricity and electronics. “There was a time when you could be an auto mechanic and work on mechanical things and not touch electrical systems, but that isn’t the way it is anymore,” he says.
In addition to being comfortable with using technology, mechanics need to be able to read and understand complex technical manuals.
Auto Mechanic Skills
Having an in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry in addition to soft skills such as communication and problem solving can separate a good technician from a great one. Demonstrating how you possess the basic mechanic skills in the interview process can set you apart from other applicants and really spark the interest of an employer.
First and foremost, automotive technicians must be able to adapt. This industry is constantly changing, and it’s important for technicians to evolve right alongside it. While it can be easy to get stuck in your ways, the best technicians are flexible and ready to take on any new challenge that comes their way.
“We have a program that continues to constantly change. Because of that, our technicians have to be people who can learn something new and adapt in a quick manner,” Mark shares.
Most technicians will tell you that they are never ‘bored’ in their day-to-day work. This is a fast-paced career, and no two days on the job are alike. Whether you’re meeting with a customer, working on a repair or diagnosing a vehicle, you will have to adapt to your surroundings and be willing to wear multiple hats at times.
- Diagnostic & Mechanical Skills Needed to be a Mechanic
When a customer brings in their car for a repair, they are often stressed and overwhelmed. A great technician acknowledges this and is able to find the source of the problem quickly and efficiently. Once they’ve diagnosed the vehicle, they use their mechanical and electrical skills to complete the repair and get the vehicle back up and running.
Auto technicians are knowledgeable about the wide variety of issues that can occur in vehicles and how to solve them. Whether it’s a problem with the brakes, electrical system or ignition, they are able to determine the issue, execute the repair and communicate with the customer throughout the process.
- People Skills
Being able to communicate effectively with others will be key to your success as an automotive technician. While much of your time on the job will be spent working on vehicles, you will also interact with your customers on a daily basis. Your customers will rely on you to keep them in the loop throughout the repair process, and in many cases, you will have to re-train the customer on how to use new technology in the car properly.
According to Mark, “Having people skills, a good personality, a professional appearance and being respectful really go a long way in the industry right now.” Being a technician in today’s world is about so much more than identifying problems and replacing parts — you must also be able to communicate with all different kinds of people in order to meet the needs of your customers.
Along with having people skills, great technicians understand the importance of showing professionalism. Your customers will see you as the face of the dealership or repair shop, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. This means dressing in the appropriate attire, being respectful, showing integrity and embodying your company’s values.
Mark shares that as an employer, professionalism is one of the main things he looks for when hiring. Applicants who come to their interview in nice clothes, bring their printed resume and are able to communicate with him are much more likely to get the job than someone who isn’t professional — no matter how great of a technician they are. By taking these steps, you can become more valuable to employers.
As with any career, problems will inevitably arise in your day-to-day work as a technician. This requires the ability to problem-solve and think on your feet. Whether a repair is taking longer than expected or a customer is unhappy with their vehicle, it’s the job of a technician to come up with a solution that is best for the customer and the company.
- Ability to Use Technology
Changes in technology have transformed the automotive industry. Today’s technicians do so much more than turn wrenches — they work on complex vehicles using high-tech diagnostic equipment. Because of this shift in technology, technicians who are trained to work with the latest tools and equipment are in high demand.
Employers look for technicians who are tech-savvy and motivated to stay up-to-date with the industry as it evolves. Showing that you’re eager to learn and are willing to take advantage of any additional training opportunities will benefit both the employer and your personal career development.
- Work Ethic
Successful technicians have an incredible work ethic. They know that their customers are depending on them, so they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and put in the hard work required to get the job done. Their passion for the industry is what drives them to succeed, and they give their all to every repair they work on.
Steps to become an auto mechanic
- Meet Minimum Education Requirements
The first step to becoming an auto mechanic is earning a high school diploma or GED equivalency. A general math background is essential for this line of work and any kind of training in electronics will also be of service. Some high schools offer introductory courses on how to become an auto mechanic, which include core classes that are focused on automotive technology. The advanced technology in today’s automobiles also requires a knowledge of computer systems. An auto mechanic education program will focus on this area while any background training in computers will also be useful. Automotive technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, which means it is important for auto mechanics to be updated on all the latest industry innovations. Auto mechanic education programs combine classroom instruction with a practical approach, which allows for hands-on learning. Students will actually work on vehicles during their education and learn different repair methods and techniques. There are also programs that feature apprenticeships, where students learn by working in an actual repair shop where they are guided by experienced automotive technicians. When it comes to the hiring process, most employers will seek out auto mechanics who hold an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification, which is issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. There are multiple certifications available and each one will enhance an auto mechanic’s individual standing in the industry. The educational path starts at a post-secondary school and continues with the certification process, which can continue throughout an auto mechanic’s career.
- Find An Auto Mechanic Training Program
To work as an auto mechanic, there is a need for certification and industry training. There are numerous training programs offered throughout the country at colleges, vocational schools and technical institutions. It is important for auto mechanics to receive quality training from a program that adheres to the highest standards of quality.
While there are a lot of auto mechanic training programs throughout the country, not every one of them is the same. That led the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) to develop a set criteria for what is expected of an automotive technician training program. This criteria includes standards for the knowledge and skill level of trained auto technicians. The NATEF approves training programs throughout the country and that includes all different kinds of schools. To learn more about an NATEF program, a list can be located here.
The ASE is the premier name when it comes to certifications in the auto repair industry. The ASE is also committed to furthering education and that led to the development of the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES). This program is offered to high school students who have an interest in pursuing a career as an auto mechanic. This vocational program will fast track students into the profession. To learn more about AYES, a full description can be found here.
Students can also attend a junior college or community college, where they can earn an Associate’s Degree in Automotive Technology. These programs can be completed in two years when students are enrolled on a full-time basis. There is classroom instruction as well as hands-on teaching in these programs. Automotive theories are introduced and students are able to put them to use by working on actual vehicles. Colleges offer various accreditations and approvals depending on the extent of training offered through their coursework.
- Earn Auto Mechanic Ase Certifications
Most auto repair centers place a high demand on ASE certified technicians. This certification is not mandatory, although it is highly recommended. To earn this distinction, candidates must acquire a certain amount of work experience as an auto mechanic. However, candidates are eligible to take an ASE certification test before gaining the required work experience. Once the work experience requirements are met, an ASE certification will be issued. And once that certification is earned, a wealth of new job prospects should begin to present themselves.
There are multiple certifications according to specialty area. Here are some examples of the different ASE certifications, along with their work experience requirement.
- Repair Technician
A repair technician’s role focuses on assessing the problem or damage of a device and implementing solutions for it to function again. Although the extent of a technician’s tasks will depend on the device or industry of employment, most of it revolves around troubleshooting, providing technical support, installing and writing programs, detaching and re-attaching wirings, welding, and even thoroughly discussing problems and solutions to clients. Furthermore, there are instances when a repair technician must work in a team setting that requires coordination and communication.
- Parts Specialist
Parts specialists oversee parts departments at automotive dealerships, warehouses, and smaller businesses. They ensure employers have an adequate supply of equipment and parts. They monitor inventory, work with vendors to get correct parts, and help customers find necessary materials. They maintain records of all customer transactions to ensure they comply with company guidelines and that stock records remain updated current. They work with internal and external customers and suppliers to ensure all parts reach the correct team promptly and comply with local and federal regulations.
- Collision Damage Estimator
Collision estimators, also known as auto body estimators, lead customers through the process of getting their vehicle repaired after an accident. They act as the liaison between the customer, insurance company and parts vendors to ensure the repair process goes smoothly and is completed correctly.
When someone takes their car in for a repair after an accident, a collision estimator is often the first person they will come in contact with. The estimator will analyze the car, talk through the damage with the customer and will differentiate between the damage done to the car in the accident and prior condition of the vehicle.
A good estimator acknowledges that when customers come in with their damaged vehicle, it’s one of their worst days. This requires estimators to have empathy and strong communication skills as they work with the customer one-on-one to get them through a tough situation. It’s their role to be the voice of the company and demonstrate exceptional customer service skills every step of the way.
Parts specialists maintain a working knowledge of parts by staying up-to-date with the latest trends and market information using current knowledge of products, parts, and designs required or available for purchase. They maintain records of parts returned under warranty and ensure that computer systems are kept up-to-date, and track any special orders. Parts specialists need a high-school diploma or an associate’s degree in a relevant subject including mechanics and fluency in the specific parts and equipment they oversee.
- Service Consultant
A service consultant is responsible for interacting with customers and gaining feedback to improve the organization’s services, ensuring the highest customer satisfaction. Service consultants work with the sales team to develop effective sales strategies and pitches to generate revenues and increase profitability. A service consultant identifies business opportunities and research on the current market trends to improve services and achieve sales targets. Sales consultants must have excellent customer service and communication skills and comprehensive knowledge of the marketing industry.
Certification In Handling Refrigerant/Mvac Units
Part of the job duties of an auto mechanic is to handle refrigerant for the purposes of replacing or repairing vehicle air conditioners. In order to perform this type of service, an auto mechanic must be properly certified. Vehicle air conditioners are called MVAC systems and require a detailed process in terms of repair and installation. Because of that hazard involved, there are certain safety standards that need to be followed. The EPA provides a mandatory certification program
(Ase) Automotive Service Excellence Certifications
Certification levels increase with the amount of skill, knowledge and experience that is ascertained by an auto mechanic. There are over 40 different ASE tests that certify auto mechanics in a variety of areas. Here is more about the testing process:
ASE Test Series
- These tests include multiple choice sections that combine technical and practical knowledge of the automotive technician profession.
- There is also a work experience requirement with each test.
- Once a passing score has been earned and all the work experience has been met, a Blue Seal of Excellence will be issued.
- Those who earn a certification will need to pass a recertification test every 5 years.
- Registration fees apply for these tests and that includes recertification tests.
- Become An Ase Master Technician
There are certifications issued by the ASE for those who have acquired the knowledge and skill level to be considered master auto mechanics. To become a master technician for automobiles, auto mechanics must test eight separate tests which include the following:
ASE Master Technician Certification
- A1 Engine repair
- A2 Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
- A3 Manual drive train and axles
- A4 Suspension and steering
- A5 Brakes
- A6 Electrical/electronic systems
- A7 Heating and air conditioning
- A8 Engine performance
There are additional master mechanic certifications for trucks, transit buses, medium heavy trucks and more. These certifications carry a great deal of influence when working on more than just cars. For example, certain companies that perform maintenance on large diesel vehicles will require specific certifications that fall under the E1-E3 designation of ASE’s master status.
Earning a manufacturer-specific certification helps tremendously with gaining employment at a dealership. This type of training certifies auto mechanics to work on a specific brand of vehicle. For example, a Ford dealership will look to hire a mechanic who is certified to work on Ford vehicles. This type of training is available through the Universal Technical Institute. In order to gain admission to this training program, applicants must have completed a post-secondary auto mechanic program. This is a specialized program which helped immensely in the search for employment. Those looking to learn more about the UTI manufacturer program can find more information here.
Before auto mechanics can acquire a manufacturer specific certification, it is important to gain experience working on all types of vehicles. This will serve as a foundation for learning about the specifics of working on a particular brand of vehicle.
- Earn A Manufacturer Specific Certification
- Diagnosis of problems
- Repair procedure
- Design of engine
- Fuel demands
- Vehicle safety system
- Electrical parts
There are different options to becoming manufacturer certified as auto mechanics are not limited to going through a universal program or system. That provides an added form of convenience as auto mechanics generally do not have to travel very far to find a program that provides manufacturer specific certifications. There are many different options available throughout all 50 states.
Many car owners are very particular about who they trust to work on their vehicles. Whether they own a GM, Volvo or Volkswagen, it is usually important that they visit auto repair shops who employ mechanics that have been trained to work on those specific brands. Vehicle owners have a certain level of confidence in auto mechanics who hold a manufacturer specific certification. Meanwhile, some repair shops will only hire mechanics who are certified to work on a particular brand of vehicles.
Manufacturer specific certifications are also available at different levels. There are options to gain a higher level of certification as most car manufacturers offer master technician status. These master-level certifications require a specific amount of experience working with a manufacturer specific certification. That experience usually extends to a number of years. It is an excellent long-term goal and master status is one of the highest distinctions an auto mechanic can earn.
Auto Mechanic Specializations You Can Pursue
The world of auto repair is vast and varied, and there are seemingly endless specializations that a mechanic can pursue. Many trained mechanics find work in one of the fields below:
- General automotive repair
This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing
(1) a wide range of mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance services for automotive vehicles, such as passenger cars, trucks, and vans, and all trailers or
(2) engine repair and replacement.
- Diesel repair
Diesel mechanics repair, maintain, and rebuild diesel engines that power buses, trucks, ships, trains, and other vehicles. To repair engines, mechanics run diagnostic tests, find the sources of problems, and then remove and replace faulty parts. Mechanics who maintain engines may check water-cooling systems or clean air and oil filters to prevent engine parts from breaking down. Because diesel engines are expensive to replace, they are rebuilt at regular intervals, usually after vehicles have traveled more than one hundred thousand miles. Mechanics take the engines completely apart, replace worn parts, and put the engines back together.
Diesel mechanics use many kinds of tools, including pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, grinders, drills, and lathes. They also use testing equipment such as dynamometers, which measure engine power. Mechanics often lift heavy parts, so they should be in good physical condition.
Some mechanics do a variety of diesel engine repairs. Others specialize in rebuilding engines or in repairing fuel-injection systems, turbochargers, cylinder heads, or starting systems. Some also repair large natural gas engines used to power generators and other industrial equipment.
Mechanics are sometimes described by the type of equipment they repair. For example, those who repair diesel truck engines may be called diesel truck mechanics. Those who work on construction equipment, such as bulldozers and earthmovers, are usually called heavy equipment diesel mechanics.
Diesel mechanics work for equipment dealers, manufacturers, or companies that use and repair diesel equipment.
- Small engine repair
Small engine mechanics repair and service power equipment ranging from jet skis to chainsaws. Mechanics usually specialize in the service and repair of one type of equipment, such as motorcycles, motorboats, and outdoor power equipment, although they may work on closely related products.
When a piece of equipment breaks down, mechanics use various techniques to diagnose the source and extent of the problem. The mark of a skilled mechanic is the ability to diagnose mechanical, fuel, and electrical problems and to make repairs quickly. Quick and accurate diagnosis requires problem-solving ability and a thorough knowledge of the equipment’s operation.
Some jobs require minor adjustments or the replacement of a single item, but a complete engine overhaul could require hours to disassemble the engine and replace worn valves, pistons, bearings, and other internal parts. Some highly skilled mechanics use specialized components and the latest computerized equipment to customize and tune motorcycles and motorboats for racing.
- Heavy machinery repair
If you’re a detail-oriented person who likes to get your hands dirty while repairing things, especially powerful heavy-duty tools and machines, becoming a heavy machinery repair job may be a great fit for you. Also called heavy diesel equipment mechanics, they spend their days around large service and industrial machines, ensuring that they operate safely. Keep reading to learn more about their duties and responsibilities.
An important part of confirming the smooth operation of machines and the safety of heavy equipment operators, heavy equipment service technicians and mechanics play a key role in multiple job sectors, including construction, farming and transportation. This job requires you to diagnose issues with equipment, service appliances based on manufacturer specifications and repair any mechanical, hydraulic or structural systems issues you find.
- Aircraft mechanics
General automotive repair people are tasked with making a variety of repairs to the engines and systems of automobiles and small trucks. Diesel repair is quite similar, although these mechanics deal exclusively with diesel engines. Often, diesel mechanics work on larger automotives than a general mechanic does.
Small engine repair is a varied field that includes everything from motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles to some farm equipment and tools. Heavy machinery mechanics spend their time working on heavy equipment such as payloaders, lifts, backhoes, and more.
Finally, aircraft mechanics work on plane engines and systems. Aircraft mechanics is perhaps the most specialized area of mechanics, and it requires a lengthy education and certification process.
Benefits of ASE Certifications for an Auto Mechanic
- An ASE certificate is a good way to demonstrate your ability as a qualified and proficient technician. Your certification shows your customers that you are well-versed with your craft.
- It also demonstrates that you have invested your time and effort into becoming an elite auto mechanic. ASE certifications boost your credibility and reflect a noteworthy achievement.
- These certifications demonstrate your competency. This is why an ASE-certified auto mechanic has good prospects of career advancement. You can improve your chances of higher pay and better job opportunities.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the top 10 percent of automotive mechanics earned more than $68,800 annually.
- To pass the ASE test, you have to remain up to date with the latest trends in your area. Studying for your certification will also boost your confidence in your specialization and strengthen your knowledge in weaker areas.
- The automotive service industry prefers mechanics who have undertaken a certification program along with the desired work experience. An automotive repair facility might prefer vehicle repair mechanics with a certification as it shows their pursuit for learning their craft and gaining excellence.
Auto Mechanic Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of an auto mechanic is $41,400 annually. There is also a higher earning potential in some states. For example, auto mechanics in Washington D.C. earn an average salary of $64,560 per year. The next four states that feature the highest average auto mechanic salaries are Alaska, Maryland, New Jersey and California. There is high earning potential in each state as the individual auto repair shop and auto mechanic certification level play a key role in determining salaries.
Auto mechanics who work in franchise auto repair shops can expect to earn salaries that are more evenly determined. However, private auto repair shops set their own salaries and a lot of that can depend on volume of business. Higher-end auto repair shops typically feature higher salaries. Experience and certification level also factor into how much an auto mechanic can expect to make over the course of a year. Some states feature higher salaries for auto repair shop owners, which allows them to offer higher pay rates to their team of mechanics. New York is the highest earning state for auto repair shop owners in the eastern part of the country while Illinois leads the Midwest, Mississippi leads the south and California tops the west.
A consistent job demand continues throughout the country for auto mechanics. The industry continues to grow every year, adding new jobs at a 1% increase nationally. That increase is higher in some states and because of the high number of auto mechanics, that translates into a lot of new jobs every year.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of auto mechanics work for automotive dealers while the second most popular place of employment is auto repair shops. Next in line is auto parts stores and tire stores. Local governments also employ a portion of auto mechanics and those numbers are similar to the amount of auto mechanics who work in gas.
- How long does it take to get ASE certified?
You can get ASE certified as soon as you pass the certification tests. However, applying for an ASE certification requires knowledge, skills, and work experience in automotive repair.
- Can you become a mechanic without a degree?
You can get jobs as a mechanic without a degree. But most employers prefer qualified, trained, and certified professionals for high-paying, permanent roles in their organization.
- How much do certified mechanics make?
The top 10 percent of automotive technicians had a median salary of $68,800. Higher experience and proficiency can help you achieve a higher salary. Most mechanics also earn extra for working overtime.
- Can I get ASE certified online?
You can apply for an ASE certification online, but you have to be physically present at the test center to take up the exam. Once your certificate expires, you can apply for recertification online through the myASE app.
Is becoming a mechanic hard?
Learning it is no more challenging than learning any other trade.
What’s the highest paying mechanic job?
Maintenance personnel, mechanical engineer, Maintenance supervisor, Mechanical project manager.
How do I learn to be a car mechanic?
Verify Your High School Diploma, Attend an auto mechanic programme, Get a Job at an Entry Level, Take into account earning industry certifications.
How do I become a licensed mechanic in florida?
One year of on-the-job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair.
How to become an auto mechanic with no experience?
Finish your high school studies, Participate in a training course, become certified,
Obtain state licensure, develop your technical mastery.
How to become an auto mechanic reddit?
Complete a high school education and a mechanic training programme, after which you can seek to become a certified professional technician. You can then become entry-level certified, finish an apprenticeship, and be hired as a mechanic.
How to become a mechanic online?
You may study to become a mechanic in as little as six months with online programmes like the online auto repair technician programme.
How long does it take to become a mechanic?
Studying to become a mechanic could take two to four years.
Mechanic training jobs
There are numerous mechanical training positions available, including those for a seamstress, an automotive mechanic, an entry-level mechanic, and a cereal packer.
How to become a mechanic in california?
No formal training or certification requirements.