Careers: Auto Mechanic

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Speed and accuracy in diagnosis and quoting prices to the customer are crucial if the mechanic intends to keep long-term clients. The mechanic examines the engine while it is running if possible to see if his initial assumptions are correct. Electronic diagnostic equipment is useful but the good mechanic can tell a lot by using eyes, ears--even nose--as he searches for problems and potential hazards. Sometimes he repairs parts, but if the part is worn or damaged, he replaces it. Some mechanics compare their field to that of the physician, because most people come in only when their car is in dire straits, not when regular preventive maintenance could have avoided the problems altogether.

When people come in for an automotive check-up, mechanics often replace worn parts before they become hazardous to the driver, even though drivers can be suspicious of mechanics who recommend the replacement of parts that haven't stopped functioning. The best mechanics have mastery of a wide variety of integrated skills: electrical systems a car's wiring is more complicated than an average home's ; computerized electronics a television set seems simple by comparison ; fuel systems and refrigeration a car's "plumbing" is a Byzantine maze of tubes.

Auto mechanics proudly compare themselves to doctors though not, unfortunately, in salary range , since they mainly see people with complaints; but whereas the human body and its problems have remained essentially unchanged for millennia, the designs of cars change every year.

The Benefits of Automotive Technician Careers

As a result, the job requires more preparation than ever before. More and more, cars are controlled by electronic instruments, so mechanics are using computers constantly.

A Day in the Life of a Auto Mechanic

Most auto mechanics intern while still in automotive repair school, then work full time at the same dealerships. They read trade papers daily to keep abreast of changes and trends in their industry. As they gain experience they can move into higher-paying, specialized positions. They can also rise to the ranks of supervisor or manager, particularly if they have strong interpersonal skills to calm cranky customers who are displeased by high service bills and inconvenience.

Paying Your Dues The days of the uneducated grease monkey are over. Aspiring auto mechanics must have increasingly sophisticated vocational skills and must constantly adapt to continually changing technology. The integration of computers in automobiles means mechanics must be familiar with complicated new systems.

While this emphasis on ongoing training intimidates some, most soon find that motivation and an enthusiastic instructor can help.

Steer your career in the right direction.

Students begin their training by studying car processes in manuals and then work on older cars. Most mechanics find themselves in technical educational programs after graduating high school, but a few high schools offer four-year automotive programs that culminate in certification. All auto mechanics are required to be certified not by law, but by employers--few will hire uncertified personnel. To obtain certification, students spend over 1, hours working on cars and must pass a written exam. There are test preparation guides for all certifying exams.

Community college programs encourage students to complete an applied science degree and then acquire an automotive technology certificate. A number of training programs work with local shops to place students in internships with car dealerships or service centers during their studies. Most mechanics are responsible for obtaining their own sets of tools, but employers are responsible for supplying large power tools and electronic testing equipment.

Automotive Career Paths |

Some shops require union membership. As cars entered mass production and the manufacturing process grew more complex, owners came to rely increasingly on specialized auto mechanics. By the s the computer had become an integral part of automotive design and troubleshooting.

Just five years ago, fewer than 20 percent of the parts of a car were computerized, whereas now over 80 percent are, a situation that has forced mechanics to update their skills. One community college instructor said that every one of his students who completes his program gets a job.

Currently, there is a shortage of approximately 60, auto mechanics. The program taught by ASE certified instructors takes takes 51 weeks to complete. The classrooms are outfitted by top manufacturers. The program prepares students to take ASE certification examinations. Universal Technical Institute reports to have a nationwide network of companies seeking to hire its graduates. The institute also reports four out of five graduates obtain employment in careers in their field of study.

PDI Technician

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is the standard credential for service technicians. Many employers require automotive service mechanics become certified. The U. Environmental Protection Agency requires all technicians who purchase or work with refrigerants be licensed in proper refrigerant handling.

Full-time versus part-time: Most automobile mechanics work full-time and many auto mechanics work evenings or weekends. Overtime is common. Work location: Most automotive mechanics work indoors in repair shops. A lot of mechanics work for dealerships. Here are several websites we consider among the best resources for researching automotive mechanic careers:.

Automotive Engineering - Careers and Where to Begin

The NATEF website provides information about careers accredited programs and the accreditation process. You can use the website to find an accredited program in a specific state.

Automotive Technician

Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state. Shows an introduction to the work for an auto mechanic. Created for the US Department of Labor. Load More.

Gives basics of auto tools equipment and practices used in repair including: tools; fasteners; measurements; machining; gaskets; adhesives; jacks; presses; cleaning; service information systems; manuals; shop procedures; and safe practices.