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Automotive Service Technician


Description

Transportation is used for many reasons, from getting to work to driving to the hospital. But when someone's vehicle breaks down, suddenly the whole world comes to a standstill. Imagine that someone's car breaks down the same day as the city buses, the taxis, and the subway, all at once - What would they do? In our vast country, everyone uses mechanical transport to get around, at least once in a while.

That means automotive service technicians are always busy. They look after people's vehicles as they diagnose, repair and service the mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of cars, buses and trucks. They meet with the driver of the vehicle and try and determine what the problem is with the vehicle. They ask questions and physically inspect the car to determine the nature and extent of damage or malfunction.

This involves more than just looking under the hood. Often, the technicians raise the automobile above them and remove things like engines or transmissions. They repair as much as they can, replace or put in new parts as necessary, and do things like realign brakes, replace shock absorbers, and rewire ignition system, lights and instrument panels. Some may also mend damaged body and fenders by hammering out or filling in dents and welding broken parts. Technicians tend to specialize, either in car types (Ford, Honda), or in system (engine and fuel, or brakes). Those in smaller shops will look after more duties than those in larger shops.

Some of the automotive service technician's job is to maintain vehicles. They might only look over a car, and change some oil, but other than that pronounce a clean bill of health. Both the preventative and the restorative treatments are important to maintaining a healthy car.

Traditionally, this is a field dominated by men, but that tradition is changing. More women are finding a place for themselves in the world of mechanics. It doesn't matter what your gender is as an automotive service technician as long as you are analytical, patient and have a passion for cars.
 
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UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Automotive Technician (9-Month Diploma Program)

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$30,596
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in working as an automotive service technician? These individuals require good hearing, eyesight and manual dexterity, as well as mechanical aptitude. They should be able to work on their own, as well as take suggestions and help from fellow workers. Automotive service technicians should be interested in keeping up to date with changing technology and enjoy precise work that is varied and challenging. They should be analytical, fit and methodical in their approach to each task.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Take vehicle for test drive
  • Read vehicle manual
  • Meet with client to discuss troubles with vehicle
  • Raise vehicle up or look under the hood
  • Adjust, test and repair engines, steering systems, braking systems, drive trains, vehicle suspensions, electrical systems and air-conditioning systems
  • Re-align wheels
  • Replace damaged materials and mechanisms
  • May work on car body and interior
  • Perform oil changes, lubrications and tune ups
  • Advise customers on work performed
  • An automotive service technician has a lot of tasks to look after. They solve difficult as well as obvious problems, ensuring that a vehicle is safe and driveable. They also must communicate clearly to the client about the problems and adjustments made. They do not get to travel, but may work outside on nice days.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Automotive service technicians work in automotive repair shops, specialty repair shops, service stations, car and truck dealerships, and large organizations that own fleets of vehicles like bus lines, taxicab companies and rental car dealerships.
  • They work in teams, but may work on certain projects alone. They work in workshops which are usually noisy and dirty, exposed to exhaust and power tools. Most automotive service technicians work a 40-hour, five-day week, however, they may have to work some evenings, weekends or holidays, depending on the employer.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Automotive service technicians may advance to service manager or shop foreperson positions. Some open their own garages, service stations or automobile performance shops.
 

  Educational Paths  
Automotive service technicians receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training with classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position however wages are about 50% less of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the automotive service technician with a certificate of completion.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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UEI College  Online

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Automotive Technician (9-Month Diploma Program)
Campus Locations:
  • Gardena, CA

 
Universal Technical Institute  Online

At UTI, you won’t just train for a career. You’ll train for success. The hands-on training and high-tech skills you’ll get at UTI will put you on the fast track to a rewarding career as a professional technician.

Programs Offered:
  • Automotive Technology
  • Diesel
Campus Locations:
  • Rancho Cucamonga, CA

 
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