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Bus Mechanic


Description

Not everyone owns a car. That's why there is public transportation, as well as school buses. People use bus transportation for many reasons, from getting to work to getting to the hospital. But when the buses break down, suddenly our whole world comes to a standstill. Imagine that the city buses, and the school buses all broke down at once?

Bus mechanics are always busy. They work for private and public bus lines, diagnosing, repairing and servicing the mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of large and small buses. They meet with the driver of the vehicle or the supervisor of the bus company and try to determine what the problem is with the bus. They ask questions and physically inspect the bus to determine the nature and extent of damage or malfunction.

This involves more than just looking under the hood. Buses are very large and require a lot of careful inspection. Once they have determined the difficulty, the mechanic can 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 systems, lights, and instrument panels. Some may also mend damaged body and fenders by hammering out or filling in dents and welding broken parts.

Some of the bus mechanic's job is to maintain vehicles. They might only look over a bus, 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 bus.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Entry Level Salary:
n/a
 
Average Salary:
$34,382
 
Maximum Salary:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Successful bus mechanics require good hearing, eyesight and manual dexterity, as well as mechanical aptitude. They are able to work on their own, as well as take suggestions and help from fellow workers. It is important for bus mechanics to be interested in keeping up-to-date with changing technology. These individuals typically enjoy precise work that is varied and challenging. Most are analytical and methodical in their approach to each task they undertake.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Take vehicle for test drive
  • Read vehicle manual
  • Meet with client or driver to discuss troubles with bus
  • Raise vehicle up or look under the vehicle
  • Adjust, test and repair engines, steering systems, braking systems, drive trains, vehicle suspensions, electrical systems and air-conditioning systems
  • Realign wheels
  • Replace damaged materials and mechanisms
  • May work on bus body and interior
  • Perform oil changes, lubrications and tune ups
  • Advise client or driver on work performed
  • A bus mechanic has a lot of tasks to look after. They spend each day getting messy, using their muscles as well as their minds. 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. Bus mechanics often 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 bus mechanics work a 40-hour, five-day week, however, they may have to work some evenings, weekends or holidays, depending on the employer.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Bus mechanics work in automotive repair shops, specialty repair shops, service stations, municipalities (city bus line), private bus companies, and school bus lines.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Bus mechanics may advance to service manager or shop foreperson positions. They can get into working with other vehicles, and open their own garages, service stations or automobile performance shops. They can transfer their skills to related occupations such as automotive instructor, bus driver, car dealer, agricultural equipment technician or heavy equipment technician.
 

  Educational Paths  
Bus mechanics 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 in all areas to become a bus mechanic, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and 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 from, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position however, wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the bus mechanic a certificate of completion.
 

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