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Truck Mechanic


Description

Trucks are everywhere. They transport food, mail, clothing, and other goods across town, across the nation, across borders into other countries. Imagine, though, that all the trucks in North America broke down. Suddenly, we would be missing out on a lot of things we take for granted!

Truck mechanics are always busy. They diagnose, repair and service the mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of big and small trucks. They meet with the driver of the vehicle and try to determine what the problem is with the vehicle. They ask questions and physically inspect the truck to determine the nature and extent of damage or malfunction.

This involves more than just looking under the hood. If the trucks are small enough, the mechanics may raise the automobile above them and remove things like engines or transmissions. They also conduct thorough examinations of trucks from the ground. They repair as much as they can, replace or put in new parts as necessary, and do things like realign breaks, 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. Mechanics tend to specialize, either in truck manufacturers (Ford, Mack), 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 truck mechanic's job is to maintain vehicles. They might only look over a truck, 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.
 
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Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Universal Technical Institute

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:
  • Diesel
  • Automotive Technology
  • Collision Repair

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$22,173
 
Median Salary:
$34,382
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$51,189

  Interests and Skills  
Truck mechanics have good hearing, eyesight and manual dexterity, as well as mechanical aptitude. They are comfortable working on their own as well as working with others. Successful truck mechanics must be willing to keep up-to-date with changing technology. They enjoy precise work that is varied and challenging and are analytical, organized, and methodical in their approach to each task undertaken.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Take vehicle for test drive
  • Read vehicle manual
  • Meet with client or driver to discuss troubles with truck
  • 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 car body and interior
  • Perform oil changes, lubrications and tune ups
  • Advise client or driver on work performed
  • A truck 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.
  • 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 truck 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  
  • Truck mechanics work in automotive repair shops, specialty repair shops, service stations, truck companies, delivery companies, and with other organizations that rely on trucks for transport and delivery.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Truck 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 agricultural equipment technician or heavy equipment technician.
 

  Educational Paths  
Truck 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 truck 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, 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 truck mechanic 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

Matching School Ads
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:
  • Diesel
  • Automotive Technology
Campus Locations:
  • Rancho Cucamonga, CA

 
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

 
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