(5.4 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||124,800|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Social Services Jobs||#19|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#79|
From testing car parts and systems to ensure that they operate properly, to replacing or repairing worn brake pads and wheel bearings, automotive service technicians play a crucial role in ensuring that drivers safely arrive at their intended destination. Diane Larson, owner of auto service and repair shop Larson’s Service Inc. in Peabody, Mass., says a mechanic’s work routine runs the gamut and every day on the job is unique. “Each day typically brings them some type of surprise or challenge, whether it be finding a water pump ... that was leaking or [addressing] rust problems.” Automotive service technicians and mechanics might work at gasoline stations or at automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores. But an overwhelming majority of them work in the automotive repair and maintenance industry and for automobile dealers. Unlike diesel service technicians and mechanics, automotive services technicians and mechanics repair and inspect all types of vehicles—not just those that contain diesel engines.
Automotive services technicians and mechanics held 723,400 jobs in 2010. Their industry is on track to expand 17 percent by 2020, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. The number of vehicles (particularly late-model cars and light trucks with longer lifespans) continues to rise; in tandem with the need for entry-level techs capable of providing basic maintenance and repair services.
The average mechanic and automotive technician earned $36,180 in 2011. The highest earners made about $59,600, while the lowest-paid took home $20,620 during the same period. Top earners in the profession worked the aerospace product and parts manufacturing, computer systems design, and related services industries. The highest-paying metro areas include Anchorage, Alaska, San Francisco, and San Jose, Calif.
After earning a high school degree or its equivalent, prospective auto mechanics should seek additional training to make themselves more marketable to employers. Many employers prefer to hire a service tech who has completed a training program at a vocational school or postsecondary learning institution. Typically, service technicians undergo on-the-job training as part of a formal education program. After gaining two to five years of hands-on experience, these newcomers become fully-fledged technicians. They typically begin as trainee techs, technician’s helpers, or lubrication workers, and learn virtually every type of repair in a one- to two-year time frame. Newly hired auto technicians should seek industry certification once they are brought on board.
Aside from mechanical and technical skills, service technicians should also fine-tune their customer-service skills. Because they often discuss automotive problems with their customers, a courteous demeanor and sound listening skills behoove those interested in breaking into the profession. Troubleshooting prowess or the ability to identify and fix problems in complex mechanical and electronic systems is also a must for service technicians.
|Stress Level||Above Average|
Last updated by Jessica Harper.