How to Get a Job as an Auto Mechanic
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.
What is the Job Like?
Of the 723,400 automotive service technicians and mechanics employed in 2010, the majority worked full-time schedules (including evenings, weekends, and overtime) for private operations. Close to 20 percent of service techs were self-employed in that same period. A service tech’s typical work environment includes a well-ventilated and lit repair shop with oily parts and tools. These workers bend and crouch in uncomfortable positions under and over various automobiles to tighten bolts, install engines, and perform other repairs. Because they often lift heavy parts and tools in cramped places, service technicians often experience minor on-the-job injuries like cuts and bruises. And the profession, Larson says, is becoming increasingly technological. “Our industry now involves fixing computers,” she says. “We used to be able to fix cars with wrenches. Now, we’re fixing multi-computer systems [like GPS].”