If you’re interested in a career that’s both hands-on and challenging, then you should consider becoming an automotive technician. This is a field that offers many opportunities for growth, and it’s also a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies. But what does it take to become an automotive technician? Keep reading to find out.
1. What is An Automotive Technician?
An automotive technician also referred to as an A-Level technician, is the person who performs preventative maintenance services and repairs on any vehicle in their shop. They are typically trained technicians who know how to work with different car makes and models because they diagnose problems, make repairs, and recommend steps to keep their customer’s vehicle in peak driving condition. They are also the person who performs more complex repairs, including engine swaps and engine rebuilding.
An automotive technician can also be referred to as a mechanic because they’re able to diagnose and repair any problem with the vehicle that they work on, including checking out electrical systems and suspension issues. Technicians are usually required to read diagnostic trouble codes and perform test drives in order to get a complete understanding of what’s going on with the car.
2. Types of Automotive Technicians
Many different kinds of people work in this field, including veterans who are re-entering the workforce after serving in the military. Here’s a look at some areas of specialty within this career path:
Driveability technician: Since driveability technicians work with electrical systems and fuel management systems, they’re able to repair and diagnose different problems related to the vehicle’s computer systems. They typically take care of electrical, air conditioning, and fuel pump issues that occur in cars.
Emissions technician: These automotive technicians work on how well a vehicle’s emissions system is working. They are in charge of inspecting the vehicle’s emissions system to make sure there are no leaks or damage, and if their customer needs an inspection sticker, they might also be able to help with that.
Hydraulics Technician: As the name implies, a hydraulics technician works on repairing hydraulic parts in vehicles. They’re also in charge of keeping hydraulic systems intact and free of leaks.
Off-road vehicle technician: If you work as an off-road vehicle technician, you inspect and service many kinds of vehicles, including commercial trucks and construction equipment. You make sure off-road vehicles are working properly and can handle any jobs required of them out on the job site.
Others: There are some automotive technicians who specialize in higher-end vehicles like exotic cars. These technicians are more common in Europe, where people pay more to own high-end cars that require special services and repairs.
3. How to Become an Automotive Technician?
To become an automotive technician, it really helps to be interested in cars. If you’re someone who loves tinkering with engines and getting their hands dirty under the hood of your car, then this might just be the right career for you. While there are many schools that can teach you everything you need to know about becoming an automotive technician, most people learn a lot of their skills on the job. Many shops offer training to junior technicians so they can become better and more experienced at diagnosing problems, performing repairs, and taking care of customers’ cars.
In most cases, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, as well as some mechanical experience before pursuing this career path. It’s also really helpful to continue learning and developing your skills, especially if you want to learn how to repair different kinds of vehicles. Once you’re able to gain expertise at repairing one make and model, it can open up the door for employment opportunities that you might not have been aware of.
4. Benefits of Becoming an Automotive Technician
There are many benefits to becoming an automotive technician. For one thing, the average annual salary for this career is over $33,000. This can vary depending on which shop or company you work for, but many technicians are able to work their way up to supervisory positions that come with higher paychecks.
Another major benefit of this type of role is that you work with your hands. Unlike many office jobs where you sit in front of a computer all day, automotive technicians are constantly working between cars and other equipment. Plus, if you work for a bigger shop that has various projects going on at the same time, then you’ll be able to switch things up every once in a while.
5. What’s it Like Being an Automotive Technician?
The best thing about being an automotive technician is that you’re able to see the results of your hard work with every car you service. It’s rewarding when cars come in for repairs, and they leave feeling better than before, which boosts the mechanic’s confidence in their abilities. For people who are drawn to hands-on professions instead of desk jobs, automotive technicians are ideal because they get to see the results of their labor daily.
One thing to keep in mind is that car repairs can be expensive. Mechanics don’t always know how much it will cost until after they’ve diagnosed the problem and how extensive it might be. This can sometimes cause frustration among customers, especially if there is a car with major damage that needs to be fixed. In these cases, technicians have to work hard to make sure their customers are satisfied and feel like the amount they paid for repairs was fair.
6. Skills Needed to Become an Automotive Technician
Being an automotive technician requires a lot of different skills that can be developed through your coursework in school, as well as on the job. First off, you’ll need to have problem-solving abilities, so you can figure out what is wrong with someone’s car. You should also enjoy working with your hands and be able to work under pressure during busy hours. If you’re the type of person who prefers to work alone, then this might not be for you because automotive technicians usually work on their own cars but also help customers at the same time.
This career is great for anyone who enjoys working with their hands and getting up close to different types of equipment. You’ll need strong diagnostic skills in order to figure out what’s wrong and know how to fix it. Plus, most shops and dealerships offer training and certification programs that you’ll be able to take advantage of in order to build your resume and gain experience.
7. Where Can I Become An Automotive Technician?
There are a number of ways that you can become an automotive technician. Most people start off by taking courses at a vocational school or community college, and this is often the fastest way to get started because it takes less time than earning a four-year degree. However, if you do have strong math skills, then there are several colleges that offer Bachelor’s degrees in automotive technology or something similar.
Just keep in mind that many employers require some type of certification before you can work on their cars, so it would be wise to check with your school to make sure they offer this training. Additionally, some companies will also require previous experience working with cars or other types of equipment, while others might only hire students who graduated at the top of their class.
8. How Much Does an Automotive Technician Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automotive technicians and mechanics made a median salary of $38,940 in 2012. The median means half the technicians made more than this amount while the other half made less. Many auto shops pay by the hour, so your actual income might vary depending on how many hours you work per week. In general, it’s a good idea to ask your potential employer about their pay scale to make sure you’re earning a fair wage for the type of work that you’ll be doing.
9. What Are Some other Pros and Cons of Being an Automotive Technician?
Some of the pros of being an automotive technician include:
- The ability to work up close with your hands on machines and equipment.
- Hands-on experience that you can include on your resume.
- You’ll be able to see the results of your labor daily since it’s unlikely that cars will break down right before you’re off for the night.
- The job market for technicians is expected to grow by 15% between 2010 and 2020.
Some of the cons of being an automotive technician include:
- It can be difficult to work with different types of car parts, especially if you’re not very familiar with them.
- You’ll have to pay for your own training and certification.
- This is a male-dominated field, so women might feel isolated or out of place.
- It can be physically demanding, which means you’ll need to stay in shape.
- You might not get enough hours at one shop, so you might have to work part-time at multiple shops just to make ends meet.
- There is a lot of competition between high school and college students.
10. What Types of Machines Do Automotive Technicians Work on?
There are many different types of equipment that automotive technicians will have to learn how to work on in order to succeed in this career. In the past, most shops would require you to be trained on at least one type of gas or diesel engine. But now, many places are switching over to hybrid vehicles, which means you might have to learn about electric motors along with the rest of your usual duties.
Many technicians will also have to get familiar with how different types of transmissions work in order to do their job. This includes everything from manual four- and five-speed transmissions to continuously variable transmissions and automatic ones.
11. Where Should I Work As an Automotive Technician?
Some of the places that you might want to consider working include:
- A local car dealership.
- An auto shop like Midas or Meineke.
- State auto inspection stations.
- Professional racing teams.
- Any of the various car manufacturers.
12. Best Colleges to Study Automotive Technician
What are some good colleges that offer automotive technology courses? While many technical schools offer degree programs for automotive technicians, not all of them are worth the tuition. Each student will have their own preferences when it comes to selecting a school to attend, but here are three of our top picks:
– Central Piedmont Community College. The automotive technology program at this school is known for being one of the best in North Carolina. Unlike many community colleges, CCC offers hands-on applications through the use of its fully equipped multimillion-dollar training center.
– Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Georgia Northwestern offers two different associate degree programs that lead to an automotive technology career. The school’s automotive department is equipped with a full-service training center that offers students the opportunity to work on cars in a safe and high-tech environment.
– Western Technical College. This Wisconsin college has been ranked as one of the best technical schools in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. Like many other technical schools, WTC was founded with the specific purpose of educating automotive technicians. The school maintains three training centers along with a state-of-the-art automotive lab.
As the world changes, so do technology. Automotive technicians are in high demand to keep up with this new era of cars and advancements that come along with it. If you’re interested in a career path that will never let you go out of style, then an automotive technician may be your best bet!