Automotive Mechanic

How to Become an Auto Mechanic
Automotive Mechanic Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Successful Automotive Mechanics
Auto Mechanic Salaries
Influential Professional Automotive Mechanics
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for Automotive Mechanic Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How can I become an Automotive Mechanic?

Successful completion of an automotive mechanic vocational program is generally considered the best training for those wishing to pursue a career in this field. Completion of high school mechanic programs in isolation is often considered inadequate training because high school programs vary greatly in quality and scope.

However, high school programs that participate in Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and graduates of these programs are ready for entry level positions. Post-secondary training programs usually provide a combination of hands on experience and classroom instruction. Trade and technical programs provide training for six months to a year before awarding a certificate. Many community colleges offer two year associate's degrees in automotive mechanics with the inclusion of classes in English, math, computers, and other subjects.

Newly hired automotive service workers usually start out as trainees, helpers, or lubrication workers. Sometimes these positions are held by students in formal training programs. As an individual's skill level increases he or she will begin performing routine service tasks and making simple repairs. It generally takes two to five years of hands on experience to become a qualified mechanic who can quickly perform the more complex routine services. Another one or two years is required before most individuals will be familiar with all types of repairs. Specialization in complex areas, such as transmission repair, can take four to seven years of hands on experience to master.

What does an Auto Mechanic do?

Automotive mechanics maintain and repair automobiles and light trucks. The role of those employed in this field has evolved from simple repairs to high level technological work. As a result, automotive mechanics must work with specialized computer and other electronic equipment while maintaining their skills with hand tools. Each new vehicle brought in for repairs presents a new challenge with a problem that must be located using diagnostic techniques.

Diagnostic testing may include test driving a vehicle or using specialized equipment for the specific problem described by the vehicle's owner. Routine inspections for vehicle maintenance require mechanics to test and lubricate major components, usually following a checklist. During such inspections, worn parts may be replaced in order to prevent future problems.

What skills and qualities are helpful to become an Auto Mechanic?

Excellent communication skills and analytical reasoning are important qualities for those considering a career as an automotive mechanic. Thorough knowledge of automobiles and excellent reasoning skills are vital to the quick diagnosis of problems. Those in this field should also enjoy working with their hands. In order to read and follow instructions and diagrams from technical manuals, individuals in this field should have good reading and math skills. Computer skills are also an asset. Due the changing technologies used in vehicles, those in this career must be committed to continuing education in order to keep their skills current.

How much does an Automotive Mechanic make?

In 2007, the median annual earnings for automotive mechanics were $34,170. The middle fifty percent of those employed in this field earned between $25,240 and $45,600 per year. Many automotive mechanics are paid on commission. Under this system, employees are generally guaranteed a minimum salary, but are eligible to earn more based on the amount of work completed.

Who are some notable professionals in the field of Automotive Mechanics?

Jim Metzger works for Automotive Business Solutions, Inc. and is an instructor at the Automotive Management Institute. He is an ASE Master Certified Automobile, Medium/Heavy Truck Technician, Parts Specialist, Body Repair Technician, and School Bus Technician, and has earned an Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) degree. Metzger's 25 plus years in the field of automotive service has given him hands on training and experience that has translated into making him a sought after speaker and presenter within the industry.

Ron Pyle is the current President of the Automotive Service Association. He was elected to this position by the ASE board of directors in 2001. Before taking on the lead position with ASE, Pyle had over thirty years of experience in the automotive industry. Just prior to his current role, Pyle was the distribution network president for CarParts Technologies based in California. He has held several similar leadership roles throughout the automotive industry as well as owned and operated parts distribution and retail companies.

Who are some leading organizations in this field?

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was established in 1972 as a way to help consumers distinguish between competent and incompetent automotive service employees. This organization strives to provide quality auto repair services through testing and certification of auto repair professionals. ASE currently has over forty certification tests grouped into specialties. Nearly 400,000 professionals currently hold ASE Certification, and they are employed in all segments of the automotive service industry. In order to retain their certification, professionals must be re-tested every five years.

The Automotive Service Association was founded in 1951 as an organization devoted to support owners and managers of automotive service businesses in their efforts to deliver excellence to their customers. The ASA carries out its mission through education, representation and member services. Members of this organization receive discounts on products needed to run an automotive service related business; training and education through conferences, seminars, and the Automotive Management Institute; and information in the form of a monthly magazine, a newsletter, and on-line resources.

What are the top cities for Automotive Mechanic jobs?

Two of the top cities for aspiring automotive mechanics to find work are in Texas. Both Houston and Dallas currently have excellent job prospects. Other cities with several current openings include Baltimore, Maryland, Columbus, Ohio, and Long Island, New York.

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