& Diesel Training Schools
- Formal automotive
technician training is necessary in today technology based jobs.
- Automotive service
technicians and mechanics with diagnostic and problem solving skills
and knowledge of electronics and mathematics are in high demand.
- Automotive service
technicians and mechanics must continually adapt to changing technology
and repair techniques as vehicle components and systems become increasingly
- Our Automotive
and Diesel Schools offer current training and certifications to keep
you employed in this challenging career.
car or light truck has broken down knows the importance of the jobs
of automotive service technicians and mechanics. The ability to
diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately requires
good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles.
Many technicians consider diagnosing hard to find troubles one of
their most challenging and satisfying duties.
The work of
automotive service technicians and mechanics has evolved from mechanical
repair to a high technology job. Today, integrated electronic systems
and complex computers run vehicles and measure their performance
while on the road. Technicians must have an increasingly broad base
of knowledge about how vehicles’ complex components work and
interact, as well as the ability to work with electronic diagnostic
equipment and computer based technical reference materials.
service technicians and mechanics use their high tech skills
maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks that have gasoline
engines. The increasing sophistication of automotive technology
now requires workers who can use computerized shop equipment and
work with electronic components while maintaining their skills
traditional hand tools. (Diesel mechanics who work on trucks, buses,
and other equipment can be found in the diesel
service technicians, Motorcycle
mechanic school. repair and service motorcycles,
motor scooters, mopeds, and, occasionally, small all terrain
or electrical troubles occur, technicians first get a description
of the symptoms from the owner or, if they work in a large shop,
the repair service estimator who wrote the repair order. To locate
the problem, technicians use a diagnostic approach. First, they
test to see whether components and systems are proper and secure.
Then, they isolate the components or systems that could not logically
be the cause of the problem. For example, if an air conditioner
malfunctions, the technician’s diagnostic approach can pinpoint
a problem as simple as a low coolant level or as complex as a bad
drive train connection that has shorted out the air conditioner.
Technicians may have to test drive the vehicle or use a variety
of testing equipment, such as onboard and handheld diagnostic computers
or compression gauges, to identify the source of the problem. These
tests may indicate whether a component is salvageable or whether
a new one is required to get the vehicle back in working order.
During routine service
inspections, technicians test and lubricate engines and other major components.
In some cases, the technician may repair or replace worn parts before
they cause breakdowns that could damage critical components of the vehicle.
Technicians usually follow a checklist to ensure that they examine every
critical part. Belts, hoses, plugs, brake and fuel systems, and other
potentially troublesome items are among those closely watched.
use a variety of tools in their work power tools, such as pneumatic
wrenches to remove bolts quickly; machine tools like lathes and
grinding machines to rebuild brakes; welding and flame cutting equipment
to remove and repair exhaust systems, and jacks and hoists to lift
cars and engines. They also use common hand tools, such as screwdrivers,
pliers, and wrenches, to work on small parts and in hard to reach
In modern repair
shops, service technicians compare the readouts from diagnostic
testing devices with the benchmarked standards given by the manufacturer
of the components being tested. Deviations outside of acceptable
levels are an indication to the technician that further attention
to an area is necessary. The testing devices diagnose problems
make precision adjustments with calculations downloaded from large
computerized databases. The computerized systems provide automatic
updates to technical manuals to keep current on problem spots and
to learn new procedures.
technicians in large shops have increasingly become specialized. For example,
transmission technicians and rebuilders work on gear trains, couplings,
hydraulic pumps, and other parts of transmissions. Extensive knowledge
of computer controls, the ability to diagnose electrical and hydraulic
problems, and other specialized skills are needed to work on these complex
components, which employ some of the most sophisticated technology used
in vehicles. Tuneup technicians adjust the ignition timing and valves,
and adjust or replace spark plugs and other parts to ensure efficient
engine performance. They often use electronic testing equipment to isolate
and adjust malfunctions in fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems.
conditioning repairers install and repair air conditioners and service
their components, such as compressors, condensers, and controls.
These workers require special training in Federal and State regulations
governing the handling and disposal of refrigerants. Front end mechanics
align and balance wheels and repair steering mechanisms and suspension
systems. They frequently use special alignment equipment and wheel
balancing machines. Brake repairers adjust brakes, replace brake
linings and pads, and make other repairs on brake systems. Some
technicians and mechanics specialize in both brake and front end
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About half of
automotive service technicians work a standard 40 hour week, but
almost 30 percent work more than 40 hours a week. Many of those
working extended hours are self employed technicians. To satisfy
customer service needs, some service shops offer evening and weekend
service. Generally, service technicians work indoors in well ventilated
and lighted repair shops. However, some shops are drafty and noisy.
Although they fix some problems with simple computerized adjustments,
technicians frequently work with dirty and greasy parts, and in
awkward positions. They often lift heavy parts and tools. Minor
cuts, burns, and bruises are common, but technicians usually avoid
serious accidents when the shop is kept clean and orderly and safety
practices are observed.
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technicians and mechanics held about 900,000 jobs in 2003. The majority
worked for automotive repair and maintenance shops, automobile dealers,
and retailers and wholesalers of automotive parts, accessories,
and supplies. Others found employment in gasoline stations; home
and auto supply stores; automotive equipment rental and leasing
companies; Federal, State, and local governments; and other organizations.
About 16 percent of service technicians were self employed, more
than twice the proportion for all installation, maintenance, and
Other Qualifications, and Advancement Back to
technology and diesel training courses are rapidly increasing
in sophistication, and most training authorities
strongly recommend that persons seeking automotive service technician
or small engine repair complete a formal training program in
or in a postsecondary vocational schools. However,
some service technicians still learn the trade solely by assisting
and learning from experienced workers.
Our web site
provides high schools, community colleges, and public and private
vocational and technical schools that offer automotive mechanic
service technician training programs. The traditional postsecondary
programs usually provide a thorough career preparation that expands
upon the student’s high school repair experience.
technician training programs and diesel programs vary greatly
in format, but normally provide
intensive career preparation through a combination of classroom instruction
and hands on practice. Some trade and technical school programs provide
concentrated training for 6 months to a year, depending on how many
the student attends each week. Community college programs normally spread
the training over 2 years; supplement the automotive training with
in English, basic mathematics, computers, and other subjects; and award
an associate degree or certificate. Some students earn repair certificates
and opt to leave the program to begin their career before graduation.
Recently, some programs have added to their curriculums training on
skills such as customer service and stress management. Employers find
that these skills help technicians handle the additional responsibilities
of dealing with the customers and parts vendors.
programs, while an asset, vary greatly in quality. The better programs,
such as the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES), with about
150 participating schools and more than 300 participating dealers,
conclude with the students receiving their technician’s certification
and high school diploma. Other programs offer only an introduction
to automotive technology and service for the future consumer or
hobbyist. Still others aim to equip graduates with enough skills
to get a job or find money
or attend an auto mechanic’s school.
automobile manufacturers and their participating dealers sponsor
2 year associate degree programs at postsecondary schools across
the Nation. The Accrediting
Commission of Career School and Colleges of Technology(ACCSCT)
currently certifies a number of automotive and diesel technology
Schools update their curriculums frequently to reflect changing
technology and equipment. Students in these programs typically
alternate 6 to 12 week periods attending classes full time and
working full time in the service departments of sponsoring
dealers. At these
dealerships, students get practical experience while assigned to
an experienced worker who provides hands on instruction and
Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), an affiliate
of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
and Universal Technical Institute, establish
the standards by which training facilities become certified.
Once the training facility achieves these minimal standards, NATEF
recommends the facility to ASE for certification. The ASE certification
is a nationally recognized standard for programs offered by high
schools, postsecondary trade schools, technical institutes,
community colleges that train automobile service technicians. Automotive
manufacturers provide ASE certified instruction, service equipment,
and current model cars on which students practice new skills and
learn the latest automotive technology. While ASE certification
is voluntary, it does signify that the program meets uniform standards
for instructional facilities, equipment, staff credentials,
curriculum. To ensure that programs keep up with ever changing
technology, repair techniques, and ASE standards, the certified
subjected to periodic compliance reviews and mandatory re-certification.
NATEF program experts also review and update program standards
match the level of training and skill level achievement necessary
for success in the occupation. In 2002, about 1,200 high school
and postsecondary automotive service technician training programs
had been certified by ASE.
automotive service technician jobs, employers look for people with
strong communication and analytical skills. Technicians need good
reading, mathematics, and computer skills to study technical manuals
and to keep abreast of new technology and learn new service and
repair procedures and specifications. Trainees also must possess
mechanical aptitude and knowledge of how automobiles work. Most
employers regard the successful completion of a vocational training
program in automotive service technology as the best preparation
for trainee positions. Experience working on motor vehicles
in the Armed Forces or as a hobby also is valuable. Because of the
complexity of new vehicles, a growing number of employers require
of high school or GED and additional postsecondary training. Courses
in automotive repair, electronics, physics, chemistry, English,
computers, and mathematics provide a good educational background
for a career as a service technician.
Many new cars
have several onboard computers, operating everything from the
to the radio. Some of the more advanced vehicles have global positioning
systems, Internet access, and other high tech features integrated
into the functions of the vehicle. Therefore, knowledge of electronics
and computers has grown increasingly important for service technicians.
Engine controls and dashboard instruments were among the first
to use electronics but, now, everything from brakes to transmissions
and air conditioning systems to steering systems is run primarily
by computers and electronic components. In the past, a specialist
usually handled any problems involving electrical systems or
Now that electronics are so common, it is essential for service
technicians to be familiar with at least the basic principles
start as trainee technicians, mechanics’ helpers, lubrication workers,
or gasoline service station attendants, and gradually acquire and practice
their skills by working with experienced mechanics and technicians. With
a few months’ experience, beginners perform many routine service
tasks and make simple repairs. It usually takes 2 to 5 years of experience
to become a journey level service technician, who is expected to quickly
perform the more difficult types of routine service and repairs. However,
some graduates of postsecondary automotive training programs are often
able to earn promotion to the journey level after only a few months on
the job. An additional 1 to 2 years of experience familiarizes mechanics
and technicians with all types of repairs. Difficult specialties, such
as transmission repair, require another year or two of training and experience.
In contrast, brake specialists may learn their jobs in considerably less
time because they do not need a complete knowledge of automotive repair.
In the past, many
persons became automotive service technicians through 3 or 4 year
formal apprenticeship programs. However, apprenticeships have become
rare, as formal vocational training programs in automotive service
technology have become more common.
At work, the most
important possessions of technicians and mechanics are their hand
Technicians and mechanics usually provide their own tools, and many experienced
workers have thousands of dollars invested in them. Employers typically
furnish expensive power tools, engine analyzers, and other diagnostic
equipment, but technicians accumulate hand tools with experience.
formal training programs have alliances with tool manufacturers that
help entry level technicians accumulate tools during their training
send experienced automotive service technicians to manufacturer
training centers to learn to repair new models or to receive
training in the repair of components, such as electronic fuel injection
or air conditioners. Motor vehicle dealers also may send promising
beginners to manufacture sponsored mechanic training programs.
Employers typically furnish this additional training to maintain
or upgrade employees’ skills and thus increase the employees’
value to the dealership. Factory representatives also visit many
shops to conduct short training sessions.
who have leadership ability sometimes advance to shop supervisor or service
manager. Those who work well with customers may become automotive repair
service estimators. Some with sufficient funds open independent repair
Outlook | Back to Top
in this occupation are expected to be very good for persons who
complete automotive training programs in high school, vocational
and technical schools, or community colleges. Persons with good
diagnostic and problem solving skills, and whose training includes
basic electronics skills, should have the best opportunities. For
well prepared people with a technical background, automotive service
technician careers offer an excellent opportunity for good pay and
the satisfaction of highly skilled work with vehicles incorporating
the latest in high technology. However, persons without formal automotive
training are likely to face competition for entry level jobs.
automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to increase
about as fast as the average through the year 2012. Over the 2002
12 period, population growth will boost demand for motor vehicles,
which will require regular maintenance and service. Growth of the
labor force and in the number of families in which both spouses
need vehicles to commute to work will contribute to increased vehicle
sales and employment in this industry. As personal incomes continue
to rise, greater numbers of persons will be able to afford the luxury
of owning multiple vehicles, which also should increase the number
of passenger cars in operation. In addition, increasing demand due
to growth in the number of vehicles in operation will be partially
offset by improvements in vehicle quality and durability that improve
reliability and reduce the need for extensive repair and maintenance.
will continue to be concentrated in automobile dealerships and independent
automotive repair shops. Many new jobs also will be created in small
operations that offer after warranty repairs, such as oil changes, brake
repair, airconditioner service, and other minor repairs generally taking
less than 4 hours to complete. Employment of automotive service technicians
and mechanics in gasoline service stations will continue to decline,
fewer stations offer repair services.
In addition to job
openings due to growth, a substantial number of openings will be created
by the need to replace experienced technicians who transfer to other occupations
or who retire or stop working for other reasons. Most persons who enter
the occupation can expect steady work, because changes in general economic
conditions and developments in other industries have little effect on
the automotive repair business.
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earnings of automotive service technicians and mechanics, including
commission, were $18.47 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between
$20.61 and $29.84. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.14,
and the highest 20 percent earned more than $84.66. Median annual
earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of service
technicians in 2002 were as follows:
Local government $23.04
Automobile dealers $84.66
Gasoline stations $18.04
Automotive repair and maintenance $12.77
Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores $15.60
Many experienced technicians employed by automobile dealers and
independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor
cost charged to the customer. Under this method, weekly earnings
depend on the amount of work completed. Employers frequently guarantee
commissioned mechanics and technicians a minimum weekly salary.
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Other workers who repair
and service motor vehicles include auto
body collision school and
related repairers, diesel
engine mechanic schools.
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