What Does An Auto Mechanic Do?
Auto mechanics (sometimes called automotive service technicians) have a lot of opportunities to take their love for cars and turn it into a lifetime hobby that pays!
Whether you prefer the thrill of working on race cars or the traditional shop or dealership car mechanic, this is a field that can bring a great salary and potential for advancement.
As an auto tech, you will be responsible for working on a variety of different parts of a car. From basic maintenance to engine repair, auto techs have very important jobs since they essentially are responsible for the safety of drivers on the road.
Some typical day-to-day activities might include:
- Safety checks to make sure all components are working properly
- Oil changes, tire rotations, and other standard maintenance items
- Talk to customers about the issues they are having so you can better diagnose
- Run computerized diagnostics
- Keep logs and information about the work that was done
These are more common duties – but you may have to jump in on other activities as well when needed.
Becoming an auto mechanic can also lead to other mechanic prospects too! If you learn you love the mechanics of a car, you might want to consider becoming a diesel mechanic or if you are a boat lover – marine mechanic is another great option!
How To Become An Auto Mechanic
Becoming an auto mechanic typically requires graduating high school, attending a trade school to learn mechanic skills, and then becoming ASE certified.
Educational requirements will vary greatly depending on where you work. Working on a vehicle like a Mercedes or BMW may require more education than a Hyundai for example. The higher-end cars may have much more complex systems that require deeper skills in electronics and more.
Don’t love school?
Then you will be happy to know you can learn to be a mechanic with very little secondary education.
Below are the suggested steps to becoming a mechanic.
- Complete High School or GED (highly recommended)
- Complete a mechanics certification program
- Complete an apprenticeship
- Become ASE certified
While there is no expectation that you need further education after the ASE certification it does not mean you should not invest in your future by taking some additional classes. The more you learn, the more you learn!
It will be much easier to land a great job if you have a certificate from an auto mechanic program or even better a 2-year degree from a community college.
High School Students
If you are a current high school student then we would recommend you take computer and math classes – and if your school offers an automotive shop then that would be a great asset as well. Once you graduate high school you can consider some of the other next steps below.
Auto Mechanic Certification
Definitely recommended and will make it much easier to find a job. You will need a high school diploma or GED to attend a certification program, so be sure you get those first.
Most certification programs to be able to work as a car mechanic will include a mix of classroom and hands-on training. You will learn the basics of how to repair and maintain cars and will learn to use a variety of tools and computer technologies.
Associate’s Degree in Auto Mechanics
An associate’s degree is not required in most cases but some dealerships and manufacturers do prefer it. Automotive technology classes are usually offered at a community college or in specific mechanical schools that focus on these programs.
Most associate degree programs take about 2 years to complete but you will come out with more experience than those that only have a certification which can bring much more opportunity for you.
You will need a GED or high school diploma to enroll.
You will take a variety of classes that can include things like steerings systems, brake systems, and manual transmission as well as some more common classes like math and possibly engineering or computers. All of these play together to make you a stronger candidate for future employers.
Related: Are auto mechanics blue collar?
Auto Mechanic Trade Schools
Below are some auto mechanic schools that are located near you!
Just hit the request information button and have them contact you with more information regarding enrollment, fees, and more!
No High School Diploma? No Experience? No Problem!
If you have been wondering how to become a mechanic without a high school diploma or experience, we have some recommendations for you.
It is not easy to land jobs without a high school diploma, but it can be done if you are persistent and hard-working.
Below are some recommendations for becoming a car mechanic with no experience or high school diploma.
- Most vocational schools will not take students without a high school diploma. But you should call a few and see if they will make an exception! If you have a good reason for not finishing school they may work with you.
- If you cannot find a school then the next step is to find a local mechanic shop or dealer that would be willing to take you on as an apprentice. This will be key to landing a more permanent paid position.
- Proving you can do the work, and have the ability to learn can be a chance to succeed without a diploma.
- Once you have some experience and feel ready you can then look into studying to get your ASE certification. Study hard and pass that test and you may now have many more opportunities waiting for you!
Given the lack of skilled technicians, there is no better time to jump into this career – even with no education or experience.
Recommended Skills For Auto Mechanics
Having a love of cars is only a part of the bigger picture to be successful in this career!
Below are some of the skills and personality traits that will typically make someone more successful in this career path and make you more interesting to potential employers.
While some mechanics have no interaction with customers – many do, so it is essential to make sure you have the patience and communication skills needed to help a customer. You may need to help them diagnose their issues and explain in detail what you need to do to fix the problem! You also need to be able to communicate with your co-workers too.
Definitely not a job for the weak! Having some strength will go far with this job. From turning a wrench on very tight nuts and bolts to lifting big parts you will get a workout on most days.
Pros & Cons Of Being An Auto Mechanic
- Good earning potential
- No advanced degree required
- Can be an entrepreneur and own a shop
- Job stability
- Working nights and weekends is common
- Injuries are a risk
- Physical strain on the body can result in issues as you age
- Changing technology in cars requires constant education
How Much Do Auto Mechanics Make?
The average median salary for a car technician is $46,880. Median means that half of the workers in the industry earned more and half earned less.
This salary range is based on a few factors:
- Location is a factor. Auto mechanics NY may make a lot more than a mechanic in KY doing the same job.
- Experience plays a large part. Starting out you will make much less, but after proving your value and gaining experience you will continue to see your salary increase.
- Where you work. Used car websites like Carvana and Autotrader need mechanics, but may not pay as much as a dealership or private mechanic shop.
Becoming a Lamborghini mechanic, or working with some other high-end brand can be much more lucrative. Even working on a team for a race car driver can be pretty lucrative, but comes with a lot of stress.
Both of these options will require more work and more experience to land the best wages, but the prestige and money just might be worth it.
On a personal note, we had a friend who worked for Toyota for over 20 years and was making well-over 6-figures when he retired. So, the money is there if you are willing to work hard!
Auto Mechanic Job Outlook
The general outlook for auto mechanics is on the decline but by a minimal amount.
Newer cars typically have advanced features that require much less general maintenance and repairs which will affect the industry. There is also the growth of electric vehicles as well which will affect long-term career growth.