How Can I Become a Vehicle Service Technician?

Vehicle service technicians are responsible for the care and maintenance of cars and trucks. Read on to learn about the job outlook for auto service technicians, detail the education requirements and find out what certification will be helpful to get a start in this field. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Vehicle Service Technician Career Overview

Vehicle service technicians are responsible for most aspects of car upkeep. They perform inspections, diagnose problems and make repairs when necessary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment opportunities for automotive service technicians and mechanics will increase at a rate of 9%, adding a total of 60,400 new jobs between 2012 and 2022. In 2014, the highest levels of employment for individuals in this profession were with automotive service and repair businesses and auto dealerships, according to the BLS. Data from the BLS also shows the average salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $39,980 in 2014.

While the minimum educational requirement for this career is usually a high school diploma, completing an auto technology program and earning certification are the best ways to boost your job prospects.

Important Facts About Vehicle Service Technicians

Similar Occupations Diesel service technician/mechanic, small engine mechanic, automotive body/glass repairer
Work Environment Well-lit and ventilated repair shops; evening, weekend and overtime hours are common
On-the-Job Training Entry-level employees receive training through helper or lubrication worker positions
Key Skills Troubleshooting, dexterity, customer service, attention to detail

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

Formal training to become a vehicle service technician can begin in high school, but many colleges and universities also offer training in the field. Either a technical certificate or an associate's degree is a good place to start. The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation maintains a list of certified schools at its website, www.natef.org. Many major automobile manufacturers have their own specific training programs, which teach technicians how to maintain that product line.

Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers the widely-recognized ASE certification. Although ASE certification is awarded in areas ranging from transit buses to alternative fuels, the most common certification is the Automobile and Light Truck designation. There are nine specialty exams in this field, covering many different car systems. You'll only need to pass one to earn ASE certification. By the time you've progressed to becoming a Master Automobile Technician, you'll likely have passed at least eight exams.

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