Engine Mechanics

Engine mechanics work on motors and engines found in equipment such as vehicles, appliances, trains and lawnmowers. Read on to learn more about education and training, employment outlook, job duties and salary for this occupation.

Is Engine Mechanics for Me?

Career Summary

If you're interested in a career in engine mechanics, you could work on car and light truck motors, diesel engines or small engines. Diesel engines are typically found in heavy trucks, buses, locomotives and other heavy vehicles. Small engines are commonly found in motorized bikes, landscaping equipment, recreational vehicles and powered appliances.

Specializations

In the automotive industry, you can specialize in engine work only and become an automotive engine repair technician. Or you could choose to integrate working on engines with other types of vehicular work, such as electrical systems, brakes or transmissions. You might work as an automotive service technician, automotive mechanic, diesel service technician, diesel mechanic or small engine mechanic.

Necessary Skills

To enter into these types of professions, you'll need to show a propensity for using logic on the job, have good mechanical skills and be able to identify, analyze and repair mechanical problems. If you're planning to specialize in diesel mechanics, you might need to possess a commercial driver's license and complete a drug screening.

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics was expected to increase 9% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). In 2013, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an average annual salary of $39,450. Employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics was projected to grow 9% during that same time. Those in that profession earned an average wage of $44,120.

The BLS reported that employment of small engine mechanics was projected to grow as much as 6% from 2012-2022. In 2013, motorboat mechanics and service technicians made a yearly average wage of $37,430, and motorcycle mechanics earned an average annual salary of $35,400. Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics made an average wage of $32,180.

How Do I Work in Engine Mechanics?

Education Programs

To work as an engine mechanic, you can pursue educational programs in engine repair, diesel technology or auto repair, though a college education isn't required for all types of jobs. However, you can enroll in a short undergraduate certificate program to learn how to work on specific engines or systems. If you'd like to earn a degree, you could pursue an associate degree in automotive technology or an automotive mechanics bachelor's degree. Some distance learning or blended programs might be available, such as classes in diesel mechanics, boat motor repair or auto mechanics, though most programs offer hands-on learning on campus, through internships or both.

Topics of Study

Engine repair specialist programs include studies in motor repair, motor systems, power systems and operation systems. If you want to pursue diesel technology, you could enroll in a diesel engine mechanic certificate program to learn how to examine engine failures and overhaul an engine. You might also fix and maintain different types of heavy equipment, such as farm equipment, construction equipment and other heavy machinery. Studies in automotive mechanics repair specialist programs might include removing and remounting motors, fixing drivelines, replacing transmission systems and assessing motor operations.

Certification

To add to your resume, you can gain voluntary certification. The Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certification in various areas of automotive care (www.ase.com). Over 40 certification exams are available through the ASE, some specifically related to particular types of engines or vehicles. Options are available for cars and light trucks, diesel engines, alternate fuel vehicles and electronic diesel engines. Earning credentials in several areas can qualify you for master status. Eligibility criteria for certification tests generally require that you have two or more years of experience.

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