Emergency Vehicle Technician Jobs: Salary and Career Facts
Explore the career requirements for emergency vehicle technicians. Get the facts about certification requirements, salary information and career outlook to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is an Emergency Vehicle Technician?
Emergency vehicle technicians maintain emergency vehicles so they can be available and operational when paramedics need them. Their duties include standard vehicle maintenance procedures, such as changing oil, rotating tires and greasing joints. They also make repairs when the vehicle is malfunctioning. In addition, emergency vehicle technicians test and repair the electrical systems that are unique to emergency vehicles, which make them suitable for medical care provision. They usually work in mechanics garages, but they may be called out to make on-site repairs in the event of an emergency.
|Education Required||High school diploma (minimum), technical college program (recommended)|
|Education Field of Study||Vehicle maintenance, automotive repair technology|
|License & Certification||Class B and C driver's license (recommended), professional certifications for different emergency vehicles|
|Job Growth (2018-28)||5%* (bus and truck mechanics/diesel engine specialists), -1% (automotive service technicians/mechanics)|
|Median Salary (2019)||$50,976**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com
How Do I Get Certified?
Emergency vehicle technicians should typically have at least a high school diploma. If you are interested in the profession, you may want to consider taking high school classes involving automotive repair, as they may count towards experience later on. Upon graduation, you might choose to enroll in a technical college with a program in vehicle maintenance or even emergency vehicle maintenance. Such a program can prepare you for certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Emergency Vehicle Technician Certification Commission, Inc. (EVT). You will need various different levels of certification depending on whether you want to work with one, some or all of the genres of emergency vehicles, including fire apparatus, airport rescue and fire fighting (ARFF), police and ambulance vehicles.
How Do I Land the Job?
Most employers will emphasize experience when hiring. While this will seem to hamper you as a novice, usually years of education are interchangeable with years of experience. You can also boost your resume by attaining the additional driver's license classes of B and C. From here, depending on your specialization and ASE/EVT certifications, the more technical vehicle and mechanical know-how you have, the better.
Employers want technicians familiar with safety standards, tools and tool maintenance precautions, vehicle quality grading and the physical demands of being a technician. But most importantly, they will want technical repairs done to required standards in a timely manner. Brakes, valves, transmissions, engines, lights, chassis, hydraulics, pumps and electronics - you should know these inside and out and for all the vehicles you plan to service. Communicating well, computing basic equations quickly, working independently and troubleshooting are all also invaluable skills for an aspiring technician.
What Are My Wage and Future Employment Prospects?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median income for bus and truck mechanics/diesel engine specialists was $47,350 in 2018. They also predicted 5% job growth in the field from 2018 to 2028. Automotive service technicians/mechanics earned a median of $40,710 per year, with job growth expected at -1% from 2018 to 2028. Also, Payscale.com reported that most emergency vehicle technicians earn between $39,000 and $75,000 annually in 2019.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Instead of focusing your career on repairing ambulances, you could consider getting a job as a heavy vehicle technician. In this job, you might work on farm equipment, like tractors, or construction equipment, like cranes. You would be responsible for routine maintenance as well as repairs. The minimum educational requirement for these mechanics is a high school diploma. Alternatively, if you want to get a job in emergency services, you could consider becoming a dispatcher. This position involves answering 911 phone calls and responding to alarm systems by sending out ambulances, police officers and/or fire trucks, depending on the nature of the incident. Dispatchers need to have at least a high school diploma.