Master Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a master technician. Learn about degree programs, certification, and potential salaries to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Master Technician?

The term 'master technician' is commonly used to indicate that an automotive technician has achieved a certain level of training. Master technicians work to diagnose issues on cars and trucks, usually with the assistance of a computer. Along with basic car maintenance (oil changes, fluid level evaluation, etc.), they will repair and replace parts that include sensors, brakes, and wheels. They also utilize customer service skills to communicate auto issues to their clients.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Certificate; associate's degree
Education Field of Study Automotive systems; engine diagnostics; diesel operation and repair; on-board computers
Key Responsibilities Analyze vehicle performance; repair vehicle parts and systems; perform maintenance
Certification Through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%*
Median Salary (2015) $37,850*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect in a Master Technician Education Program?

Although master automotive technician is actually a professional certification, some schools offer master automotive technician certificates or associate degrees. In a certificate program, you'll study the various parts of an automobile, like the automatic transmission, manual drive train, brakes, electrical and ignition systems. You can expect to complete anywhere from 47-70 credit hours of coursework in a certificate program. It may take up to 18 months to complete a certificate program.

It usually takes two years to complete the required automotive technology and general education courses in an associate's degree program. In addition to courses that explore the operation of a variety of vehicle components, like heating, cooling and electronic systems, you can expect to complete courses in engine diagnosis and repair, diesel engine operation and automotive computers.

In most cases, you'll be required to complete hands-on training, working in a school-approved auto shop. Some schools offer a general automotive technology associate's degree; others allow students to specialize and work on specific makes of vehicles, with education programs sponsored by Ford, General Motors or Toyota.

How Do I Earn Master Technician Certification?

You can obtain this designation through a test administered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). As part of the master automotive technician certification process, you must pass a series of eight tests and have two years of documented work experience, according to ASE (www.ase.com). Tests cover engine repair, automatic and manual drive trains and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical systems, heating, air conditioning and engine performance.

What Jobs Can I Do?

As an automotive technician, you'd be responsible for analyzing a vehicle's performance through test drives and other evaluation methods. You'd examine all parts of a vehicle and perform scheduled maintenance. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that automotive technicians may start out as trainees or technician's helpers and move into more advanced positions as they gain experience (www.bls.gov).

How Much Can I Earn?

The BLS states that as of May 2015, there were 638,080 automotive service technicians and mechanics employed nationwide. Those individuals earned, on average, $19.58 per hour, or $40,720 annually. Most technicians worked in automotive repair and maintenance shops earning $18.23 per hour, while those who worked at an automobile dealership earned $21.34 per hour, according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Anyone interested in an automotive service career can look into other parts of cars to focus their talents. There are automotive glass and body repairers, who restore and replace windshields, windows, and frames. Diesel technicians work on larger engines found in buses and trucks, and there are also technicians for heavy vehicles found in construction and farming.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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