What Do Automotive Service Technicians Do?
Automotive service technicians perform a variety of tasks, from vehicle inspection to ensuring safety compliance. Read on to learn about job duties, salary information and career alternatives.
At the entry level, auto service techs are responsible for basic maintenance, like changing oil and other fluids and performing safety inspections. Auto service techs also inspect and test-drive new vehicles to make sure that everything's working properly. Technicians with special training are equipped to diagnose problems with high-tech infrared analyzers and computerized gauges.
In addition to their other duties, auto service techs might help run the shop. They can supervise employees with less experience, stepping in when a job requires particular expertise. They also ensure that the shop is clean, that all equipment is in good condition and that all safety protocols are being followed.
Important Facts About Automotive Service Technician
|On-the-Job Training||Two to five years|
|Licensure||Technicians who buy or handle refrigerants must pass the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exam|
|Work Environment||Repair shops|
|Similar Occupations||Small engine mechanics, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians|
Only a high school diploma is required to become an automotive service technician; however, postsecondary training is often preferred by employers. Short-term certificate programs or associate degree programs in automotive service technology are common options. Through both lecture-based courses and hands-on experiences in auto service facilities, students learn about engine diagnostics, brake repair and transmission systems, among other topics.
The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certification in eight different areas of car repair, and some auto service techs specialize in a particular area. Those who have been in the industry for a long time likely have master certification by the ASE in all eight areas of repair. Applicants for certification must have at least two years of professional experience, though some of that time can be waived if an applicant has completed a college training program. Successful completion of a certification exam is also required.
Auto service techs need to be handy with tools and have a detail-oriented approach to problem solving. They also need good communication and customer service skills. Physical dexterity is required to work around and often underneath cars.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive service technicians and mechanics can expect to see an average increase in job opportunities - an estimated 6% - between 2016 and 2026. The BLS also reported that these professionals earned a median salary of $40,710 a year, as of May 2018.
Alternative Career Options
Automotive Body and Glass Repairers
Automotive body and glass repairers replace or, when possible, restore automobile parts, frames, body panels and glass. They often only have a high school or vocational school diploma but also might have completed a certificate or associate degree in collision repair.
Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics
Diesel service techs perform many of the same duties as auto service techs, but they work only on vehicles that run on diesel engines, like trucks, heavy machinery and buses. Only a high school or vocational school diploma is required, but aspiring diesel techs also might choose to pursue a certificate or associate degree in automotive repair, with a focus on diesel engines.