What Does an Auto Technician Do?

We've probably all dealt with auto technicians or auto mechanics before, but you may not know what you'd do all day after earning a certificate or an associate's degree in automotive technology. If so, feel free to buckle in and take a ride with us as we look at the job of an auto technician! Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

At first glance, you may think that calling repairmen 'auto technicians' instead of 'mechanics' is just a change of words. In fact, this reflects the growing role of technology in car repair. Auto technicians generally must be familiar with the complicated electronics systems used to diagnose problems with your automobile. That's because in many modern cars, everything from the steering to the transmission is controlled by computer. Of course, some cars also have built-in GPS or wireless systems that auto technicians also need to understand.

Once they've got your problem narrowed down, auto technicians are responsible for figuring out the best way to get you back on the road. After finding out whether your gearbox can be repaired or whether it needs to be replaced, auto technicians get their hands dirty to fix it. Auto technicians or mechanics may or may not specialize in their repair work -- for example, as transmission specialists, air conditioning experts, or car tuners. Whether generalists or specialists, they'll know where the wrench goes to get your car running again.

Important Facts About Auto Technicians

On-the-Job TrainingLong-term
Required EducationHigh school diploma or GED
CertificationRequired by many employers
Key SkillsMechanical, dexterity and trouble-shooting skills

Education and Training

Would-be auto technicians can get educated at a community college. Your local auto shop's auto technicians may hold a certificate in automotive technology, an Associate of Science in Automotive Technology, or a similar degree.

Employment Opportunities

Unsurprisingly, most auto technicians work in car shops and garages. Specialization in individual car systems, like air conditioning or transmissions, is more common in larger shops. Auto mechanics in smaller shops may be trained as more general auto technicians, able to diagnose and repair a wide variety of problems equally well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of all kinds of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to increase by 9% during the 2012-2022 decade, a rate consistent with the average projected for all occupations.

Salary Information

The BLS published in May 2014 that the median annual salary earned by auto service techs and mechanics was $37,120. According to BLS statistics, such technicians and mechanics employed by the repair and maintenance industry earned an average salary of $37,060 a year, while mechanics and techs working for dealerships averaged $44,000 a year in 2014. The BLS also indicated as recently as May 2014 that the majority of automotive technicians earn between $20,800 and $62,280 a year.

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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Popular Schools

  • Universal Technical Institute

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    • Certificates

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    • Arizona: Avondale, Phoenix
    • California: Avondale, Phoenix, Long Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, Sacramento
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    • Texas: Avondale, Phoenix, Long Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, Sacramento, Orlando, Lisle, Mooresville, Bloomfield, Exton, Houston, Irving
  • Lincoln Tech

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    • Certificates

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    • Maryland: Columbia
  • Penn Foster

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    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

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  • New England Institute of Technology

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    • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • Ferris State University

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    • Michigan: Big Rapids
  • Southern Illinois University

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    • Illinois: Carbondale
  • Pearl River Community College

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    • Mississippi: Poplarville
  • Southwestern College

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    • California: Chula Vista
  • Valdosta State University

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    • Georgia: Valdosta