What Does an Automotive Apprentice Do?

Automotive apprentices train for journeyman positions in the field. Get more information about the specific training that apprentices receive over the course of one of these programs. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What to Expect From an Automotive Apprenticeship Programs

Automotive apprentices are trained to become professional auto mechanics. While students gain the same general skills in each program, it is important to note that there are several types of programs with different requirements. Regardless of the program, those who finish have the necessary experience to get a job in the field.

Important Facts About Automotive Apprenticeship Jobs

Prerequisites May include high school diploma or GED, valid driver's license, good physical condition, not colorblind
Program Length Usually 8000 hours, 4 years
Expected Pay May vary by state - anywhere from 67% to 95% of journey-level rate; increases over the course of the apprenticeship
Work Environment Full-time work in repair shops, sometimes on nights and weekends
Continuing Education Options Associate's or bachelor's degree in automotive technology
Professional Certification Available from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in nine specialty areas: automatic transition/transaxle, brakes, light vehicle diesel engines, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, engine repair, heating and air-conditioning, manual drive train and axles, and suspension and steering.

Hands-On Automotive Training

Automotive apprenticeships generally begin with a basic introduction new vehicle service, installation of accessories, and vehicle body service. New apprentices also gain familiarity with the basic routines and practices of the body shop in which they are working. From there, they start getting in-depth, hands-on training working with every part of a motor vehicle: the brakes, chassis, clutch, transmission, rear axle, power systems, electric systems, and hydraulic systems. Apprentices can also expect to spend a significant amount of their time on motor tuning and emissions, learning to perform tune-ups and troubleshooting mechanical and drivability issues.

Additional Coursework

Automotive apprenticeship programs require students to take classes at a local community college. This supplemental training must be in subjects related to the trade, so it can serve to augment the practical experience the student gets from full-time apprenticeship work. In total, students must complete 144 to 216 credit hours of classroom work per year.

Brand-Focused Apprenticeships

There are some apprenticeships that are sponsored by specific companies. In these programs, students build the same maintenance and repair skills that they develop in traditional apprenticeship programs, but their work is limited to one brand of car. Often, apprentices continue to work within the company when they finish.

Future Employment Opportunities

Upon completion of an automotive apprenticeship programs, individuals can find jobs as automotive service technicians and mechanics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage among all of these workers was $37,850 per year in 2015. Job growth is expected to be 5% from 2014 to 2024, which is as fast as the national average.

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