What Is the Job Outlook for an Automotive Technician Career?

The job outlook for an automotive technician is expected to be good over the next decade. Many skilled workers are expected to retire over the next decade and will need to be replaced by well-trained technicians. Read this article to learn more about the job outlook and potential earnings for this career. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Employment Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive service technicians and mechanics held an estimated 633,390 jobs in 2014 (www.bls.gov). Most of these professionals worked in maintenance and repair shops and automotive dealerships. Others worked in gas stations, automotive parts stores and local government.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Professional Certification Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exam required for work with air conditioning refrigerants; Master Automobile Technician certification (requires experience and testing on eight automotive systems)
Key Skills Troubleshooting, dexterity and a steady hand, mechanical skills with parts and systems, troubleshooting
Work Environment Most work in good lighting and ventilation; some discomfort possible due to grease and tight working spaces; injury rate and lifting are concerns (though industry is not considered dangerous)
Similar Occupations Diesel mechanic, heavy vehicle service technician, small engine mechanic, automotive body/glass repairer

Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Outlook

Demand for automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow about as fast as the average among all occupations over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS. The number of jobs is expected to rise by 5% over that period, which will result in an estimated 39,100 new jobs being created. Automotive dealerships and independent automotive repair facilities will create the most job opportunities.

The need for technicians will also increase with the number of vehicles on the road. Growth in the driving age population and multi-car families will also increase the need for more technicians to perform tasks, such as oil changes and brake pad replacements. In addition, more repairs and maintenance will be needed as vehicles are lasting longer.

Improve Your Prospects

According to the BLS, you can expect good job prospects if you have the proper education and skills to work as an automotive technician. Therefore, formal training can help you stand out to employers, and the BLS notes that experience with computer systems and hybrid fuel systems can also improve your prospects. You can expect a lot of competition if you don't have formal training.

Salary Information

Many experienced technicians that work for automobile dealerships work on commission related to labor cost. A minimum weekly salary is often guaranteed by the employer. The BLS reports that the median hourly salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $17.84 in May 2014, which resulted in a median annual salary of $37,120. The lowest paid workers earned $10.00 or less per hour whereas the highest paid earned $29.94 or more per hour.

According to the BLS, automotive repair and maintenance companies paid an average hourly wage of $17.82 in May 2014. Automotive dealers paid a higher average hourly wage of $21.15, while automotive parts, accessories and higher stores paid a lower hourly average wage of $16.62.

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