Electric Car Technician: Training, Courses & Salary
Like gas powered cars, electric cars need service. Unlike traditional vehicles, however, electric cars have more elaborate electrical systems and drivetrains. If you think you may be up for the challenge of maintaining and repairing an electric car, read on to learn about the training requirements and salary potential of electric cars technicians.
Career Information at a Glance
Electric car technicians perform many of the same jobs as mechanics who work with gas powered vehicles: they identify problems, test parts and systems to make sure the vehicle is functioning properly, and replace worn or damaged parts. They must also be familiar with a number of electronic systems that control different parts of the vehicle like braking, steering and accident avoidance sensors. In addition, these specialists must know how to work with electricity. The following table provides an overview of this career.
|Education Required||Certificate or associate's degree recommended|
|Education Field of Study||Automotive technology|
|Key Skills||Mechanical and customer-service skills; strength and dexterity, detail oriented|
|Licensure/Certification||National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE) certification in electric vehicles|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||-1% (for all automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
|Median Salary (2019)**||$63,525|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
What Does an Electronic Car Technician Do?
Like other automotive technicians, an electric cars technicians will inspect, maintain and repair vehicles. The difference is is that these techs need to be comfortable with high level technology as the integrated electronic systems and complex computers that operate these cars are critical to their functioning. In this role, you would work with electronic components and use computerized shop equipment, as well as traditional hand tools.
What Education and Training Will I Need?
Typically, you would begin your education at a vocational school or community college in a program that offers a certificate or associate's degree in automotive technology. You may take courses in engine repair, brake systems, heating and cooling systems, transmission and automotive electrical systems. Once you complete your coursework, it's a good idea to look for an internship to get some experience. After obtaining three years of experience, you could consider getting certified by the National Institute for Service Excellence (ASE) in electric or light-duty hybrid vehicles.
What Skills Should I Have?
As technology evolves, new programs are being developed to give mechanics the background and ongoing skills necessary to work with electric cars. For example, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) has developed programs for students and technicians already in the field to help them stay up-to-date. So a willingness to learn is important. You'll also need the basics such as great mechanical skills (knowing engine components and systems and how they interact with each other), good eye-hand coordination, attention to detail, and physical strength.
How Much Can I Earn?
As of November 2019, PayScale.com reported that mechanics who can work with plug-in hybrid and electronic vehicles earned a median of $23.28 an hour, or about $63,525 annually. The BLS does not have wage-specific data for electric vehicles, but reports that most automotive mechanics earned $40,710 per year, and that many experienced mechanics receive a commission based on the cost the customer pays. This system (known as flat or flag rate) links weekly earnings to the amount of work a mechanic completes.
What Is a Related Career?
Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers build the parts that go into electronic vehicles and use a variety of tools to assemble electromechanical components like gas engines, electric motors and generators. There are also team assemblers who work on a variety of assembly tasks like completing a car's frame and interior. Experienced assemblers usually have the opportunity to become supervisors after several years on the line.