Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

Do you like working on cars and getting your hands dirty? Are you a problem-solver? If so, then keep reading to learn about your career and educational opportunities in vehicle maintenance and repair.

Is Vehicle Maintenance and Repair for Me?

Career Details

Vehicle maintenance and repair professionals diagnose problems and find solutions that keep cars and trucks in working order. If you pursue this career, you will work with a variety of mechanical tools and computer equipment. Your work could involve test-driving vehicles, specializing in certain systems and rebuilding auto parts.

Specializations

Maintenance and repairs are needed both inside and outside of a vehicle. Automotive mechanics focus on diagnosing and repairing the mechanical and electrical components of a vehicle. Some specialties include air conditioning, brakes and transmission repair. Automotive body repair technicians reshape and create new metal pieces to fix or replace damaged parts of the car body. Body repair workers are able to specialize in fixing specific parts of a car, such as the doors or the frame of a car.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that job growth for automotive and body repair technicians was expected to be average from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Workers with formal training and certifications should have the best opportunities to find work in vehicle maintenance and repair. Automotive repair technicians made a median annual salary of $36,710, and body repair workers made $38,850 as of 2013, reported the BLS. Higher salaries were made by shop supervisors and repair managers. With enough experience and capital, repair technicians may eventually open their own shops.

How Can I Work in Vehicle Maintenance and Repair?

Training and Education

Most employers of maintenance and repair technicians only require that applicants have a high school diploma, although completing postsecondary training is becoming increasingly necessary due to the complexity of newer vehicles. Formal training programs can give you hands-on experience in addition to classroom lessons. If you enroll in a vehicle repair associate degree program, you can sometimes alternate between classroom instruction and working in a professional setting such as a car dealership. If you're interested in working on the mechanical parts of a car, you can take courses such as air conditioning and heating systems, electrical systems and brake systems. Automotive body repair programs offer courses in painting preparation, metal welding and plastics.

Certifications

Automotive repair degree programs can also prepare you for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exam. The ASE certification is available for eight different areas of repair. If you pass all eight exams, you will receive the Master Automotive Technician certification. These certifications, although not required to work in automotive repair, are becoming increasingly common and can increase your value to your employer.

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