Nature of the Profession
The work of automotive technicians has evolved dramatically during the past two decades from mechanical machines to high technology vehicles. Automotive service technicians have developed into highly trained and skilled problem solvers. They use computerized test equipment to inspect, maintain, diagnose and repair automobiles and light trucks. Frequent use of complicated technical manuals is required. Good reasoning ability and a positive work ethic is a must. Other duties include:
- performing service procedures such as routine periodic maintenance
- utilizing a variety of testing equipment, power tools, and hand tools to complete tasks quickly and efficiently
- specializing in various areas such as automatic transmissions, drive-ability, electrical/electronic, suspension or brake systems
Education and Training
The NATEF-accredited Automotive Technology program at Tyler Junior College provides the graduate with the technical knowledge needed to service and repair automobiles. The graduates learn troubleshooting, computer diagnosis, parts matching, and repair of automobile components. The laboratory is designed and operated in a manner similar to that of an actual automotive repair business. The associate of applied science degree and certificate programs provide a sound theoretical background in major automotive repair areas, balanced with an equal amount of hands-on training.
Certification and Advancement
ASE certification has become a standard credential for automotive service technicians. While not mandatory for work in automotive service, certification is common for all non entry-level technicians in large, urban areas. Certification is available in one or more of eight different areas of automotive service, such as electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. For certification in each area, technicians must have at least two years of experience and pass the examination. Completion of an automotive training program in high school, vocational or trade school, or community or junior college may be substituted for one year of experience. For ASE certification as a Master Automobile Technician, technicians must be certified in all eight areas. Skills in multiple auto repair services may lead to increased pay. Experienced technicians may advance to shop supervisor or service manager or open an independent repair shop.
$19,100 - $58,500 per year
Job opportunities for qualified applicants should be very good as some employers report difficulty finding workers with the right skills and education, especially in advanced automotive technology, such as hybrid fuel or computer systems. A growing number of vehicles in use will increase the need for entry-level service technicians to do basic maintenance and repair, and an increasing lifespan of late-model cars and light trucks will further increase the demand for qualified workers. Overall, employment is expected to increase 14% between 2010 and 2020.