Automotive Technology Careers 101
If you're skilled with your hands and mechanically inclined, then a future in one of the many automotive technology careers that exist may be the perfect fit for you. It can be an exciting career choice and financially rewarding as well.
Most people who enter this field either are high school graduates or have their GED, and they have studied some shop courses in school. Beyond that, specific educational requirements include postsecondary automotive technician training that can be obtained at one of many fully accredited trade schools or community colleges across the country. Very few highly skilled mechanics learn only actually on the job in an internship. They train in school for between one and two years.
The highest goal they can attain, educationally speaking, and the one most aspiring automotive technicians strive for is obtaining national certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, also known as ASE Certification. This certification requires many hours of academic class work, as well as hours of hands-on work with many different kinds of vehicles, including cars and trucks. An automotive technician must also pass a written examination to become ASE-certified.
Highly trained automotive technologists can aspire to work in many different automotive technology careers. They can become general auto repair technicians, electrical/electronic specialists, transmission technicians and rebuilders, tune-up technicians, or tire, brake and muffler repair professionals, among other choices.
Depending on their specialty and level of training, typical earnings are between $12.44 and $22.86 per hour, according to the bureau of labor statistics. These specialized technicians can work in new car dealerships, independent garages and repair shops, transmission repair shops, oil and lube repair shops, or even engine overhaul and repair facilities. Some also work in gas stations that have one or two repair bays.
The general automotive technicians have the broadest array of skill sets. They can complete any kind of repair work from tune-ups, oil changes or wheel alignments to diagnosing advanced electronic issues with global position and navigational systems, power seats or high-tech, upscale stereo systems.
Transmission specialists work exclusively on the transmissions of both gasoline and diesel vehicles, while tractor trailer vehicle technicians work primarily on big rigs, such as semis. Other technologists work on heavy-duty, commercially equipped road vehicles, such as bulldozers and steamrollers, since these vehicles also have sophisticated engines and transmissions that require regular maintenance and repair. The tire, brake and muffler repair service professionals are usually the least trained of all the automotive technologists, but with experience and intensive study, they can move up to one of the higher-paying automotive specialty professions mentioned above.