Have you ever thought about the people that works on your car? Probably not, but to become an automotive technician, it requires a lot of background knowledge from vocational schools/apprenticeship programs that help you understand how a car works and how to fix the problem with a customers car. Not everyone has the mental and physical abilities to become a technician. Technicians make a decent amount of money and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere soon. The future will still have automotive technicians as long as things need fixing.
This particular career may look more appealing for people who like working with their hands and don’t really like sitting behind a desk all day. If you like using your hands to work, becoming an automotive technician may be a possible career you should check out. Most people wanting to become an automotive technician must complete high school then go through a vocational/trades school for 2 years and through that school; they usually go through an apprenticeship program. This apprenticeship program requires a total amount of 2000+ hours and 144 hours of class time. These hours are required every year you are in the apprenticeship program and the program usually last 2 years. Through the apprenticeship program, people gain enough skill to become an automotive technician . Most companies hiring automotive technicians want to be sure you know the material you’ve learned throughout the years and require ASE certifications. ASE certification stands for Automotive Service Excellence and is the certification you earn from taking a test to make sure you are comprehensive of that area you are taking the test for. These test are over Engine Repair, Automatic Trans/Transaxle, Manual Drivetrains and Axles, Suspension and Steering, Brakes, Electrical/Electrical Systems, and Engine Performance. Eight is the golden number of certifications for an automotive technician, but there is a ninth one that isn’t required for automotive technicians and that is the medium/heavy vehicle repair, since that deals with diesel and automotive deals with engines that run on gas it isn’t required. Automotive technicians and automotive mechanics are two terms that commonly get mixed together. An automotive technician focuses more on the electrical side of a car, while an automotive mechanic deals more on the mechanical side of how a car works. Although they both fix things on a car, the key difference between them is their area of expertise to fix a certain aspect of a car.
Automotive technicians are constantly moving in the shop. An automotive technician must have some dexterity, strength, and flexibility abilities. Dexterity, not only while moving, but also dexterity of the fingers, since they are installing parts on an engine they need to hold the part up and put a bolt through it, which requires some hand stability as well. Strength is required for moving heavy parts from one place to another and flexibility for getting under and around objects in the car. As stated from onetonline.org, 50% of automotive technicians are prone to being in uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time. Those are some physical abilities that allow a technician to work. Now onto some mental abilities required for the job. A technician must be able to troubleshoot a problem in a car. This is done through trial and error and takes quite a long time to figure out the actual problem that is wrong with a car. Finding the problem is half the battle, and fixing it is the other half. Automotive technicians do a lot more than meets the eye. As for the work environment, it is usually well lit and ventilated. Since they work with cars, it is common to work with greasy parts and tools. As with dealing with such parts; automotive technicians have one of the highest rates of injury of any occupation due to working with heavy parts and tools, which could cause cuts, sprains, and bruising. Along with injuries, they must also worry about chemicals and fumes. According to onetonline.org, 99% of automotive technicians say they work with or around chemicals on a daily basis. It is important to use proper protection while working with such chemicals as long term exposure to chemicals without proper protection can lead to permanent effects on the head, eyes, nose and throat, chest and lungs, stomach, skin, nervous system, and reproductive system.
Automotive technicians roughly making $21,500 dollars per year on the low end and $64,000 dollars per year on the high end depending on where you are working at. Pay vary from state to state. Usually the automotive technicians in the high end spectrum work in populated areas and low end technicians work in low populated areas. This makes the average pay around $40,000 dollars a year, which is roughly $19.00 an hour. Most shops have 2 different methods of paying their technicians and that is either flat rate pay systems vs hourly pay rate systems. Flat pay systems means being paid on the job being done , not hourly. Let’s say a job takes 10 hours to regularly do and they do it in 15 hours then they will only get paid for those 10 hours, but if you are an experienced technician who’s worked in the field for a while , you can complete it quicker than the time you are getting paid for and will ultimately be making more for doing nothing. The only downside to flat rate is the fact that during slow periods of work , you will be earning lower paychecks due to lack of work. Hourly pay is getting paid every hour of work no matter what job it is, you’ll still be getting paid hourly. Let’s say a job takes 15 hours and you get it done in 16 hours , you will be getting paid for 16 hours of work, the normal amount of time required to fix something doesn’t usually apply to hourly to an extent. On average, workers earn more through flat rate pay systems than hourly rate pay systems. It all comes down to personal preference when it comes to how you are paid. If you are slower and like making sure everything thing you do is correct, a flat rate pay shop probably isn’t for you. If you are a skilled and fast worked than a flat rate pay shop is probably better for you. Most shops are looking for a mix of both fast and correct. This competition of speed vs proper way of doing things brings with it competition in the workplace. Competition does exist in some workplaces, but mostly it doesn’t really matter.
The future projection for automotive technicians is projected to grow from 2016-2026 on an average of 5% to 9%, which is roughly 45,000 more workers in the career. As of 2016, 750,000 automotive technicians exist. They mostly work in automobile dealerships and independent repair shops. Most technicians go in the field and learn what they can and how it works and later create their own shops from their experience. This could mean everything from fixing modern cars to old rat rods, muscle cars, classic cars, and many more cars from an older generation depending on the owner of the shop’s preference. This diversity in the automotive industry allows for anyone to join and allows for more people to work on all different kinds of cars. Typically older cars only go up in value and newer cars depreciate far too quickly resulting in a lot more shops that work on older cars. Newer cars go to dealerships, which are owned by the car company, to get their cars fixed. Although this career follows an average growth, most people think automotive technicians will become a thing of the past due to technology advancement, but that simply isn’t true. If something exist, it will eventually break. With new modern technology, automotive technicians will be working more on the electrical side of things more than the mechanical side of things. Cars may last longer since they are more reliable, but eventually it will break and an automotive technician will be happy to fix it for you. Most people complain about the cost to fix a car, but they just don’t understand the amount of work/labor that goes into fixing a car. Although you might hate Automotive technicians for charging too much, they aren’t monkeys who turn wrenches all day , they most likely have a family to feed and bills to pay too.
In conclusion, becoming an automotive technician is a lot harder than meets the eye. Whether you work on older cars or newer cars, you still fix people’s problems. Not everyone can troubleshoot a problem themselves and fix it and that’s why automotive technicians exist. Through the training they had received in a vocational/apprenticeship program, they can now fix peoples cars. Although being an automotive technician requires dexterity, strength, flexibility, mental and physical abilities, it is more about what you learned and how you apply what you learned from school to fix someone’s car. Whether you work at a dealership or own your own shop, it doesn’t matter, you’re still fixing people’s car. With more and more cars coming on the road everyday, it looks like automotive technicians aren’t going anywhere, at least for now. You never know what the future holds for any career.