Career Overview: Automotive Technician
Automotive technicians/mechanics inspect and maintain cars and light trucks that operate on gasoline and diesel engines, along with the few electric cars on the road. The term automotive technician has evolved because of the increasing sophistication of automotive design and of the tools used to maintain modern cars and trucks. Most vehicles on the road today have many computerized functions that operate through onboard chips and electrical systems.
Shop repair tools include computers that analyze engine performance and problems. Automotive technicians today utilize a mix of sophisticated tools that provide results on a computer screen along with the traditional wrenches, screwdrivers and socket sets. Diagnosing automotive problems may require computerized tools and repair may call for a standard toolbox.
Increasingly, automotive technicians are seeking training in a vocational school or community college. Most programs include extensive time in an auto shop in an internship role. For automotive technicians in many parts of the country, certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is expected.
There are over three quarters of a million automotive technicians working in this country today. About thirty percent are working in auto shops; another thirty percent are employed at dealerships. Seventeen percent are self employed.
This job classification is projected to grow faster than overall job growth. Retiring automotive technicians combined with an increase in both vehicles and drivers will fuel job growth in this area.
Salary Range Hourly Annual
Lowest 10% $9.25 $19,240
Median Salary $16.43 $34,170
Highest 10% $22.72 $57,650
Source: U.S. Department of Labor