How to Become an Auto Mechanic
An auto mechanic is responsible for maintaining, servicing, and repairing a wide range of different vehicles. They may find themselves working on cars, buses, or trucks. If you love cars, have a knack for problem solving, and seem to be good at all things technical and mechanical, then you should consider a career as an auto mechanic.
Education Requirements to Become an Auto Mechanic
Most auto mechanics learn their trade on the job, however this isn't the only pathway to become an auto mechanic. First, you will need your high school diploma to get a job as a mechanic and this will help you when looking for an apprenticeship or entry level role. Working in a garage or workshop, you'll learn your trade first hand from experienced professionals. While this is a good way to become an auto mechanic, there are often less positions than people looking to learn, so it can become competitive.
Bigger companies have more of these positions available, so check with these kinds of places for jobs. Start looking a year before you finish school. Some larger employers will have cut off dates quite early for the next year, so it's important to be organized.
The second option is to complete some post-secondary education. Employers prefer even their entry-level mechanics to have had some specialized education, so this is not a bad way to do things.
If you want to work as an auto mechanic, your certificate of Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE, is something you will want to aspire to. This qualification will make you more valuable in the eyes of employees. To get this certificate, you need to complete a minimum amount of education in automobile services, and you can do this at a community college or vocational college. Some employers will allow you to take courses in-house. After you have finished the prescribed course work, you'll also need to sit an exam. Auto mechanics with their ASE can be identified by a patch which they wear on their arm. Not only will you be more valuable to your employer, but your clients will be aware of your experience and professionalism also.
Some high schools run programs which let students start learning their trade as a part of their curriculum also. You can take a course in auto mechanics at a vocational or trade school and community colleges also run these kinds of courses. You'll be completing a mix of in class theory work, along with real world experience, which is a good grounding for when you start work.
A good idea at this point is to try and get some weekend work at a garage or repair shop. This is a good way to get a bit of extra experience to put on your resume. You will also get to meet industry contacts which could lead to a job later on.
Auto Mechanic Job Description
Most auto mechanics work in repair shops or garages. Usually these are small to medium sized businesses. Others may work for larger companies. Here are some of the daily tasks you could be responsible for as a mechanic.
- Completing regular vehicle services
- Maintaining record books of services
- Troubleshooting to find out the source of problems
- Repairing broken down vehicles
- Changing oil and lubricants
- Communicating with clients and colleagues
- Keeping an inventory of tools and stock
Auto Mechanic Salary and Career Path
Most mechanics start in entry level roles where they have the opportunity to learn their trade. From here they become sufficient to complete tasks on their own, and as time goes on, take on more complicated jobs.
Some auto mechanics move on to senior roles, may work in management, or become teachers. Others will open up their own businesses, while some may move to similar industries.
Professional development is important, most auto mechanics will take courses to keep their knowledge and technique up to date. According to BLS.gov, mechanics will make between $20,000 and $60,000 a year, depending on skills and experience. Those that are self-employed have the potential to make more.
Auto mechanics receive a good income and secure employment. If you are a mechanical thinker, enjoy working with machinery, and have a passion for cars, then a career as an auto mechanic is one that you may find challenging and rewarding.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics