How to Become an Auto Technician
Auto Technician Careers & Degrees

Most vehicles on the road today have probably been serviced by a certified Auto Technician.

Auto Technicians are professionals that provide routine maintenance and repairs to vehicles making sure they are ready for the road and people’s busy lives.

These professionals are familiar with several different auto makers and models and can service many vehicles a day.

In today’s auto industry, Auto Technicians must also be familiar with different technologies and energy consumption familiar with newer car models.

Familiarity with cars running on different energy sources such as ethanol, gas, electricity or hybrid cars is extremely important in the current auto industry.

Auto Technicians can also provide services beyond simple routine maintenance.

They help car owners determine any problems their vehicles may have using a variety of methods to determine the root cause of any malfunctions.

After determining a cause, Auto Technicians can suggest remedies that help fix any major problems.

An Auto Technician’s work is necessary in order to lengthen a vehicle’s longevity, improve gas mileage, and can even help lower vehicle emissions and improve an engine’s performance.

Those who are passionate about cars and want to become an Auto Technician can gain skills in order to work in the auto service industry.

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Education Requirements to Become an Auto Technician

Someone who wants to become an Auto Technician needs to learn the in and outs of vehicles: how they function, the major parts that make a car run and how to service them so they run smoothly and properly.

If a person knows that they want to become an Auto Technician while still in high school, they can join a school that offers the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) program.

The AYES program is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and provides a curriculum that teaches automotive repair, chemistry and electronics.

After graduating from this program, a candidate can search for an entry level position or can choose to continue their education.

Employers are looking for candidates that have formal training.

Candidates can gain formal training by continuing their education at a trade school or community college and earn an Associate’s Degree or certification.

Through a trade school, a candidate will take a variety of courses that prepare them to work as an Auto Technician as well as provide hands on training in the field.

For positions in large city areas, a candidate should seek certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) to be competitive in the field.

Visit their homepage to learn more about their certification exams and study materials.

Auto Technician Job Description

An Auto Technician is responsible for performing maintenance work on a variety of make and models.

They can also look for any problems a vehicle is having and can diagnose the problem and give suggestions to fix the problem.

They use a variety of tools and technology in order to provide maintenance and diagnostics for a malfunctioning vehicle.

They have to be able to work under pressure in case there are several autos to provide maintenance work for.

The following list includes some common daily tasks that Auto Technicians perform:

  • Be able to provide maintenance and diagnostics for a variety of vehicles
  • Provide oil changes, tire rotations, change spark plugs and oil filter
  • Troubleshoot and prevent any potential problems
  • Dispose of used oil and filters properly

Auto Technician Salary and Career Path

Auto Technicians can work for a variety of employers including government entities, auto dealer shops and private auto repair shops.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for these professionals is approximately $16.88 per hour.

Nationally, the hourly wage ranges from $9.56 to $28.71 depending on experience and location.

A skilled Auto Technician is in high demand because the majority of people depend on their cars in order to do common tasks such as going to work or go shopping for groceries.

Car owners need the services a skilled Auto Technician provides in order to lengthen the longevity of their vehicle and get around town.

The job outlook looks good especially for Auto Technicians that have at least an Associate’s Degree and is certified in the field.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$44,890
$24K
$31K
$44K
$56K
$68K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$42,360
Alaska$53,110
Arizona$45,210
Arkansas$38,970
California$50,230
Colorado$49,970
Connecticut$50,860
Delaware$44,430
District of Columbia$61,350
Florida$41,660
Georgia$43,040
Hawaii$48,450
Idaho$43,390
Illinois$46,030
Indiana$41,940
Iowa$43,240
Kansas$40,850
Kentucky$38,360
Louisiana$41,050
Maine$39,990
Maryland$48,950
Massachusetts$47,030
Michigan$43,980
Minnesota$45,820
Mississippi$38,600
Missouri$42,940
Montana$41,740
Nebraska$44,700
Nevada$47,040
New Hampshire$46,480
New Jersey$50,960
New Mexico$42,340
New York$44,660
North Carolina$43,280
North Dakota$47,530
Ohio$41,030
Oklahoma$42,530
Oregon$45,260
Pennsylvania$42,010
Rhode Island$42,360
South Carolina$41,480
South Dakota$41,240
Tennessee$42,090
Texas$45,920
Utah$44,530
Vermont$41,020
Virginia$50,220
Washington$50,060
West Virginia$34,290
Wisconsin$42,720
Wyoming$47,680
Guam$30,610
Puerto Rico$21,300
Virgin Islands$34,680

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $61,350.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $61,350
Alaska - $53,110
New Jersey - $50,960
Connecticut - $50,860
California - $50,230
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, OCC Code 49-3023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does an auto technician do?

Auto technicians inspect, maintain, and repair cars and trucks.

Their work consists of identifying problems, testing parts and systems to ensure that they work correctly, performing basic care and maintenance, including changing the oil and checking fuel.

They also repair and fix worn parts and explain to clients the problems and the repairs that have been performed.

Most auto technicians specialize in a subfield, such as installing and repairing air-conditioning, fixing brake problems, or diagnosing issues that prevent the engine from working properly.

Regardless of their field of expertise, auto technicians need technical skills, dexterity, attention to detail but also physical strength and the willingness to learn throughout their careers and keep up with the latest technological advances.

Customer-service skills are also essential in this field because you may have to interact with clients and answer their questions.

QuestionHow much does an auto technician make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $40,710 as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors; some technicians make less than $25,000 while others earn more than $65,000 a year.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become an auto technician?

If you want to become an auto technician, you should start by taking high school classes in automotive repair, electronics, computers, and mathematics.

You will also need post-secondary training in automotive service technology; these types of programs are available at many vocational and trade schools and can cost anywhere between $5,000 and more than $25,000, depending on the school and the program you choose.

QuestionWhat is the demand for auto technicians?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to show little or no change in the following decade.

As the number of vehicles is expected to rise, the demand for service technicians should grow but the growth will be tempered by the fact that new vehicles are more reliable and require less frequent maintenance and repairs.

QuestionHow long does it take to become an auto technician?

Auto technicians typically hold a post-secondary certificate or diploma which can usually be completed in around 6 months on average.

Two-year associate’s degree programs are also available and can improve your job prospects.

Seeking certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) will help demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

ASE certification is available in 9 different fields, including brakes, light vehicle diesel technicians, engine performance, engine repair, and heating and air conditioning.

To become certified you will need at least 2 years of work experience or a diploma from a relevant training institution and 1 year of experience and you will also have to pass an exam.

If you want to specialize in fixing air conditioning you will also need a state license, which means that you will have to take and pass an exam offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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