Career Spotlight: Automotive Service Technician

What do automotive service technicians and mechanics do? They inspect, run diagnostic tests on, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.  

Duties

Automotive service technicians and mechanics typically do the following:

  • Test parts and systems to ensure that they are working properly
  • Identify mechanical problems, often by using computerized diagnostic equipment
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined
  • Test and lubricate the vehicle's engine and other major components
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including oil changes, tune-ups, and tire rotations
  • Repair or replace worn parts, such as brake pads and wheel bearings
  • Disassemble and reassemble parts
  • Use testing equipment to ensure that repairs and maintenance are effective
  • Explain to clients their automotive problems and the repairs done on their vehicles

Service technicians not only work on traditional mechanical components, such as engines, transmissions, radiators, belts, and hoses, they must also be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems. Braking, transmission, and steering systems, for example, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components.

Accident avoidance sensors as well as other integrated electronic systems are becoming more common as well. In addition, a growing number of technicians are required to work on vehicles that run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol and electricity.

Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

As the number of vehicles in use continues to grow, more entry-level service technicians will be needed to do basic maintenance and repair, such as brake pad replacements and oil changes. Furthermore, the increasing lifespan of late-model cars and light trucks will increase demand for qualified workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage of automotive service technicians and mechanics was $36,610 in 2012.

Courses offered by Ed4Career that would benefit a student interested in the Automotive Technology field:

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www.bls.gov