Online Auto Mechanic Programs
Auto mechanics, also known as automotive service technicians, work in a dynamic environment that requires a high level of technical expertise. While auto mechanics once provided mechanical services for the repair of automobiles and trucks, changes in technology have made this position highly technically oriented. Today, auto mechanics must not only have an integral understanding of automobile mechanics, but also these professionals must have a clear understanding of the computer technology integrated into newer cars. Increased computerization of vehicles requires auto mechanics to have the technical expertise needed to fix these machines. Students seeking ASE certification online may want to pursue a degree from an online auto mechanic school.
Essential to the job of the auto mechanic is the ability to diagnose problems with the vehicle. Typically, vehicle owners provide a description of the problem with the car and auto mechanics must utilize diagnostic tools to determine the root cause of the problem. Once diagnosis of the problem has been made, the auto mechanic is then responsible for fixing the problem. Once the repair has been made the auto mechanic will then be responsible for testing the vehicle to ensure that it performs as it should. Auto mechanics are also providing customers with basic maintenance services for their vehicles. Standard services include: oil changes, brake replacement and tire installation.
Careers in the Field
Individuals seeking careers as automotive mechanics typically seek education and training though a vocational program. Entrance into these programs requires either a high school diploma or GED. Completion of vocational training programs will typically provide professionals with the needed skills and knowledge to work as an auto mechanic. Students that receive post-secondary education in this field will also be able to seek National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. This certification will increase employment opportunities.
While many of the positions filled by auto mechanics have similar features, professionals entering into this field may choose to specialize in a specific area of automotive service. For instance, transmission technicians and rebuilders typically work on various parts of the transmission system exclusively. Tune-up technicians provide service involving optimizing engine performance. Automotive air-conditioning repairers provide service for air conditioning units in vehicles. Typically additional training and certification is needed to hold these positions.
Industry Salary Information
Salaries for auto mechanics will vary based on the professional’s level of education, experience, certification and specialization. Additionally, salaries will vary based on the specific industry in which the professional is hired. In general, median hourly wages for all auto mechanics were $16.88 in 2008. The top earners in this profession had wages of $28.71 per hour while the lowest earners had wages of $9.56 per hour. Professionals employed by local governments had median hourly earnings of $20.07 while those employed automotive parts and tire stores had median hourly earnings of $14.90. Auto mechanics with AES certification will also be able to command higher salaries. While most auto mechanics are paid a base salary for their services, many employed at automotive repair facilities receive a commission based on the amount of work completed for a customer. Most of the positions in this industry are full-time and include benefits such as healthcare, paid time off and vacation time.
Despite the large number of vehicles currently on the road, the demand for auto mechanics is expected to be quite slow over the next seven years. Growth is projected at five percent until 2018, which is much lower than most other occupations. In general new positions in the industry will result from retirements of experienced auto mechanics and some growth in demand for auto service technicians. Individuals that obtain post-secondary education through vocational training or two-year degree programs in the field and subsequent AES certification will be most likely to obtain positions as auto mechanics. In addition professionals with specialized training and certification will have more opportunities for employment. Post-secondary education in the field will be needed to provide professionals with the technological competence needed to service newer vehicles. Consolidation in the automotive industry and a decline in the number of auto dealerships will also reduce demand for auto mechanics.