Starting Your Auto Mechanic Career

When you think of an auto mechanic you probably think of a man dressed in a blue jump suit with black grease all over his hands. While the job does require you to get your hands dirty, technology is changing the way auto mechanics work.

Many people begin their auto mechanic training in High school programs that are sponsored by the Automotive Youth Education Service. These programs prepare students for entry-level mechanic positions.

Colleges and vocational schools offer the best education. Mechanics generally complete a two-year associate degree programs. Within these programs, students spend six to twelve weeks alternating between studying in the classroom and working full time in car dealership service departments. Dealerships pair students with experienced workers. Students receive hands-on training and timesaving tips.

As an auto mechanic you repair cars and trucks. You perform basic automotive maintenance. You conduct oil changes, tire rotations, and replace vehicle parts. Mechanics use both traditional hand tools like screwdrivers and electronic equipment like engine analyzers to repair cars. Tools and cars have become increasingly more sophisticated.

Automobiles now have integrated computer systems. Electronic instruments control almost all car functions from the radio to the transmission. Mechanics must know how to use these computers. The computer displays diagnostic readouts that tell the mechanic whether or not the vehicle is operating within acceptable levels. These levels are different for each vehicle. So mechanic shops receive automatic updates to their computer systems via the Internet about each car type.

Car manufactures send service information into a controlled database. This database enables mechanics to stay current on care issues and procedures. Today the automobile industry is producing alternate-fuel vehicles. Continued education and training are needed more than ever to understand this ever-changing technology.

In order to work as an auto mechanic, you must be certified. States do not require mechanics to be certified, but few employers will hire uncertified job applicants. Certification is available to students that have 1,000 hours to two years experience working on cars. After completing their hours, they then are eligible to take the certification exam. There are eight different certifications. Such certifications include: engine repair, electrical systems, suspension/steering, and heating and air-conditioning. Mechanics can become Master Automobile Technicians if they pass all eight certification exams. Certification exams are available through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job opportunities for auto mechanics to be good for those who complete postsecondary automotive training. Those with advanced training and certification can become shop supervisors or service managers. Some mechanics even open their own repair shops.

Working as an auto mechanic still requires you to get your hands dirty, despite technological advancements. With advanced training and experience you can start your successful auto mechanic career. Pull into the career you have always wanted.

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