Find Hands-On Work As An Automotive Service Technician

Are you a person who enjoys figuring out how things work, or working with your hands as well as problem-solving? Are you obsessed with cars and engines or any motorized vehicle for that matter? If any of this describes you, then you might enjoy a career in the automotive industry.

Automotive service technicians have the distinct responsibilities to not only repair automobiles, but they also inspect and maintain them. This includes all vehicles, regardless of whether they are powered by gasoline, electricity, or an alternative fuel. Today's automotive service technician has evolved from mechanic to a high-level tech that uses technology as a tool.

The manufacturers of today's automobiles have created complicated electronic systems with computers to regulate the performance of the vehicle. Because of this technological turn, workers are required to use computerized shop equipment as well as know how to use traditional hand tools. They must have the knowledge of how these complex components work and interact and be able to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and digital manuals for reference.

Just as a doctor relies on the patient to describe the symptoms before ordering tests, the automotive technician gets a description of the problem from the owner, tests to see whether components and systems are secure and working properly, and then isolates the cause of the problem. High technology tools are needed to fix the computer system that operates almost everything in the car. In fact, braking, transmission, and steering are all controlled by computers and electronic components.

Because of the growing sophistication in this field, employers are looking for candidates with formal training. Some of the trade and technical schools require concentrated training for six months before awarding a certificate. Associate's degree programs typically take two years to complete but include additional classes such as customer service to go along with computer skills and the other academic basics.

Education and specialized training are not the only qualifications for success in this field. Good technicians need the ability to diagnose, have good reasoning ability, and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. While not mandated, certification has become a standard credential for automotive technicians, and it's available in eight different specialties such as electrical systems, engine repair, and brake systems, to name a few. For a certificate as a Master Automotive Technician, you will need to pass all eight exams.

Employment in this field is projected to grow slower than the average for other occupations, although job openings will rise as others retire. As the use of technology continues to advance, new opportunities will open up for those with specialized skills and certifications. Job opportunities are expected to be very good for those who have completed post-secondary training programs and have earned ASE certification.