Like Cars? Consider a Career as an Automotive Technician
If you enjoy cars and figuring out how the various mechanical and electrical systems work, you should consider a career as an automotive technician. Becoming a service technician requires dedication and work. There is more to this type of career than being able to change the oil on your car. Today’s mechanics require more skills than they did in the past, largely due to advances in technology.
What Education and Skills Are Required?
While some entry level jobs only require a high school diploma, such as working in a quick oil change shop, other positions require post-secondary training and education. It is highly recommended you continue your education by enrolling in a technical or vocational school specializing in automotive service and repair. Not only will you be learning about the mechanical aspects of automobiles, but also how computers, technology, and electrical components are integrated with one another.
Modern vehicles have become more advanced and utilize a wide array of mechanical and electrical components. Currently there are no specific requirements as to the number of classes you should complete in various areas. Most aspiring mechanics will want to have a solid foundation in electrical components and wiring, automotive computer technologies, and mechanical systems. In addition, solid reading and reading comprehension skills are essential since you have to know how to read technical manuals.
If your long term goal is to own and operate your own repair shop, you will want to pursue at least a two year business degree. A degree in business provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to operate a successful business, and includes courses such as accounting, business math, marketing, business management, and economics. It also does not hurt to take at least one public speaking course if you are not comfortable talking to people.
Is Certification Required?
After completing your vocational training, you need to obtain certification in various areas of automotive repair. For instance, in order to be able to service vehicle air conditioning systems, a mechanic has to obtain a license and certification for handling refrigerants. Most vocational and technical schools provide assistance with certification processes, as well as offer additional training to help prepare you for examinations. Further, whether you work for someone else or start your own repair shop, being certified opens up additional opportunities for advancement and job specialization.
What Is the Work Environment Like?
Mechanics work in well ventilated and lighted environments. However, getting to the various areas on vehicles can require working in a variety of positions requiring you to bend or reach for extended periods of time. You should also be prepared to wear automotive uniforms, protective outerwear, and coverings, and other such clothing over your normal clothes. Working on vehicles requires handling dirty and greasy parts and components, and the last thing you want to do is ruin your own clothing. In addition, having a standard uniform makes it easier for customers to recognize service technicians.