Career-of-the-Month: Auto Mechanic

Automotive service technicians and mechanics repair cars and trucks. They must know vehicles well and be able to figure out the source of the problem quickly and correctly. To do their job, technicians must know a lot about how complex parts of the car or truck work together. Some mechanics specialize in fixing only a certain part such as brakes or air-conditioning systems. Most mechanics work in auto repair shops or for car dealers. Others work in gas stations, at places that sell auto parts and supplies, and for companies that rent cars. Those who run their own shops often work long hours. Many times mechanics must work with dirty and greasy parts. They often lift heavy parts and tools. It is important that they follow proper safety practices.

Automotive service technology is becoming more complex. It used to involve simple mechanical repair, but modern cars and trucks are run by electronic systems and computers. So today’s mechanics must have basic electronics skills to be able to work with electronic equipment and computer-based machines. At the same time they must be able to use the power and hand tools they have used in the past. Mechanics need to study technical manuals and keep up with the latest automotive technology. The ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately requires good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. Experience working on motor vehicles in the Armed Forces or as a hobby can be very valuable.

Most employers regard the successful completion of a training program in automotive service technology at a vocational school or community college as the best preparation for trainee positions. In many cases, on-the-job training may be a part of a formal education program. Acquiring National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is important, especially for those seeking work in large urban areas. Certification is available in eight different areas of automotive service, such as electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. For certification in each area, technicians must have at least two years of experience and pass the examination.

Related Occupations:
Automotive body repairer
Diesel service technician
Mechanical engineer
Metal worker
Pit stop crew member
Service station attendant
Small engine mechanic

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