How to Become an Auto Mechanic

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The automotive industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and majority of people in the U.S. have some type of automobile. As with many things, automobiles need routine maintenance and occasionally have problems that need to be fixed. Auto mechanics are workers that perform these duties.

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What does an auto mechanic do?

Auto mechanics (also called car mechanics) check, maintain and repair automobiles. These vehicles run on gasoline, alternative fuels, or electricity. When a problem occurs, the car mechanic notes the described description and then performs diagnostic tests to find the problem. They check to see if the systems and components are working right and then isolate the areas that may be contributing to the problem. Car mechanics often test drive the vehicle or use many different types of testing equipment. The tests give insight if the part can be repaired or if a new one must be installed.

When performing routine inspections, auto mechanics test and lubricate the engines, change oil, and check the other major parts. Sometimes parts that are worn are repaired or replaced before they cause problems. Car mechanics typically follow a checklist to make sure they inspect every critical component.

What kind of training does an auto mechanic need?

Auto mechanics need at least a high school diploma, but many employers prefer candidates with postsecondary training. Some high school programs participate in partnerships with automotive manufacturers and franchised automotive dealers called Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES). Many vocational and technical schools offer automotive training programs and community colleges offer associate degrees. These programs offer classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Many automobile dealers and manufacturers sponsor associate degree programs at postsecondary schools around the country. Most auto mechanics complete on the job training through education programs or offered by their employers. They also attend periodic training and seminars to improve their skills.

What are the prospects for a career as an auto mechanic?

Employment of auto mechanics is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased production of motor vehicles, increasing population, and more families purchasing additional vehicles will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be very good, especially for auto mechanics that have formal automotive training and extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace auto mechanics that retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do auto mechanics make?

As of July 2009, the middle 50% of auto mechanic earned annual salaries between $28,912 and $38,352. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $43,690 (2).

A career as an auto mechanic is a great choice for people who have a strong interest in the automotive field. Auto mechanics must have a thorough knowledge of automobiles and be able to quickly identify the source of a problem. Good reasoning skills, strong communication skills, and good analytical skills are also essential.

Joshua T Osborne

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