How to Be a Service Advisor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a service advisor. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career as a service advisor.

Do I Want to Be a Service Advisor?

A service advisor typically works in a car dealership and is the liaison between the customer and service technicians working in the garage. They work with customers to determine problems with a vehicle and provide technicians with accurate repair descriptions. Additionally, service advisors are responsible for greeting customers, listening to requests, scheduling appointments, and estimating costs. They may also be responsible for verifying insurance coverage, conducting inspections, and test driving vehicles.

The work environment of a service advisor depends largely on the car dealership with which they are employed. Car dealerships often utilize automotive repair technicians or their sales agents to meet their customer service needs. Those that are not certified as service technicians may have a harder time finding full-time employment as a service advisor. Full-time service advisors will spend most of their time in an office setting, although they will also visit the repair shop regularly. Within the shop, risks of injury are minimal, but present.

Job Requirements

While a college degree is not required, postsecondary education will be beneficial when seeking employment. Entry-level training may be required before obtaining a service advisor position. The following table contains the core requirements for becoming a service advisor.

Common Requirements
Degree Level College degree not required; postsecondary education beneficial*
Experience Experience in the field may be necessary before working as a service advisor*
Key Skills Customer service, interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving, decision-making, understanding of automotive technology**
Computer Skills Industry computer software knowledge when working with repair orders and entering information into databases*

Sources: *Employment Development Department, State of California (EDD), **Henry Ford Community College

Step 1: Enroll in an Automotive Program at the High School Level

Prospective service advisors can begin their education in high school through the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) program. In some cases, programs are offered in partnership with automobile manufacturers and franchised dealerships. Completion of this program qualifies high school graduates for entry-level technician positions or for postsecondary automotive education.

Success Tip:

  • Consider a training program. Training programs are available at colleges and universities and ensure that individuals have the knowledge and skills to work in the field. These programs usually include classroom lectures, as well as hands-on practice, and can lead to a certificate or associate's degree.
  • Look into an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship can provide candidates with the opportunity to learn more about the automotive service industry. Applicants can gain experience by working alongside seasoned professionals and obtain up to 4,000 hours of on-the-job training.

Step 2: Obtain Entry-Level Training

The EDD states that entry-level automotive service advisors typically receive supervised, on-the-job training. Aspiring service advisors can find entry-level employment in private garages and dealerships, as well as automotive equipment companies and government facilities.

Step 3: Pursue Advancement Opportunities

Automotive service advisors may eventually have opportunities for advancement to managerial positions. Promotion to higher-level positions usually requires a few years of work experience gained through entry-level employment.

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