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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. View article »

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  • 0:02 Shall I Be a Service Advisor?
  • 1:07 Career Requirements
  • 1:47 Steps to be a Service Advisor

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Video Transcript

Shall I 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 still present.

Career 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, industry-specific software knowledge
Salary (2014) $37,120 per year (Median salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics)

Sources: Employment Development Department, State of California (EDD), Henry Ford Community College, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014).

While some postsecondary education is helpful for gaining employment in this career, a college degree isn't typically required. Employers may prefer candidates with experience in the field. Service advisors must have strong customer service, interpersonal, and communications skills. They need to be comfortable making decisions and solving problems based on their understanding of automotive technology. Many service managers also use industry-specific software. Automotive service technicians and mechanics, which includes service advisors, earned a median annual salary of $37,850, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015.

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Steps to Be a Service Advisor

Hands-on experience is key to employment as a service advisor.

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. Prospective service advisors may find it easier to get a job after completing a formal training program or an apprenticeship.

Success Tips

  • 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 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

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.

Students can begin preparing for a career as a service advisor in high school through industry-sponsored youth training programs. Postsecondary training programs and apprenticeships are alternative options. On-the-job training is essential, and work experience can lead to career advancement.

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