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Auto Maintenance Technician: Career Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an auto maintenance technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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Auto maintenance technicians work on repairing the internal systems of cars. The outlook for these jobs is about as fast as the job market as a whole and the median annual salary is about $38,000. They get their training through certificate or associate degree programs, and employers may require professional certification.

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Essential Information

Auto maintenance technicians repair and maintain automotive vehicles for gas stations, auto dealerships, private businesses and government agencies. Some technicians work on the entire car, while others specialize in one area, such as brakes or the exhaust system. Individuals interested in this career usually complete a certificate or associate's degree program in auto maintenance technology that includes hands-on practice. After graduation, technicians receive additional on-the-job training, and they may need to become certified or get licensed, depending on their employer and job duties.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree in auto maintenance technology
Other Requirements Optional certification; Licensure required for those who work with refrigerants
Projected Job Growth 5% for all automotive service technicians and mechanics from 2014-2024*
Median Salary (2015) $37,850 for all automotive service technicians and mechanics annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Preparation for a career in auto maintenance technology can begin while in high school with vocational courses in auto technology. High school graduates may look to community colleges and technical schools that offer courses in auto maintenance technology, which can be completed in as little as two years. Classes may cover brake systems, diagnostics, exhaust systems, emissions, steering and suspension, transmission systems, fuel systems, and electrical systems. Some programs may also provide instruction on alternate fuel technology, which may include hybrid or electric cars.

Additionally, community colleges offer specialized training for specific manufacturers including Ford, Honda or Chrysler. In these specialty programs, students may also work for the respective dealership and gain on-the-job experience.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a job growth of 5% is predicted for automotive service mechanics and technicians in the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This growth can be partly attributed to an increase in the number of cars being driven, as well as vehicles lasting longer and thus requiring more service.

Salary Information

The BLS reported in May 2015 that automotive service technicians and mechanics earned $37,850 as a median annual wage. The lowest-paid workers earned $21,020 or less annually in May 2015, and the highest earners made $63,330 or more annually in the same year. California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania employed the highest number of these workers in May 2015.

Auto mechanic technicians require training that may include completing coursework or a degree program. Certification may be required for some jobs. Licensing is usually only necessary to work with refrigerants.

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