Be a Mechanic's Apprentice: Training and Job Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a mechanic's apprentice. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training programs, job duties and required skills to find out if this is the career for you.

Mechanic's apprentice programs allows a candidate to learn their skill in a practical setting. They usually require a high school diploma or a GED as well as mechanical aptitude. Apprenticeships generally last four years and include classroom and on-the-job training.

Essential Information

Mechanic's apprentices work in a variety of industries, including the industrial machinery and automotive fields. The automotive field in particular is a major employer of mechanics and their apprentices. Specific training may vary based on the industry, but apprenticeships generally require applicants to have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Certification Industry certification may be required for diesel mechanics
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% for all diesel service technicians and mechanics*
Median Salary (2015) $44,520 for diesel engine specialists and bus and truck mechanics*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Training for Mechanic's Apprentices

Although most apprenticeships begin after high school, prospective candidates may begin their training with high school courses in shop, automotive science, design and blueprint reading. Additionally, those interested in becoming an automotive mechanic's apprentices may enroll in preparatory training programs, such as those offered by the Automotive Youth Education Systems (AYES).

Classroom Learning

Regardless of industry, mechanic's apprentices learn the basics of inspection, maintenance and service. Apprenticeships generally last four years and combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training. Some programs may include courses in English, business and mathematics; however, most train only on specific studies in the respective field. For example, while diesel mechanic's apprentices review power-trains and ignition systems, maintenance mechanic's apprentices cover electronic motor controls.

Workplace Training

Outside of the classroom, mechanic's apprentices generally begin with routine service and repair tasks, including removing, repairing or replacing old or non-performing parts, such as frayed wires or broken conduit. As they gain working knowledge and experience, apprentices gradually advance to complex duties like running diagnostic tests on batteries and evaluating electric motors. Additionally, they may begin to use a wide variety of tools ranging from basic hand tools to hydraulic equipment. Some programs may send apprentices to manufacturer training centers or factory representative training sessions to learn new techniques.

Learned Skills

Training also includes technical skills like soldering and welding. During their apprenticeship, diesel mechanic's apprentices may be required to use welding torches to connect door-frames or other structural parts. Similarly, industrial machinery mechanic's apprentices may be responsible for soldering electrical components on circuit boards.

Job Information for Mechanic's Apprentices

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported that the median annual wages of diesel engine specialists and bus and truck mechanics were $44,520 in 2015. The bureau also reported that employment opportunities for diesel service technicians and mechanics were expected to increase by 12% between 2014 and 2024.

Those looking to an enter an mechanical apprenticeship may look for preparatory training programs in their field as well as related courses in high school. The job growth outlook for diesel service technicians and mechanics is faster than the job market as a whole. The median annual salary is close to $45,000.


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