Automobile mechanics, also known as automotive service technicians, inspect cars and trucks to make sure they are working correctly and repair what might be broken. Ford-certified mechanics go through specialized training that focuses on repairing Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, and Volvo vehicles. Certain community colleges have partnered with the Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training (Ford ASSET) program to offer an associate's degree in automotive technology. This degree program blends hands-on learning with classroom instruction.
Most Ford-certified mechanics work for repair shops, including those that are privately owned and those operated by Ford Motor Company; few are self-employed. The day-to-day work is done in well-ventilated and well-lit shops. The labor can be physically demanding and may result in getting dirty, working in uncomfortable positions, heavy lifting, and exposure to toxic materials as well as dangerous tools. Most mechanics work full-time with overtime a common occurrence.
These professionals should have mechanical knowledge and skills, customer service skills, basic math skills, and a familiarity with Ford software and vehicle systems. In general, automotive service technicians and mechanics working in the U.S. earn a median pay of $37,850 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015.
Get a Dealership Sponsor
Colleges and vocational schools offering the Ford ASSET program require that students first obtain sponsorship from local dealerships. Some programs may provide students with contact information for possible sponsors, while others expect students to seek sponsorship on their own. A resume, portfolio, and program forms may be required when inquiring at local dealerships.
Schools partnered with the Ford ASSET program recommend that students visit possible dealership sponsors in person. Because dealerships may likely employ students during their training, aspiring mechanics should present themselves professionally while seeking sponsorship and throughout the program.
Get Associate's Degree
Once students find sponsorship, they can enroll in a Ford Asset Program. This highly specialized program trains students on automotive technology found on Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, and Volvo cars. Upon acceptance into a program, students must purchase a lengthy list of tools, including hammers, screwdrivers, sockets and gauges.
Students spend half the program as interns learning on-the-job skills at their sponsors' dealerships. Classroom coursework includes general education and core automotive courses. These topics cover a range of automotive technology courses, such as:
- Electrical and electronic systems
- Engine performance
- Engine repair
- Braking systems
- Diesel vehicles
- Climate control
Graduates of the ASSET program will have earned several Ford certifications and are generally eligible to take any other Ford STST certification exams, such as those in steering and suspension, automatic transmission, and new model training.
Additionally, graduates may sit for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exams, the nationally recognized credential for automotive service technicians. ASE offers certification in several areas, including heating and air conditioning, engine performance, and brakes. Mechanics and technicians only need to take exams in their chosen fields of specialty. Those passing all eight certification tests are considered Master Automobile Technicians. Many employers require such certifications because they prove an individual's capabilities in examining and repairing vehicles. Certification can also lead to higher salary.
To recap, auto mechanics and technicians who specifically want to focus on Ford vehicles can secure sponsorship from a Ford dealership, complete a Ford Asset Program, and become certified in several areas.