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Become an Engine Builder: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Aug 03, 2018

Research the requirements to become an engine builder. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the step-by-step process to start a career as an engine builder.

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Should I Become an Engine Builder?

Engine builders may be referred to as assemblers or technicians. These builders disassemble, repair and maintain various types of engines, including automobiles with high-performance engines. Engine builders may be employed at automotive shops or manufacturing plants and often work full-time hours that can include evenings and weekends. The work is often dirty, and the environment is sometimes noisy.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Varies; postsecondary training can be beneficial
Degree Field Varies; related technical field
Certification Voluntary professional certification may be preferred by employers
Experience At least 1-3 years of experience in engine building typically required
Key Skills Dexterity, stamina, color vision and physical strength; ability to use field-specific tools and computers
Salary (2015)* $39,600 yearly (median for engine and other machine assemblers)

Sources: Employer job postings (January 2013), *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online

Let's take a closer look at the steps to becoming an engine builder.

Steps to Become an Engine Builder

Step 1: Complete Postsecondary Training

Although not required for all positions, aspiring engine builders can prepare for their careers by completing a formal postsecondary training program. Training programs for engine builders usually result in an associate degree or a certificate. Associate programs are typically geared toward training automotive service technicians and encompass a variety of relevant topics in the field. Certificate programs are primarily geared toward specific career training.

Success Tip:

  • Develop strong communication skills. Employers may look for applicants who have the ability to communicate effectively with other workers, customers and management. An aspiring engine builder might consider enrolling in elective courses designed to improve communication while completing the training program. Some courses to consider might be in areas like human resources, communications and customer service.

Step 2: Acquire Work Experience

Employers seeking engine builders often desire or require candidates who have some relevant work experience. The amount of required experience often depends on the specific employer or position but generally spans 1-5 years. Securing an entry-level position in the field is a way to acquire the work experience needed for higher-level or paying positions, as well as working toward the professional experience requirements necessary for some certification options.

Step 3: Earn Credentials

All employers do not require certification, but it may be preferred, based on a sample of job listings from employers in January 2013. Builders in the automotive industry may consider the industry-standard certification options offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Most ASE certifications require a candidate to have around 2-3 years of relevant work experience; formal training may be used in lieu of work experience.

Another option is the engine rebuilding and machining program offered by the AERA Engine Builders Association. The program results in a certificate of completion and can be completed online. Engine builders can choose general automotive service technology programs or specific engine building certificate programs, such as high performance engine building, performance machining or engine rebuilding, for career enhancement.

Hopeful engine builders should earn an associate's degree or complete a certificate program, earn experience in an entry-level job in the field and earn necessary credentials.

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