Degree or training programs in general mechanics and repair technologies prepare individuals for jobs in automotive servicing, aircraft mechanics, or general maintenance and repair. Aside from classwork, hands-on training is also provided, commonly through an apprenticeship. Certification is usually available as well.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
Students can find degree and certificate programs in specific technologies, such as automotive service and repair, electronics or carpentry. Students in these programs typically study math, physics and other sciences in addition to hands-on work in the field. Some repair and maintenance positions, including plumbing and electronics, require individuals to complete a certain number of work hours through an apprenticeship.
|Career||Automotive Service Technician||General Maintenance and Repair||Aircraft Mechanic|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5%||6%||1%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$37,850||$36,630||$58,370|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Automotive Service Technician
Automotive service technicians may work in garages, workshops or at dealerships. They're responsible for diagnosing and repairing automotive systems like cooling and heating systems, engines, transmissions and electrical systems. Individuals may obtain a certificate, diploma or associate's degree in automotive technology at a trade or vocational school.
These programs typically provide students with coursework and hands-on training in auto mechanics, diagnostics, computer systems and other areas. Depending on the program, students may specialize in areas like electronics, heating and cooling or transmission.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Technicians (ASE) provides certification for individuals with knowledge and experience in specific automotive technologies (www.ase.org). Individuals must provide proof of work experience or formal training, pay a fee and pass a multiple-choice test in their field of choice. The ASE requires individuals to retake the test every five years to maintain their certification status.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for automotive service technicians and mechanics would grow by 5% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, the median annual salary for these workers was $37,850 as of May 2015.
General Maintenance and Repair
General maintenance workers apply a wide variety of skills to different jobs, including basic electronics repair, carpentry, plumbing and painting. Depending on the job, they may work in homes, apartment complexes, schools, hospitals or other buildings. General maintenance workers can learn a variety of different skills or trades through apprenticeships, on-the-job training or vocational programs.
The International Maintenance Institute (IMI) offers the Certified Maintenance Technician (CMT) credential for experienced general maintenance workers who pass a written exam. The first exam covers a wide variety of subjects, such as blueprint reading, tools, mathematics, materials, physics and safety. Individuals who pass the first exam may be eligible to take the second or third-level exams, which focus on more advanced skills.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, employment for general maintenance and repair workers is expected to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for these workers was $36,630 as of May 2015.
Aircraft mechanics inspect, maintain and repair different types of aircraft, such as airplanes, jets and helicopters. Aircraft mechanics must complete an associate's degree or certificate program in the field. These programs typically provide coursework and hands-on training in power plants, airframes, fuel systems, propellers, engines and other related topics.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers exams and certification for individuals who have extensive experience working with power plants or airframes, as well as those who have completed an FAA-approved educational program (www.faa.gov). The three-part exams consist of written, oral and practical portions. Upon passing the exam, individuals may receive certification for airframe mechanics, power plant mechanics or a combination of both.
Career Outlook and Salary Information for Aircraft Mechanics
The BLS predicted that employment for aircraft mechanics and service technicians would grow by little to none between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for aircraft mechanics was $58,370, according to the BLS.
Several job options are open to an individual with a degree or training in some type of maintenance and repair. One can become an auto tech, aircraft mechanic, or work a variety of maintenance and repair jobs. Those looking to boost their credentials can opt for certification, which may require proven work performance or passing of an exam.