Engine Technician: Job Description & Career Info

Mar 15, 2019

Learn what it takes to become an engine technician. Find out the education and training required for this career, and discover some alternative career options.

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Career Definition for an Engine Technician

Engine technicians service the engines inside vehicles of varying sizes. They will inspect and repair the engines of cars, trucks, buses, or even airplanes. Many potential careers can be found in automotive repair centers, and other technicians will work outside in the elements when a call for a disabled vehicle is made.

Education High school diploma or GED, courses also available in community colleges and trade schools
Job Skills Mechanics, math, physics, and computer diagnostics
Median Salary (2017) $39,550 for automotive service technicians, $46,360 for diesel service technicians, $35,990 for small engine mechanics
Job Growth (2016-2026) 6% for automotive service technicians, 9% for diesel service technicians, and 5% for small engine mechanics

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Engine technicians typically have a high school or GED diploma, and some complete additional coursework in construction and operation of engines through trade schools, community colleges, or junior colleges. An understanding of diagnostic testing equipment is critical. Engine technicians who possess certification or additional credentials are more likely to obtain employment.

Skills Required

Engine technicians need aptitude in mechanics, math, physics, computer-assisted diagnostics, and similar talents. Engine technicians usually enjoy problem solving and must have good eye-hand coordination.

Career and Economic Outlook

Job opportunities for engine technicians are projected to grow at an average rate over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects that job growth for automotive service techs will be 6% from 2016 to 2026. The number of diesel service technicians is projected to grow by 9%, and small engine mechanics are projected to grow by 5%. Earnings depend upon the specialty of the engine technician and upon the location of the work. Automotive service techs made a median annual salary of $39,550 in 2017, while diesel engine specialists made $46,360, and small engine mechanics made $35,990, per the BLS.

Alternative Career Options

Listed below are some other options for careers as a mechanic:

Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic

Those who prefer to work on larger engines may be interested in becoming airframe and powerplant mechanics. These workers fix and maintain the engines, brakes and other systems on aircraft. To work in this field, airframe and powerplant mechanics need to complete an education and training program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or gain on-the-job or military training and then pass an FAA exam. Although certification is not required for this career, obtaining airframe and powerplant certifications may open up employment opportunities.

In May 2017, the BLS reported that these workers had a median annual salary of $61,020. Jobs for aircraft mechanics and service technicians are expected to increase by 5% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.

Automotive Body Repairer

Automotive body repairers work on the outside of vehicles instead of the engines that power them. These workers can learn their craft on the job or from technical school programs. Automotive body repairers may seek certifications from professional organizations, but these are not required. The median annual salary for automotive body repairers was $41,970 in May 2017, according to the BLS. The BLS projects jobs for these workers to increase by 9% from 2016 to 2026.

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