Career Definition for a GM Automobile Technician
A GM automobile technician diagnoses, repairs, and maintains the mechanical, electrical, and associated supplemental systems of GM vehicles. GM vehicles include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab, and Saturn brands. GM technicians are known for their ability to accurately service the GM-designed and manufactured components and technology, according to General Motors.
|Education||GM training program available, along with joint programs for associate degrees|
|Job Skills||Mechanical, electronic and technical aptitude, diagnostics|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$39,550 (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||6% (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Those hoping to become GM automobile technicians must complete the GM technician training program. Those without any college education can pursue a joint program offered by GM dealers and select colleges that result in an associate degree in automotive technology. This program incorporates advanced automotive training and GM-specific instruction with a foundation of both analytical and technical skills. Students in this program split their time between classroom study and work at GM dealerships. Students are selected on the basis of admissions test scores and ability to obtain a GM sponsor.
Those with previous experience as a mechanic must first secure employment at a GM dealership. Employees who demonstrate solid skills may be recommended for the GM technician training program.
Mechanics and technicians must have an outstanding mechanical, electronic, and technical aptitude in addition to a keen ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately. Most technicians consider diagnosis to be their biggest challenge, and the talent to excel at that will separate an average technician from a master. Good communication skills and the ability to work with and satisfy customers are essential.
Career and Economic Outlook
Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics, in general, is expected to increase 6% from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job opportunities in this occupation are expected to be very good for those with formal training in advanced diagnostics and repair; however, changing economic conditions may limit the job opportunities of GM automobile technicians. In May 2017, the BLS reported the median annual salary of automotive technicians was $39,550.
Alternative Career Options
Here are some other options for vehicular repair careers:
Automotive Body and Glass Repairers
While GM automobile technicians are largely concerned with fixing and maintaining the parts of the vehicle that are under the hood, automotive body and glass repairers are concerned with the exterior of the car. Auto body and glass repairers inspect and repair structural items, such as the frame, doors, windows, windshields, fenders, and hoods. These technicians typically attend vocational or technical colleges to receive formal training, but may also learn the trade while on the job. Certifications are available from professional organizations. In May 2017, the BLS reported that the median salary for automotive body repairers was $41,970, and the median for glass installers and repairers was $34,170. The BLS expects an 8% increase in jobs for automotive body and glass repairers from 2016 to 2026.
Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics
For those that would rather specialize in a type of vehicle rather than a vehicle brand, the career of diesel service technician may be worth exploring. Diesel service technicians maintain and fix large vehicles with engines that take diesel fuel. To work in this field, one typically needs to have taken some courses in diesel technology, but an associate's degree may be preferred by some employers. If technicians are required to test drive large vehicles, a commercial driver's license may be required. The BLS reported that these mechanics earned a median annual salary of $46,360, as of May 2017. This field is expected to grow at an average rate of 9% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.