What is a BMW Mechanic?
BMW mechanics, sometimes referred to as BMW technicians, are just like other mechanics except they specifically work on BMW automobiles. They perform diagnostic tests and figure out and repair faulty mechanisms on BMW cars as well as maintain them.
|Degree Level||Postsecondary training|
|Degree Field||Automotive service technology or similar|
|Certification||Automotive Service Excellence (ASE); BMW Step certification may be preferred/required by employers; EPA requires refrigerant handling licensing|
|Key Skills||Mechanical and technical dexterity; physical strength and stamina; strong verbal and written communication skills; problem-solving|
|Median BMW Mechanic Salary (2018)*||$40,710 (automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||-1% (automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Become a BMW Mechanic
Step 1: Complete Training: Automotive Technology School
Budding BMW mechanics should first attend a community college or technical institute and earn an associate's degree or diploma in auto technology. While a formal automotive service qualification is not essential many employers express a preference for formally qualified mechanics.
These formal qualifications typically take two years to complete and many will specifically prepare students for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification which is the industry standard certificate that many mechanics try to obtain once they become more established in their careers. The courses will teach a range of skills such as:
- Engine repair and maintenance
- Suspension and steering
- Electrical and electronic systems
- Manual and automatic transmissions
- Body repair and brake systems.
These programs will usually include a significant practical component and may offer opportunities for internships which can be an excellent way to gain experience and improve a student's employability. Additionally, students will often have the option to take electives in customer service and basic business skills which will equip them with valuable skills in dealing with customers and completing administrative duties within an automotive service environment.
Step 2: Get On-the-Job Training
Once an aspiring mechanic has completed an appropriate automotive technology qualification, they can apply for entry-level positions in auto repair garages or service centers to get a couple of years of hands-on training in a real work environment. Getting this experience is vitally important in obtaining a more senior mechanic position. Junior mechanics with ambitions to work on BMW automobiles should also try to gain experience working with BMWs or other imported vehicles. Getting a position at a BMW or import repair shop would be ideal preparation and a big plus for the resume.
Step 3: Get ASE Certification
While ASE certification is not always required, it can often increase a mechanic's job opportunities greatly. This type of certification is offered and administered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. To obtain certification, a mechanic must pass at least one of 50 ASE exams. These exams are grouped into specialties such as collision repair, automobile, and medium/heavy trucks.
Once a candidate has passed at least one exam and provided proof of a minimum of two years of work experience as an auto technician, they become certified. The certification process requires payment of a registration fee ($36) and a test fee ($43). The certification must be renewed every five years which is achieved by being retested.
Step 4: Complete BMW Step Program - BMW Mechanic Certification
Mechanics who are serious about becoming fully-fledged BMW technicians should complete the BMW Service Technician Education Program (STEP). STEP is a specialty program that is effectively a BMW mechanic school; it puts candidates through tailored hands-on technical training so that they are fully prepared for a career working on BMW vehicles. The STEP program is not compulsory to work with BMWs but it certainly offers a big advantage.
BMW runs five programs as part of this initiative which includes:
- BMW Automotive
- Body and Paint
- BMW MStep
- Apprentice Program
The purely technical programs last between 8 to 16 weeks whereas the apprentice program is a six-month program combining BMW-specific technical training and real-life work experience with BMW. These programs are offered at schools across the U.S.
To be considered for entry onto the STEP program, candidates must have a GPA of 3.0 or better, completed a postsecondary automotive program and had a minimum 95% attendance rate during that program. The Motorrad and Body and Paint programs do not require the completion of a previous automotive program. BMW covers the cost of the program although candidates will need to cover their cost of living.
BMW Mechanic Salary
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report specific salary statistics for BWM mechanics/technicians, they do suggest that automotive service technicians and mechanics had a median salary of $40,710 in 2018. The job website, Indeed.com, suggests that the BMW mechanic salary is higher than the BLS's report, with an average salary of $77,179 in 2019.