Transmission Repair Technician Job Information

Mar 17, 2019

Learn more about what it takes to become a transmission repair technician. Find out about career prospects and earning potential to determine if this job is a good fit for you.

Career Definition for a Transmission Repair Technician

A transmission repair technician specializes in repairing and maintaining automotive transmissions. These technicians work with the most advanced parts of an automobile and focus on hydraulic pumps, couplings, and gear trains. Transmission repair technicians are also required to diagnose transmissions problems and understand customer relations.

Education High school diploma, certificates and associate degrees available
Certification Exam administered by the National Institute for Automotive Excellence
Job Skills Computer and math skills, technological understanding, able to adapt new skills
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

Education Required

The education for a transmission repair technician can begin in high school, and the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) offers students the opportunity to earn a basic automotive certificate. After high school, there are many technical and trade schools that offer training lasting from 6 months to 2 years. Additional education, in the form of an associate's degree in automotive technology, may help to increase career opportunities.

Certification

Most repair shops will require you to be certified through the National Institute for Automotive Excellence. This will require you to pass a written exam and have two years of experience.

Skills Required

It is beneficial for transmission repair technicians to have excellent computer and mathematical skills. As automotive transmissions become more complicated, it is important to continue to learn new techniques and understand new technology. Depending on the job, customer service and communications skills may be needed to work with customers to help diagnose transmissions problems and offer assistance with certain repairs.

Economic and Career Outlook

As automotive technology advances, careers for transmission repair technicians will continue to increase. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that automotive service technicians and mechanics in general can expect job growth of 6% from 2016-2026. Of course, as technology changes, transmission repair technicians must adapt with it or risk finding themselves with an obsolete skill set. According to the BLS, the median annual salary among automotive service and repair technicians, including transmission repair technicians, was $39,550 in May 2017. Employment can be found with automobile dealers, gasoline stations, auto repair shops, and auto parts stores. Some transmission repair technicians may choose to start their own repair shops, which can lead to higher salaries, albeit with higher risk and much greater responsibilities.

Alternate Career Options

Diesel Mechanic

A diesel mechanic works on the diesel engines of trucks, buses, and other vehicles. In addition to engine work, a diesel mechanic usually handles routine maintenance and repair tasks too, like oil changes and brake system inspections. Employers may provide on-the-job training to new hires with a high school diploma or they may prefer to hire candidates with some postsecondary training in diesel engine repair, up to a certificate or associate's degree program. With sufficient experience, diesel mechanics may earn professional certification. Diesel mechanics may also be required to have a Commercial Driver's License. The BLS reports that diesel mechanics can expect estimated job growth of 9% from 2016-2026. Additionally, diesel mechanics earned median pay of $46,360 in 2017.

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician

These mechanics maintain and repair the engines and associated systems (like brakes and transmissions) on industrial and transportation equipment and vehicles. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians can specialize in farm equipment, rail cars or construction and mining equipment. The education paths to a career in this field include a high school diploma or postsecondary certificate or associate's degree; on-the-job training is also common. With experience, these mechanics may qualify for manufacturer-issued certification.

The BLS reports that in general, jobs for mobile heavy equipment mechanics are expected to grow 8% from 2016-2026, although rail car repairer jobs are expected to increase only 5%. The BLS also reports that pay can vary by area of expertise; heavy equipment mechanics who work on parts other than engines earned median pay of $50,860 in 2017, while farm equipment mechanics earned median wages of $39,340, and rail car mechanics earned median wages of $57,460.

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