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Auto Mechanic Vs. Electrician

Electricians can primarily learn their trade through an apprenticeship while auto mechanics must complete postsecondary training. Continue reading to learn about some of the similarities between these careers, as well as how they differ.

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Comparing Auto Mechanics to Electricians

Superficially, the work that auto mechanics and electricians do is similar. They run tests, identify issues and perform repairs. Auto mechanics specifically focus on the systems in automobiles while electricians repair and maintain electrical systems. Electricians may also install new electrical systems and work on systems that are both inside and outside of structures.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Auto Mechanics Certificate or associate's degree $38,470 (automotive service technicians and mechanics) 6% (automotive service technicians and mechanics)
Electricians High school diploma, apprenticeship, license $52,720 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Auto Mechanics vs. Electricians

Auto mechanics and electricians both use testing equipment to identify problems. Auto mechanics do this with vehicles and use test results to determine why a vehicle isn't operating properly. Electricians test electrical systems that are installed in buildings or outdoor areas. They may both replace defective parts as part of their work. Auto mechanics may spend more time interacting with customers than electricians do. Electricians working on construction sites need to coordinate their work with other construction professionals and ensure electrical systems are properly connected to electricity supply lines.

Auto Mechanics

Auto mechanics primarily work in automotive shops or for car dealerships. They regularly work overtime hours and may be scheduled to work during the day, evenings and weekends. It's important for auto mechanics to have good customer service skills because their responsibilities include explaining mechanical issues to customers. They should also pay attention to details so that they do a thorough assessment of vehicles when determining which repairs are needed. Some opt to specialize in performing repairs on specific systems in a vehicle by earning certifications in an automotive specialty.

Job responsibilities of an auto mechanic include:

  • Performing oil changes
  • Replacing or rotating tires
  • Installing new brakes and brake pads
  • Using tools to remove defective parts
  • Checking vehicle after repairs to ensure all issues have been corrected

Electricians

Electricians often spend long hours working on construction sites or in client homes or buildings. They have to be able to lift equipment for prolonged periods of time and their work can involve standing and climbing ladders so it's important that they are physically fit and have the stamina needed to do their job. They ensure that electrical systems are properly installed in new buildings and also repair systems in residential or commercial buildings. They need attention to detail to ensure that the systems are installed correctly in the proper locations.

Job responsibilities of an electrician include:

  • Assigning work to apprentices
  • Examining blueprints
  • Testing electrical systems
  • Traveling to worksites
  • Checking the work of apprentices or other electricians
  • Performing maintenance on electrical systems

Related Careers

Working as a diesel truck mechanic may also interest those considering a future as an auto mechanic because diesel truck mechanics also perform repairs on vehicles. Those thinking about a future as an electrician may also be interested in being a cable TV installer and repair technician since this type of work also involves testing and repairing systems.

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