Automotive Technician Vs Mechanical Engineer

Automotive technicians and mechanical engineers both work with mechanical systems and devices, but perform different day-to-day duties. Read more about these careers to compare their similarities and differences.

Comparing Automotive Technicians to Mechanical Engineers

Automotive technicians and mechanical engineers both work with mechanical systems and equipment. Automotive technicians make sure cars run properly, and mechanical engineers develop devices to solve problems. Further on, you will read about some similarities and differences between these two careers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Automotive Technician Certificate or associate's degree $38,470 (for all automotive service technicians and mechanics) 5% (for all automotive service technicians and mechanics)
Mechanical Engineer Bachelor's degree $84,190 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Automotive Technicians vs. Mechanical Engineers

Automotive technicians and mechanical engineers each work with mechanical systems. However, automotive technicians work with cars by performing maintenance and repairs on vehicle systems. They usually work in repair shops, and they might be at a higher risk of injury than other jobs. Mechanical engineers, on the other hand, work closely with thermal and mechanical devices to make them work better. They usually work in an office but may travel to work sites to get a closer look at a piece of equipment.

Automotive Technician

Automotive technicians, also called service technicians or mechanics, do a lot of work with the mechanical and computer systems in cars. This means that they work with engines and transmissions, but they are also trained to work with braking and transmission electronic systems. They use many different tools to accomplish their tasks, including hand tools like wrenches and computerized tools like welding torches. They usually work during normal business hours, but overtime work is common.

Job responsibilities of automotive technicians include:

  • Diagnosing car problems
  • Doing basic car maintenance tasks and repairs
  • Changing oil or rotating tires on a vehicle
  • Replacing damaged or old parts on automobiles
  • Explaining damage and repair options to clients

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers both design and supervise the manufacture of many different kinds of mechanical products and systems, including thermal and mechanical devices. They might develop medical devices, or they might work on batteries. Their work takes them into many different industries. They create machines that generate power, like internal combustion engines or gas turbines. They also make machines that use power, like refrigeration systems. They use computers to test their designs and make equipment specifications.

Job responsibilities of mechanical engineers include:

  • Designing mechanical device to fit a specific need or solve a specific problem
  • Testing prototypes
  • Changing designs based on test results
  • Integrating controllers, sensors, and machinery within other machines

Related Careers

Anyone who wants to work as an automotive technician might also like the idea of working as an auto designer, since both work with cars. Someone who wants to be a mechanical engineer could also look into what an electricity engineer does, since they both work in the design of devices.

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