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Opportunities for Advancement in Auto Mechanics

Working as an auto mechanic opens opportunities to work on other types of vehicles. Individuals who are willing and able to go back to school can also advance their career by becoming the engineers who create the machines mechanics fix.

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Advancement in the Field of Auto Mechanics

Auto mechanics are responsible for repairing vehicles when they have broken down. Individuals in this field typically work on personal vehicles and small trucks and must complete some vocational school before entering the field. The skills gained by working as an auto mechanic translate well to technical jobs working on other types of machinery. Whether one wants to transition to repairing larger machines or to actually designing these machines themselves, a position as an auto mechanic is a good place to start.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Certificates or Education
Diesel Service Technician and Mechanic $46,360 9% High School Diploma
Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician $49,440 8% High School Diploma
Mechanical Engineering Technician $55,360 5% Associate's Degree or Certificate
Mechanical Engineer $85,880 9% Bachelor's Degree

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information

Diesel Service Technician and Mechanic

Diesel engines work differently than gas engines, and therefore require a completely different set of skills and knowledge. Auto mechanics who decide to become experts on these engines can expect to make more money. They will also have the opportunity to work on trucks, buses, construction equipment, and even boats, since all of these types of vehicles routinely utilize diesel engines due to their efficiency and sturdiness. A high school diploma or GED is the only requisite education to enter this field, but one can get a leg up by taking relevant classes at a community college or vocational school. On-the-job training should also be expected. Those with no prior experience or knowledge should expect this training to take 3 to 4 years. Once they have the needed experience, diesel service technicians and mechanics can gain certifications in different repair specialties.

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment and service technicians specialize in working on large scale vehicles and machinery used in construction. The position pays a good deal more than working as a general auto mechanic because a higher level of skill and specialization is required. This field also offers the opportunity to work on farms, construction sites, and railways as in a garage. Although a high school diploma is the only necessary education to enter this field, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed an associate's degree or certificate training in heavy equipment mechanics. This career also involves on-the-job training, which can take up to 4 years to be completed in full.

Mechanical Engineering Technician

While mechanics fix machines when they have broken, mechanical engineers design and create those same machines in the first place. Becoming a mechanical engineering technician is a great way to enter this field while only having to complete an associate's degree or certificate program at a community college or vocational school, respectively. Individuals in this position work with engineers on any and all aspects involved in the development of mechanical devices. Those with an interest in vehicles can specialize their work to engines or automobiles.

Mechanical Engineer

Auto mechanics who are interested in becoming the people who design cars should think about going into mechanical engineering. Those who work in this field are responsible for designing, developing, building, and testing the machines that have become ubiquitous parts of our lives. This includes all types of vehicles. To become a mechanical engineer, one must earn a bachelor's degree in either mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. To further one's career in this field, a master's degree or Ph.D. may also become necessary. Furthermore, a Professional Engineering (PE) license in one's state becomes available to individuals after they have worked as a mechanical engineer for 4 years. Several organizations offer certifications that enhance one's credentials in this field.

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