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What Is the Difference Between an Auto Mechanic & an Auto Technician?

Oct 04, 2019

Both auto technicians and auto mechanics work in repair shops diagnosing and repairing issues with cars. This article contrasts the main differences in the ranks and daily responsibilities of these two important professions.

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Comparing Auto Mechanics and Auto Technicians

An auto technician specializes in the computerized aspects of car design and repair while mechanics focus on mechanical aspects of a car's function. Both jobs require technical expertise gained through years of hands-on experience. They both include opportunities to work with customers and use their knowledge of cars to fix complex mechanical problems.

Job Title Education Requirements Average Salary (2019)* Job Growth**
Auto Mechanic High school diploma or GED
Experience working with cars
$39,229 5-9%
Auto Technician High school diploma or GED
Experience working with cars
$40,995 5-9%

Sources: *Salary.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of an Auto Mechanics vs. Auto Technicians

Both auto mechanics and auto technicians repair cars in garages and auto repair shops. In fact, their duties and work environment are so similar that some companies use these two titles interchangeably. The complexity of modern car designs has led to a need for further specialization in the auto repair industry. In general, auto mechanics tend to focus on fixing mechanical issues while auto technicians specialize in fixing the computerized parts of a car.

Auto Mechanic

An auto mechanic knows the ins and outs of a car's essential mechanical parts. They can diagnose and fix a variety of issues, from leaking gas tanks, to worn radiator cables, to broken radios and everything in between. Some mechanics develop a specialty in a certain aspect of car maintenance (like tire replacement or oil changes) while others specialize in specific brands of cars. The job is both mentally and physically taxing. Successful mechanics could go on to a senior-level position as an auto technician or manage their own auto repair business.

Job responsibilities of an auto mechanic include:

  • Diagnosing mechanical issues in vehicles
  • Installing tires and other auto parts
  • Receiving and stocking new inventory
  • Test driving vehicles

Auto Technician

Auto technicians share similar responsibilities to auto mechanics, although they may specialize in diagnosing the computerized parts of modern cars. The title technician comes with a certain amount of respect and may indicate a supervisor status within a garage. Auto technicians might specialize in a specific car brand in order to fully understand the complexities of a car's computer systems. Technicians work in garages alongside mechanics. They must lift heavy objects, spend long periods of time in uncomfortable positions and expose themselves to toxins. Successful auto technicians could rise to become a manager at their auto repair store, start their own business or obtain a bachelor's degree and move into mechanical or electrical engineering.

Job responsibilities of an auto technician include:

  • Inspecting and repairing the computer mechanisms in vehicles
  • Keeping an inventory of parts and ordering necessary parts from manufacturers
  • Creating estimates for the cost of repairs
  • Communicating with customers about repair costs and progress

Related Careers

If you are interested in auto mechanic work, you may want to consider a career as an electrician since both jobs include opportunities to complete hands-on repair projects. If you are more interested in becoming an auto technician, consider a career in mechanical engineering since both jobs require precision, technical expertise and a fascination with all things mechanical.

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