BMW technicians can start their training in high school if their school offers an automotive partnership program. If not, training at trade, vocational, and technical schools after high school is available. Those who excel in their technician programs can qualify for BMW's technician training program.
BMW technicians inspect, maintain and repair vehicles manufactured by the German automaker BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works). They may use a variety of tools, such as diagnostic computers, hand tools and power tools. Employers may prefer technicians with a certificate or associate's degree from a postsecondary program in automotive technology. Technicians may also complete BMW's Service Technician Education Program to become qualified.
|Required Education||A certificate or associate's degree in automotive technology|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary certification available|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||1% decline (automotive service technicians and mechanics)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$40,710 annually (automotive service technicians and mechanics)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
BMW Technician Education Requirements
High School Training
Aspiring BMW technicians can begin their training in high school. However, high school automotive programs can vary greatly in their content and scope. Graduates of some programs may need additional training to become qualified technicians.
Some high schools with more comprehensive programs take part in the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES). AYES is a partnership between high school automotive programs, car manufacturers and franchised dealerships (www.ayes.org). A key stakeholder in AYES is BMW. The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level service technician jobs or further study in automotive technology. Listed on the AYES website are the 349 participating high schools across the country.
Community colleges and vocational, trade and technical schools are other training options for automotive service technicians. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges lists postsecondary schools with programs in automotive technology (www.accsc.org). Graduates of these programs earn a diploma, certificate or associate's degree.
Another resource for automotive technician training programs is the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). NATEF evaluates secondary and postsecondary programs around the country and recommends programs that qualify for certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Certified programs are listed by state on the NATEF website (www.natef.org). NATEF also sponsors Continuing Automotive Service Education (CASE), which evaluates in-service technician training programs.
BMW's Education Program
To meet the need for qualified BMW technicians, BMW of North America created the Service Technician Education Program (STEP). The aim of the program is to produce BMW-trained service technician apprentices for North American BMW dealerships.
STEP is a scholarship program; graduates who are at the top of their classes in a postsecondary automotive technician training school may apply. The initial part of the program lasts 24 weeks. There are seven STEP training centers in the United States (www.bmwstep.com).
BMW technicians do routine service inspections and repair and replace worn or malfunctioning car parts. Inspections are a systematic process, and technicians carefully test a car's engine, examine its brakes and fuel systems, monitor its fluid levels, re-apply lubrication and perform other integral upkeep.
In their work, technicians use common hand tools, power tools and machine tools, including grinding machines, hoists, flame-cutters, lathes and pneumatic devices. In addition, BMW technicians employ high-tech tools to repair the onboard computers and electronic components that operate many of the car's systems.
Diagnostic computers, engine analyzers and compression gauges are among a BMW technician's arsenal of testing devices. Because BMWs are high-end cars, they have luxury options that technicians need to be familiar with, such as global positioning systems. BMW technicians also need good communication and customer service skills to interact with customers and perform service and repair estimates.
BMW technicians are responsible for repair and maintaining general auto and BMW specific parts and systems. There are many training programs and options for students wanting to become automobile technicians. To further promote their skills, new automobile technicians may want to try for acceptance into BMW's STEP scholarship program, which will put them in contact with BMW dealerships across North America.