A mechanic works on automobiles, trucks and related transportation, and material-moving vehicles. Some mechanics perform general maintenance and repairs, while others may specialize in tires, brakes, engines, or on-board computers. While a high school diploma is the minimum education requirement for mechanics, many employers prefer to hire those who have completed certificate or associate's programs in automotive technology or related fields. Mechanics can earn voluntary certification to enhance job opportunities.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; postsecondary training is often preferred by employers|
|Degree Field(s)||Auto mechanics|
|Licensure/Certification||Voluntary certification can improve job prospects|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||9% (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$37,850 (automotive service technicians and mechanics)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Mechanic Career Overview
Mechanics are expected to examine, troubleshoot, restore, and maintain various types of automobiles, including personal vehicles, trucks, and heavy equipment machinery. Mechanics must be knowledgeable about the various tools, equipment, and procedures used in auto shops for troubleshooting and repairing vehicles.
As a result of the advances in automotive technology, mechanics must now be familiar with the computers and software programs that are used in auto shops and vehicles. The advancements in technology help operate the electrical and mechanical parts in the latest vehicles.
Five Steps to Become a Mechanic
Step 1: Complete a High School Education or GED
You'll first need to obtain a high school diploma or GED. These credentials are required to enroll in a certificate or degree program. The Automotive Youth Education Services (AYES) program is available to high school students in some areas around the country. In addition to a basic high school education, the program offers academic and hands-on training in automotive technology.
Step 2: Enroll in a Vocational Education Program
Automobile manufacturers, vocational schools, and community colleges have training programs that award associate's degrees or certificates of completion in automotive service technology. Those studying to be mechanics should take courses in electronics, hands-on automotive repair, computers, math, and English.
Step 3: Obtain a Certificate
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is an organization that offers certification in eight specialty areas for auto mechanics, including engine restoration, heating and air-conditioning, electrical structures, brake systems, and steering.
Step 4: Receive Employer Training
Employer training for mechanics typically lasts for a couple of months. You'll work with experts like lubricant workers, trainee technicians, or automotive helpers during your training. It's important that you learn to work independently and as part of a team during the training.
Step 5: Become a Master Mechanic
You can become a master mechanic by being certified in all eight automotive specialty areas offered by the ASE.