Automotive service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles. The job requires an extensive knowledge of mechanical repair and the computer systems used to diagnose cars, as well as patience, ingenuity, and integrity. Formal training is the best preparation for employment, and most mechanics continue taking courses throughout their careers.
Most mechanics work with different groups throughout the day, so good communication and coping skills are a necessity. Mechanics may be promoted to supervisors or even open their own shop with experience and training.
Most large shops have several technicians with different specializations. Often, these mechanics will be certified by ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) in their field. Mechanics that have passed the difficult ASE exams in all eight available areas are known as Master Technicians.
Some specializations include:
- Transmission technician/rebuilder
- Tune-up technician
- Air-conditioning repairer
- Front-end mechanic
- Brake mechanic
There were about 818,000 automotive service technicians in the U.S. in 2002. This career allows for a good deal of creativity and keeps the mechanic on his or her toes as automobiles are constantly evolving to become more efficient (for the foreseeable future, alternative-fuel cars will be all the rage).