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An automotive mechanics technology program will assist those wishing to learn the intricacies of automobiles and how to repair them. Courses are available in high schools, vocational schools, community colleges and private institutions. Though a degree, diploma, or certificate is not required to work on automobiles, those who pursue an education in the field will be better prepared in the work environment and for certification preparation. Programs in automotive mechanics technology prepare students with the skills necessary to perform basic, advanced and complex repairs in controlled settings where risk of failure does not adversely affect a customer.
A curriculum in automotive mechanics technology may include:
- Electrical Systems Theory
- Brake Systems
- Steering and Suspension
- Internal Combustion Engine
- Automatic Transmission Theory
A program in automotive mechanics technology will assist in the certification process and expose students to the systems being implemented in the current generation of automobiles. If an individual completes a postsecondary program he or she will be able to reduce the 2 year requirement of work experience for ASE certification to a single year. ASE certification is sought after because it demonstrates to customers a level of proficiency in automotive repair.
ASE certification is broken into eight parts for automobiles:
- Engine Repair
- Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
- Manual Drive Train & Axles
- Suspension & Steering
- Electrical/Electronic Systems
- Heating & Air Conditioning
- Engine Performance
If an individual can pass these eight exams, he will be recognized as an ASE master technician, which can greatly increase the potential income earned by an individual. Certification and master status can also be obtained in other forms of automotive repair such as medium-heavy trucks or school buses. The average wage for automotive mechanic is $16.00 per hour, but can be as high as $30.00 per hour based on experience, quality of service and certification.
Automotive repair shops come in all varieties, from the small local shop to large dealerships. Additionally, specialty businesses exist, such as radiator, transmission, and even salvage. Individuals looking for work in auto repair can pursue careers through these businesses, eventually garnering enough experience to open their own location. The increasing complexity of automobiles can be a limiting factor in opening one's own location, as many modern automobiles require diagnostic tools that are either cost prohibitive or considered proprietary by the manufacturer and only available through dealerships. Tool makers will attempt to provide diagnostic machines for modern vehicles, but availability may not be immediate.
Another facet of auto repair is restoration work, often considered an art form. The taking of classic automobiles and returning them to factory quality standards is a time consuming job, but can be lucrative, especially if one obtains notoriety for their work. Often restoration specialists will focus on a particular type of automobile, such as only working on British automobiles, or only working on Porsches, as the knowledge necessary to put together a vehicle from scratch is extensive, and requires an understanding the minutiae of that particular type of automobile.
Experienced automobile mechanics often demand a premium for service, which usually translates to a higher quality repair. Individuals looking to apprentice under a mechanic should consider the reputation, experience, and quality of work of their possible mentors. By taking the time to research their employer, an aspiring mechanic can ensure longevity in his or her career due to obtaining the proper practical experience necessary to work on vehicles and operating a business.
Those interested in auto mechanics technology programs may also be curious about engine machining, aircraft mechanics and maintenance, and motorcycle maintenance and repair.
For additional information about a career in auto mechanics, check out our Essential Auto Mechanic Career Guide on our blog.