Do you enjoy working with cars? Do you want to start a career working as an automotive technician?
Auto repair technicians and mechanics are also often referred to as service technicians or service techs. To put it simply, their job is to inspect maintain and repair cars and light trucks. Their day-to-day tasks can include:
- Performing basic care and maintenance, such as tune ups, oil changes and tire rotations
- Fixing or replacing worn car parts, including brake pads and wheel bearings
- Determining mechanical problems
- Checking car parts and systems to make sure they are in proper working order
- Explaining automotive problems and repairs performed on vehicles to customers
Aside from working with traditional mechanical components, such as engines and transmissions, among others, service technicians must also be familiar with electronic systems since a growing number of automotive mechanical systems are controlled by computer and electronic systems.
Service technicians must be accustomed to working with many different tools, including common hand tools and computerized diagnostic tools. Service techs sometimes specialize in a particular type of repair, such as automotive air conditioning, brake repair, front-end, transmission and tune-up.
While high school courses in auto repair, electronics, computer, math and English provide good background, graduates may still need further training to become qualified to work as a service tech. Some employers now prefer candidates who have completed postsecondary training as automotive technology is becoming more and more complicated. Aside from vocational programs, there are also short-term certificate programs in a particular skill for those who wish to gain entry-level positions. In addition, once you gain employment, you will need to obtain industry certification.
Certificate Programs and Schools
Auto repair certificate programs are designed to teach students how to repair all kinds of vehicle problems. As a student, you can choose to specialize in areas including brake repair, steering and electrical systems, suspension and alignment and engine performance, to name a few. Certificate schools use a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training so students will learn how to use tools aside from running engine diagnostics and troubleshooting engine issues.
Course topics include engine performance, electrical systems, suspension and alignment, manual drive trains, automatic drive trains, basic car maintenance, air conditioning and heating, transmissions, brake systems, and fuel control systems.
While auto repair classes are available online, students can’t complete an entire program online since auto repair technicians are required to gain hands-on experience.
- Ashworth College offers an online Auto Mechanic training course. This career diploma program is aligned with the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Students can complete the program in as few as six months.
- Idaho State University offers the following certificate programs: Advanced Technical Certificate – Automotive Repair/Refinishing; Technical Certificate – Automotive Collision Repair; Technical Certificate – Automotive Refinishing.
- Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development in Cincinnati, Ohio offers an Auto Collision Program that uses the latest I-CAR curriculum and is accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Graduates receive an Automotive Service Excellence Certification (ASE) upon completion.