Automotive Mechanic Supervisor

Automotive mechanic supervisors, also known as shop supervisors or service managers, are responsible for the management and coordination of automotive mechanics, semi-skilled workers, and trades helpers in a garage or other automotive facility. They diagnose the more challenging repairs, as well as assist or coordinate the training, hiring and promotion, and evaluation of employees. They maintain records, prepare reports, purchase parts, inspect and adjust equipment, and correspond with dealers regarding automobile warranties.

Job Skills

Automotive mechanic supervisors must, first and foremost, have extensive knowledge of, and experience related to, the repair of automotive engines and vehicles, as well as auto body frame and construction. In addition, they need to be familiar with employee policies and procedures, union contracts, and office procedures. They must have the ability to interpret complex automotive manuals and diagrams, monitor and adjust employee efficiency and organization. They need to have well-developed verbal and written communication skills, as well as an aptitude for instruction and supervision.


Salaries and wages for automotive service advisors depend on whether or not they are covered by a union contract, and by the type of establishment they work for. They are usually paid on a strict commission basis or, if they are covered by a union, a combined salary/commission basis. Monthly salaries usually range from $1,200 to $4,500, but may reach $6,500 in rare cases. The highest salaries are usually found in luxury automobile dealerships. An experienced automotive service advisor, under union contract, can make $60,000 to $65,000 a year.

Training and Education

Most automotive mechanic supervisors are promoted to their positions by demonstrating their leadership ability while working as an automotive service technician. Automotive service technicians learn their trade through a wide variety of routes involving education, training, and certification. While a small number will learn only from assisting other experienced workers, it is highly recommended to complete some type of high school or post-secondary vocational school program. As technology becomes more complex, formal training becomes more important. The quality of high school programs can vary, but some programs, such as the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) offer students a basic technician certificate that they receive along with their high school diploma. After high school, there are many options. Trade and technical schools offer programs lasting from 6 months to a year, while community colleges provide more extensive programs that last as long as 2 years and supplement the automotive curriculum with English, mathematics, computers and other electives.

Some even add classes in customer service and stress management to help their graduates become more employable. Some automobile manufacturers offer 2-year certifications as well. For most employees, it will take between 2 and 5 years of on-the-job experience to become a fully proficient journey-level service technician. Automotive service technicians can voluntarily become certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) by having at least two years of experience and passing a written exam. For those interested in becoming automotive mechanic supervisors, certification in programs such as ASE can be very advantageous. You can check out a list of Auto Mechanic Schools by clicking on this link.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of automotive mechanic supervisors is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Job demand will be created by general population increases, growth of the labor force, and rises in personal income enabling multiple car ownership. However, this demand will be somewhat offset by increases in technology making cars and trucks more reliable and durable. Job opportunities should be very good for people with formal education and training, especially in more advanced technology.