The job of the auto mechanic has changed dramatically during the last twenty years, from the relatively straight forward mechanical engineering of the majority of the twentieth century to today’s high technology integrated electronic systems and computerized system management.
This increasing sophistication means that the industry requires well qualified and trained mechanics with good diagnostic and problem-solving skills. Auto mechanics have to be able to use computerized diagnostic and maintenance equipment, and understand the principles of much of the control systems now used in modern cars. They also need the more traditional skills of mechanical engineering. In fact this job is changing so much that workers are often called “automotive service technicians”, indicating the different skills needed.
Increasingly automotive mechanics take a full-time training course before entering the industry, giving them the basic knowledge of systems that they need for this job. They are then able to understand the new systems, what they do and how they work. Courses often include computing, basic mathematics, English and communication skills, and are offered over two years leading to an associate degree.
According to the US Department of Labor, annual earnings are in the region of $28,500, with the best paid mechanics earning as much as $50,000. Job prospects are good over the next ten years, with no lessening of the use of the motor car for transport, and older mechanics retiring at a fast rate. Training is the key to good prospects in this changing profession, so gaining a qualification at the beginning of a career will make sure that entrants are well-positioned for a successful career.
Directory of Auto Mechanic Schools