For the most part, folks in the United States get around via driving. Cars, trucks and SUVs ferry people to work, help them make errands and are a home away from home.
It makes perfect sense, then, that automotive technicians continue to be in demand. Hiring is projected to increase, a growth that amounts to 23,760 openings yearly. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at who is hiring these automotive technicians.
Where Openings Are
A high number of automotive service technicians work in automobile dealerships and independent repair shops, and that trend will continue with the most job openings there, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s the lowdown:
- Automotive repair and maintenance shops employ about 27 percent of technicians.
- Automobile dealers employ about 19 percent.
- Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores employ about 13 percent.
- Gasoline stations employ about 2 percent of automotive technicians.
The rest work in small percentages for a wide range of employers such as the postal service. Other industries that hire these technicians include:
- Automotive equipment rental and leasing
- Road transportation support activities
- Natural gas distribution
- Courier and express delivery services
- Electric power generation, transmission and distribution
According to the BLS, the median annual salary of an automotive service technician as of 2012 was $36,610, though the employer that paid the highest median wages in 2012 was the government at $47,240. Automobile dealers paid $41,360, while repair and maintenance shops paid $33,230. Automotive parts, accessories, and tire shops paid $31,250, and technicians at gas stations earned a median salary of $31,090. Some technicians work for commission, while others are paid hourly.
Becoming a Successful Auto Mechanic . . . A State of Mind
The five states in which the most automotive technicians work are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, explains the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the most jobs per thousand positions, check out West Virginia, Montana, Maine, Missouri and Vermont. The states for the highest-paying technician jobs as of May 2014 are the District of Columbia, Alaska, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland.
So, as you can see, being an automotive technician gives you tremendous job mobility. Work anywhere you want, whether it is in a big city or small city, for a nationwide chain, a mom-and-pop shop, the government or another type of employer.
What Automotive Technicians Do
In a nutshell, automotive technicians inspect, maintain and repair vehicles. They frequently use computers to identify and fix problems, but the job involves plenty of elbow grease as well. Common duties include performing oil changes and tire rotations, testing parts and systems, and repairing or replacing parts. Communication skills are critical because automotive technicians frequently interact with customers to explain problems with their vehicles and what needs to be done. The technicians work with tools such as welding torches, jacks, pliers and wrenches.
The work is relatively safe as long as automotive technicians adhere to protocols. However, they do experience above-average rates of injuries due to the lifting of heavy parts and tools. Cuts, bruises and sprains are not unusual.
The Environmental Protection Agency mandates that technicians who work with refrigerants have licensure for refrigerant handling, and it is very common for employers to have their technicians get certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
Auto Mechanic Skills and Abilities
The most successful automotive technicians possess excellent communication and customer-service skills. They earn their business repeat clients by behaving professionally, listening well and answering questions. An attention to detail is critical because electronic equipment often malfunctions due to causes that are not exactly easy to detect. Because automotive technicians assemble and disassemble countless parts and use hand tools daily, they must have good dexterity, coordination and vision. They also need critical-thinking skills to effectively identify and troubleshoot vehicular issues.
Areas of Auto Repair Specialty
Many shops have technicians who specialize in certain areas such as air conditioning repair, brake repair, front-end work, and transmission rebuilding. Some technicians also focus on large trucks or buses.
Technicians boost their employment prospects by getting certified in one (or more) of eight areas that include engine repair, brakes, electronic systems and engine performance. ASE Certification entails passing an exam and having two years of experience, or the exam plus one year of experience and formal education. A technician who passes all eight exams becomes a Master Automobile Technician.
— ATI (@AdvTechInst) August 14, 2015
Who Has the Best Prospects for Auto Techs?
Employers increasingly want applicants who have undergone formal educational programs in automotive technology, explains the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Competition stands to be intense for job candidates who lack that official education. Certification and working in specialized areas enhance employment prospects as well.
Does a career as an automotive technician interest you? Contact Advanced Technology Institute TODAY for the scoop on earning your Automotive Technology with Service Management (AOS).
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