From quick tune ups to minor a/c unit repairs to entire brake replacements, auto mechanics diagnose and solve a wide range of car problems. To fix mechanical issues, auto mechanics or technicians should know how to operate various tools, including screwdrivers, lathes, jacks, and welding equipment. Automobile mechanics must also be familiar with advanced computer diagnostic tools used for newer cars that have computerized components. While some car mechanics work on many different mechanical issues, other auto mechanics specialize in one area of car repair, such as transmissions, tune ups, front end work, and brakes.
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What You Should Know About an Auto Mechanic Career
Although high school auto mechanic classes can teach you very basic auto repair skills, postsecondary auto mechanic courses are your best bet. Auto mechanic programs typically award certificates in six months to a year, or associate's degrees in about two years. In addition to offering general auto mechanic classes, an associate's degree program can provide coursework in:
- Computer technology
- Chemistry and physics
- Business ethics and customer service
Although certification is not required, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) provides a certification in eight different areas of auto mechanics that is highly valued by employers. Passing all eight certifications certifies you as a master automobile technician.
Auto Mechanic Career Prospects and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that car mechanics with postsecondary auto mechanic training can expect the greatest degree of success. The median hourly wage for car mechanics in 2008 was $16.88.