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We rely on our vehicles more than ever. You’re the one who makes it all run, smoothly and safely. Automotive technicians use computerized diagnostic equipment, technical manuals and experience to inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.
High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, computers, and math will provide a good background. However, you’ll typically need a vocational or other postsecondary automotive technology program to become fully qualified.
A strong knowledge of automotive systems and components – and a love of troubleshooting – is a must in order to identify and fix problems in today’s complicated mechanical and electronic systems. Many tasks require manual dexterity, good hand–eye coordination and attention to detail. You’ll also need to communicate what you’re doing in layman’s terms, so that your customers and clients can understand the problem and how it will be fixed.
If you graduate from an automotive service technology program, you’ll generally need little on-the-job training. Otherwise, you’ll likely start as a trainee technician, technicians’ helper or lubrication worker, building your knowledge and experience by working with more senior mechanics and technicians.
With experience, you can become certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in different specialty areas such as: automatic transmissions, brakes, diesel engines, electrical systems, engine performance, engine repair, heating and A/C, and suspension and steering.
Technologies change fast, so it’s very important for you to keep up through ongoing hands-on training and/or courses that focus on particular features. Advanced service technicians can leverage their knowledge to become certified for work on diesel engines, large-scale heavy vehicles and construction machinery.