Frequently Asked Questions
What is an automotive technician / mechanic?
This is someone who works to repair and maintain vehicles, from small cars to large transports. They are trained to work on a variety of automotive systems and parts, and utilize many different tools.
Do I need a post-secondary education to become an auto mechanic?
In most cases, employers will require that you complete an apprenticeship or take a post-secondary program. Many vocational schools offer auto mechanic programs, and some may even include an apprenticeship or externship as part of the curriculum.
What will I learn at an automotive mechanic school?
Automotive schools will usually start off by providing you with a solid theoretical knowledge of automotive mechanics. You can do a lot of your learning in a hands-on environment, working on actual vehicles, repairing a variety of systems and parts, from brakes and exhaust to steering and suspension. And you can learn how to use a wide range of industry-related tools and equipment. Some schools can give you the opportunity to specialize in vehicles from a particular manufacturer.
Most programs end with an apprenticeship or externship, so you can put what you've learned to use and get real experience in the field.
How can I find automotive service technician schools in my area?
Our simple automotive schools zip code search feature is a great place to start researching the available programs and schools in your area.
How long does it take to complete an auto mechanic program?
Certificate or diploma programs from vocational schools usually take one to two years, or less. Colleges and universities can offer associate's degree programs that include general education courses, and may take up to four years to complete.
What is the difference between an auto mechanic and an auto body repair technician?
A mechanic works to repair the inner parts and systems of a car, while an auto body repair technician handles exterior repairs, such as glass installation, frame repair, and paint refinishing.
Is certification necessary to becoming an automotive service technician?
Although certification isn't typically a legal requirement to work in this profession, it can lead to increased opportunities and larger salaries. Certification is available through national organizations, and some manufacturers may also offer specialized certification programs.
What career options will I have after graduating from an auto mechanic school?
An automotive trade school will let you learn to service all aspects of passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks, from transmissions to engines to brakes. This can make you capable of taking on positions in service bays, dealerships, and transport companies. Many automotive trade schools also let you test your skills through a real-world practicum before graduation. That kind of experience can help you make contacts within the industry.
What does an automotive mechanic do?
Those employed in this field are responsible for inspecting, diagnosing, maintaining, and repairing vehicles. They handle everything from basic care maintenance, such as routine service inspections, to complex mechanical or electrical repairs, including integrated electronic systems.
How much is the average auto mechanic salary?
Wage estimate statistics from 2012 show that the median annual wage for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $36,610. The outlook for automotive jobs has also been classified as "bright."*
*The Occupational Information Network (O*NET), website last accessed on January 7, 2015.
Auto Alliance, website last accessed on January 7, 2015.
Auto Care Association, website last accessed on January 7, 2015.
Automotive Service Association, website last accessed on January 7, 2015.
The Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA) , website last accessed on January 7, 2015.