By Helen Ginger
Publication date: July 2009
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Each TechCareers book has three sections:
- detailed career information, necessary skill sets and potential career pathways including salary ranges;
- overview of required degrees and/or certifications that includes sample degree plans from schools in the United States; and
- additional information including a comprehensive listing of instructional programs, major employers and industry-related websites/blogs.
Whether you’re a high school or workforce counselor looking to steer people into a career field best suited for them, a mid-life career changer, or just want to learn more about the state of the industry, the TechCareers series has the information you need.
“In today’s world of technologically advanced cars, an automotive tech can have a successful, long-term career and make a comfortable living.”
So, if you loved helping your dad repair the family car, if you loved being underneath the body of an automobile on the flat, rolling cart and if you loved smelling gasoline and grease mixed together, becoming an automotive technician might be the career path for you. TechCareers: Automotive Technicians is your guide to entering the career field of automotive repair and maintenance.
Being an automotive technician is more than being handy with a wrench. Today’s auto technicians must be good with their hands, have strong math skills, be able to communicate effectively and be up to date with the computer software used in modern engines.
TechCareers: Automotive Technicians includes useful websites that provide practical information about succeeding in the automotive industry. Filled with tips about education and employment trends, it is the source of information for those interested in a career with automobiles.
The First Cars
In the mid-19th century, Etienne Lenoir patented the first gas engine in Paris, France. The car it powered ran on wooden wheels with iron rims and stopped by pressing wooden blocks against the iron rims. The car was called the Strassenwagen.
Karl Friedrich Benz followed with the gasoline automobile. His car sported three wheels, four strokes, an engine and chassis powered by an internal combustion engine. The price? $650. Six hundred were sold in 1901.
As modern society evolved, people depended more and more on their vehicles. These vehicles cannot run properly or as long without the help of automotive technicians.
By 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 883,000 automotive technicians, an increase of 110,000 since 2006. As older auto techs retire, young techs will need to take their place.
The average income for automotive technicians and mechanics in 2007, was $16.43 an hour, or $34,174 a year. Those at the higher end of the average can make as much as $27.72 an hour, or $57,650 a year.
Those new to the industry usually start out as trainee techs, assistants or lubrication workers. As your skills increase, you can advance to the journey level and work toward becoming an established and experienced technician. The course of this expertise-gaining may be anywhere from two to five years.
Although auto technicians can make a good living with a certificate or associate degree, one can choose to study a number of better-paying specializations. These include:
- Electrical systems
- Engine repair
- Brake systems
- Engine performance
- Suspension and steering
- Heating and air-conditioning
- Automatic transmissions and trans-axles
- Manual drive train and axles
- Repair service estimator
- Emissions analyst and repair technician
- Specialty shot technician
- Shop manager
- Aftermarket parts research and development
- Parts manager
About the Author
Helen Ginger taught at San Antonio College and Incarnate Word College after receiving her master’s degree from Southwest Texas State University. She served as the executive director of the Writers’ League of Texas and is an owner-partner of Legends In Our Own Minds. She also wrote TechCareers: Avionics Technicians and TechCareers: Computer Gaming Programmers & Artists.