If you enjoy fixing things and have a love of cars, then a career as an automotive technician could be a great option. It’s a flexible career: Choose to work in an auto repair shop where you can enjoy the challenge of solving a multitude of motor vehicle options—or opt to specialize in an area you particularly love and excel in. But what does this job entail? And what can you specialize in? Here are three insights into a career as an auto technician that may help you decide.
1. Daily tasks. When you are an automotive technician, your day will be filled with many different projects. Generally, you will be inspecting, testing, maintaining and repairing cars, SUVs and pickups, conducting oil changes, lubrications and tune-ups and using computer diagnostic programs to fix certain issues. But along with these tasks, there is a customer service aspect to this job. For instance, you will need to write up client estimates for the work you will be doing, as well as effectively communicate what you are repairing and why.
2. Specializations. If you choose to work for a general mechanic shop, you will be working on many different automotive issues. However, if you prefer to specialize in one area, here are some that may appeal to you:
• Brake repair specialists adjust brakes, replace brake rotors and pads, and fix any other issues on brake systems. You can also opt to specialize in both brake and front-end work.
• Automotive air-conditioning repair technicians install and repair air conditioners and parts, such as compressors, condensers and controls. You must be trained in the government regulations that are related to this area.
• Front-end mechanics align and balance wheels and repair steering mechanisms and suspension systems. Expect to use special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines.
• Transmission technicians and rebuilders work on gear trains, couplings, hydraulic pumps and other parts of transmissions. These specialists are expected to have extensive knowledge of computer controls and the ability to diagnose electrical and hydraulic problems.
• Drivability technicians use their extensive knowledge of engine management, emission, fuel, electrical and ignition systems to diagnose issues that prevent engines from performing efficiently. They often use the onboard diagnostic system of a vehicle and electronic testing equipment such as a multimeter to find where the malfunction may be.
3. Skills. Automotive technicians should be dependable, persistent, independent and analytical. Technicians should also be able to cope with complex situations, solve a multitude of problems and enforce strong time- and safety-management skills.
Looking forward to a career as an auto technician? Then apply to earn your Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in automotive technology at TCI College in New York City. With its on-campus state-of-the-art repair lab, this program will give you the hands-on skills you will need to not only know the ins and outs of motor vehicles, but also the operations of auto dealerships. Find out how to start working towards a career as an automotive technician today.