Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician  Program Description

 
 

Insider Info

dotThese days, it's not good enough to be just a "grease monkey." You'll need some kind of formal education to become an auto mechanic. They rely on computers, schooling and instinct to cure what ails a car.

Programs in the U.S. are often two years long. Many schools work in conjunction with high schools to give students an early start. You may also find these programs under the name "automotive technology" or "automotive technician."

High school students interested in auto mechanics should concentrate on a well-rounded education that includes math, language skills and -- given today's advanced auto technology -- computer abilities.

"The technology of the auto industry today is such that a student must possess good math, English and communication skills to succeed," says Richard D. Pyle, head of Arapahoe Community College's automotive department in Colorado.

Computer literacy is very important, says John F. Sheppard. He is an automotive service technology instructor.

"Most vehicles are computer-controlled and this is the area that most employers are looking for competency in, as well as the fact that most dealers are using PCs for parts, records [and] service," he adds.

Extracurricular activities such as playing a variety of sports will help keep you in shape and improve hand-eye coordination for working in tight places on a vehicle.

Sheppard recommends a part-time job in the auto industry and mechanical-type hobbies. Also, "have a mentor who is into mechanical stuff," he advises.

Besides tuition, the biggest expense in this program is tools. These are the tools you will need to repair a vehicle both while in school and after you get a job. Mechanic's tools easily start at $800 for a basic kit and run up to about $1,600.

There are ways to save on this expense. You might choose to buy used tools. And many times, tool manufacturers will appear on campus to sell their products at a discount.


Links

Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

International Automotive Technicians' Network
You can use this site to locate a member in your area

Small Engines Website
Industry links, engine theories and answers to your questions

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.