Becoming an Automotive Technician

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The automotive industry is constantly experiencing exciting changes, thanks to the use of the latest technology. Today's professionals who work in the field as automotive technicians have the opportunity to perform maintenance and diagnostics on vehicles using computers. Many of the functions that they need to accomplish, however, still require the use of their hands and being able to physically work with a car's engine. Therefore, a career as an automotive technician offers an interesting blend of old-school engineering and today's innovative technology.

The Responsibilities of an Automotive Technician

First and foremost, someone with an automotive technician job has to be able to communicate with customers to understand what needs to be done on a car. If there is a service issue that needs to be identified, the car owner can provide details about the problem to make the diagnosis easier. The technician will then test the various car components to make sure each is working correctly, continuing with these checks until determining the potential problem.

In order to assist in the diagnosis, one with an automotive technician job may need to take the car for a test drive. This way, the technician can see if he or she experiences the same problem as the customer. There are also a number of diagnostic tools that the automotive technician may use in order to determine a diagnosis, such as a compression gauge or possibly even specific computer equipment.

When performing car maintenance, the automotive technician will also check for wear and tear on various parts of the vehicle, including the belts and plugs. During this inspection, the automotive technician typically looks at the components that are more likely to break faster and cause the most problems for the owner. The technician may also add lubricant to the parts that require lubrication in order to run properly. Depending on the maintenance requested by the customer, additional automotive systems, such as the brakes system, may be inspected for potential concerns.

The more high tech or sophisticated a vehicle is, the more the automotive technician must rely on computer equipment in order to maintain it and diagnose any concerns. This requires anyone working on a vehicle to be comfortable with technology. At the same time, these individuals need to understand what is required to fix a car and cannot be afraid to get their hands dirty.

Educational Requirements for an Automotive Technician

Anyone interested in a career as an automotive technician needs to first get the appropriate training, ideally from a trade school or community college. While completion of a high school program in automotive repair can certainly help launch a career in the field, an increasing number of automotive shops are looking for candidates with a higher level of training, such as those with an associate’s degree. They also prefer to hire candidates with on-the-job experience or those who have completed an internship program.

The advantage of completing an associate’s degree program for an automotive technician job is that the program also includes other general education coursework in subjects such as communications and math. These additional courses can help an automotive technician when he or she needs to accurately estimate fluids needed in the car, or may teach the technician to be better at communicating with customers.

Since the automotive field can change so rapidly, many car shops will send their technicians for additional training with specific manufacturers. This can help them improve their skills in repairing specific components or introduce them to new tools that they can use to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their work. In other cases, some shops may bring in specialists to provide additional training on site.
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