Automotive Service Jobs – Tips in Preparing for Automotive Service Jobs

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Automotive service jobs involve inspecting, maintaining, and repairing vehicles running on any fuel system. The work includes basic maintenance such as changing oil, greasing, tire alignment, checking the electronic system and wiring, and checking the undercarriage for problems.

Today, vehicles having complex computer telemetry systems and more advanced electronics necessitate workers who are able to understand and know how to use computerized shop equipment as well as the traditional tools. Today there are electronic or computerized tools used to diagnose if components or parts are salvageable or will need to be replaced. Many of the high end and latest model automobiles these days have their systems, such as braking, steering, and transmission systems, controlled by computers. Some even have global positioning systems; systems that help avoid accidents and other features that technicians will have to be familiar with. Automotive technicians will also have to start learning about emerging technologies such as alternative fuel systems which are going to become more common in the near future.

Automotive design and technology is becoming more sophisticated and there is an increasing need for workers who have undergone formal training in vocational schools or community colleges. Having a certification for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) will give you an advantage if you intend to work for prominent companies in the large cities. Certification is given for 8 different areas in automotive service and technicians must have at least 2 years of experience in an area to get certified and must pass an exam for each area. The best preparation in preparing for automotive service careers is successful completion of automotive service technology vocational training programs; however, 1 year of actual work experience can be substituted for completion of vocational training programs. A good educational background would be to take courses in automotive repair, computers, chemistry, electronics, English, mathematics, and physics. Most employers look for people with good communication and analytical skills to hire as trainees because they will need these to be able to understand technical manuals. Trainees must have mechanical aptitude and at least have a basic knowledge of how vehicles work. Knowledge of electronic systems is vital because it accounts for most malfunctions in modern vehicles. Technicians also need to often read about new advances in automotive technology as well as new repair and service procedures so as not to be left behind. By having the ability and knowledge to perform different types of auto repair or service technicians improve their value and is one way of increasing pay. In larger shops technicians demonstrating administrative abilities can be promoted to supervisor or service manager and those who have saved enough can even open their own repair shops. Technicians with education units can apply as instructors in vocational courses.

Employment outlook for automotive service jobs is expected to grow by only 5 percent which is slower than average for all occupations for the period 2008 to 2018. Because of the growing number of vehicles being used in the U.S. many jobs for workers doing basic car maintenance and repair jobs such as oil changing and replacing of worn brakes will be created. Also, the lifespan of vehicles is increasing which means more need for repair services. The increased use of advanced electronic and computer technology in vehicles will give technicians with specialized certifications and skills new opportunities as well as technicians with expertise in particular types or models of vehicles or with knowledge about emerging fuel systems like hybrid powered vehicles, however, there is currently a trend for automobile dealers at consolidation which goes against the need for new workers. Job openings will come from industry growth and also from the need to replace retiring workers. There are very good automotive service opportunities for applicants who complete automotive training programs and earn ASE certification. Employers often find it difficult to find technicians with the right skills. The best opportunities will be for technicians with good problem solving and diagnostic capabilities, trained in electronics, and have computer skills. There is likely to be strong competition for entry level jobs. Most job openings will be in dealerships and private repair shops but this is counteracted by consolidation. The median hourly wage for automotive service jobs as of 2008 was $16.88, including commission. Generally, government agencies give higher salaries than private companies.

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