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Automotive Service Technician
Curriculum code 1237

Course Requirements                    Automotive Technology Web site Gainful Employment Information

This program provides the student with the entry-level skills needed to become an automotive technician. The program develops the necessary manipulative skills along with the theory of operation of various automotive systems. Along with developing job skills, the student can use the certificate as a partial fulfillment of the requirements for the A.A.S. degree in Automotive Technology.

Nature of Work—The work of automotive service technicians and mechanics has evolved from mechanical repair to a high technology job. As a result, these workers are now usually called “technicians” in automotive services and the term “mechanic” is falling into disuse. Today, integrated electronic systems and complex computers run vehicles and measure their performance while on the road. Technicians must have an increasingly broad base of knowledge about how vehicles’ complex components work and interact, as well as the ability to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and computerbased technical reference materials.

Automotive service technicians use their high-tech skills to inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks that run on gasoline, ethanol and other alternative fuels, such as electricity. The increasing sophistication of automotive technology now requires workers who can use computerized shop equipment and work with electronic components while maintaining their skills with traditional hand tools.

When mechanical or electrical problems occur, technicians first get a description of the symptoms from the owner or, if they work in a large shop, from the repair service estimator or service advisor. Automotive service technicians use their diagnostic skills to determine the cause of the problems and then prescribe and make the needed repairs.

Related Job Titles—Other workers who repair and service motor vehicles include automotive body and related repairers, diesel service technicians and mechanics, and small engine mechanics.

Gainful Employment Information—The college provides information about the number of semesters and expected costs to complete this program, as well as the current job outlook. Visit www.morainevalley.edu/programs/employment.htm.

Employment Outlook—Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to increase 5 percent between 2008-2018. Over the 2006-16 period, demand for technicians will grow as the number of vehicles in operation increases, reflecting continued growth in the number of multi-car families. Growth in demand will be offset somewhat by slowing population growth and the continuing increase in the quality and durability of automobiles, which will require less frequent service. Additional job openings will be due to the need to replace a growing number of retiring technicians, who tend to be the most experienced workers.

Earnings—Median hourly earnings of automotive service technicians and mechanics, including commission, were $17.21/$35,790 in May 2010. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.44 and $22.64 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.56, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.71 per hour. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of service technicians in May 2010 were as follows:

Local government $44,340
Automobile dealers $40,650
Automotive repair and maintenance $33,010
Gasoline stations $33,010
Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores $31,160

Many experienced technicians employed by automobile dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this method, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned technicians a minimum weekly salary.

Some automotive service technicians are members of labor unions such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011. www.bls.gov/oco

The median salary in Chicago for automotive mechanic II is $46,282. Salaries range between $34,683 to 59,071.
Source: Salary.com

For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center, S202, (708) 974-5737, www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.

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