For students interested in the diagnosis and repair of the computer-controlled systems in today's vehicles, Moraine Valley Community College's Automotive Technology Program offers hands-on training. Courses focus on gaining the strong electronics and computer background needed to work on electrical systems in late-model vehicles. Students will learn how to:
• operate, maintain, adjust and diagnose problems on automotive equipment
This program is housed in Moraine Valley's state-of-the-art Center for Contemporary Technology. Students will gain experience on computer equipment such as a chassis dynamometer; transmission dynamometer to measure power and force and to test transmissions; a Hunter four-wheel alignment rack; and a Sun engine analyzer.
This program is intended to lead to employment. A student considering transferring to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor's degree using the courses from this program should make an appointment with the department chairperson or an academic advisor to review options.
Recent high school graduates may be eligible through MACS for college credit for selected vocational skills courses completed in high school.
Technicians currently certified in any ASE automotive areas may receive college credit.
Certificate programs in automotive technology are also available. They require fewer credit hours to complete than an associate's degree.
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 computer-based 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.
Related Job Titles—Automotive body and related repairers, diesel service technicians and mechanics, and small engine mechanics.
Transfer Option—Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Capstone), Bachelor of Science degree. See academic advisor for more information.
Employment Outlook—Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is slower than average for all occupations through the year 2018. Over the 2008-18 period, demand for technicians will grow as the number of vehicles in operation increases, reflecting continued growth in the number of multi-car families. At the same time, consolidation of auto industry will limit need for new workers. Workers with expertise in hybrid-fuel system technology will be in demand, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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.
annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of service
technicians in May 2010 were as follows:
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.
Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011
median salary in Chicago for automotive mechanic II is $46,282. Salaries range
between $34,683 to $59,071.
For job listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center, S202, (708) 974-5737, www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.