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Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
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Description: what do they do?
Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul automotive vehicles.
Also known as:
Automobile Mechanic (Auto Mechanic), Automotive Drivability Technician (Auto Drivability Tech), Automotive Mechanic (Auto Mechanic), Automotive Service Technician (Auto Service Tech), Heavy Line Technician, Lube Technician, Master Automotive Technician (Master Auto Tech), Mechanic, Quick Service Technician (Quick Service Tech), Service Technician (Service Tech)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: It may be tempting to tinker with your car on your own when it breaks down, but for most people, the only solution is to bring it in to an automotive service technician or mechanic. These technicians troubleshoot automobile problems. They inspect vehicles like a detective seeking clues… and replace old parts with the precision of a surgeon. While they use computers to diagnose some issues… inspecting parts and systems as they run through a long checklist…is typical. Mechanics also have a knack for translating car jargon for car owners who need advice on repair decisions. Service technicians work with a variety of tools and grease-covered auto parts… sometimes in uncomfortable positions. Standing all day, lifting heavy objects…. work for mechanics is physically demanding; they must take steps to prevent injuries. Mechanics work in car dealerships, auto repair shops, or may opt for self-employment. It is common for them to work on weekends, holidays, and to put in overtime. Employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed a vocational or post-secondary education program in automotive service technology, and they may also want you to earn industry certification later. It’s just the first step to a career where you can let your passion… drive you.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Kentucky
9,850
2018 Employment
9,710
2028 Employment
-1%
Percent change
940
Annual projected job openings
United States
756,600
2019 Employment
728,800
2029 Employment
-4%
Percent change
61,700
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics in Kentucky
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationKentuckyUnited States
10%$20,970$25,790
25%$25,650$32,570
Median$35,160$44,050
75%$49,490$58,330
90%$63,020$71,940


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Operate transportation equipment to demonstrate function or malfunction.
  • Record information about parts, materials or repair procedures.
  • Inspect vehicles to determine overall condition.
  • Adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance.
  • Test mechanical systems to ensure proper functioning.
  • Adjust vehicle components according to specifications.
  • Repair non-engine automotive or vehicle components.
  • Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
  • Estimate costs for labor or materials.
  • Read work orders or descriptions of problems to determine repairs or modifications needed.
  • Confer with coworkers to coordinate work activities.
  • Troubleshoot equipment or systems operation problems.
  • Confer with customers or users to assess problems.
  • Align equipment or machinery.
  • Test electrical circuits or components for proper functioning.
  • Disassemble equipment for maintenance or repair.
  • Reassemble equipment after repair.
  • Service vehicles to maintain functionality.
  • Inspect mechanical components of vehicles to identify problems.
  • Plan work procedures.
  • Clean work areas.
  • Repair defective engines or engine components.
  • Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
  • Service heating, ventilation or air-conditioning (HVAC) systems or components.
  • Disassemble equipment to inspect for deficiencies.
  • Service green vehicles to make repairs or maintain good working order.
  • Rebuild parts or components.
  • Inspect gas systems or components to identify leaks or other potential hazards.
  • Rewire electrical or electronic systems.
  • Install vehicle parts or accessories.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the right tools.
  • Troubleshooting - Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment.
  • Operation and Control - Using equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Finger Dexterity - Putting together small parts with your fingers.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Extent Flexibility - Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Hearing Sensitivity - Telling the difference between sounds.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Test drive vehicles and test components and systems, using equipment such as infrared engine analyzers, compression gauges, and computerized diagnostic devices.
  • Inspect vehicles for damage and record findings so that necessary repairs can be made.
  • Test and adjust repaired systems to meet manufacturers' performance specifications.
  • Repair, reline, replace, and adjust brakes.
  • Estimate costs of vehicle repair.
  • Review work orders and discuss work with supervisors.
  • Troubleshoot fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems, using electronic testing equipment.
  • Confer with customers to obtain descriptions of vehicle problems and to discuss work to be performed and future repair requirements.
  • Align vehicles' front ends.
  • Test electronic computer components in automobiles to ensure proper operation.
  • Tear down, repair, and rebuild faulty assemblies, such as power systems, steering systems, and linkages.
  • Perform routine and scheduled maintenance services, such as oil changes, lubrications, and tune-ups.
  • Follow checklists to ensure all important parts are examined, including belts, hoses, steering systems, spark plugs, brake and fuel systems, wheel bearings, and other potentially troublesome areas.
  • Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience.
  • Maintain cleanliness of work area.
  • Align wheels, axles, frames, torsion bars, and steering mechanisms of automobiles, using special alignment equipment and wheel-balancing machines.
  • Tune automobile engines to ensure proper and efficient functioning.
  • Repair, replace, or adjust defective fuel injectors, carburetor parts, and gasoline filters.
  • Repair and service air conditioning, heating, engine cooling, and electrical systems.
  • Disassemble units and inspect parts for wear, using micrometers, calipers, and gauges.
  • Change spark plugs, fuel filters, air filters, and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Rebuild parts, such as crankshafts and cylinder blocks.
  • Overhaul or replace carburetors, blowers, generators, distributors, starters, and pumps.
  • Conduct visual inspections of compressed natural gas fuel systems to identify cracks, gouges, abrasions, discoloration, broken fibers, loose brackets, damaged gaskets, or other problems.
  • Repair or replace parts such as pistons, rods, gears, valves, and bearings.
  • Diagnose and replace or repair engine management systems or related sensors for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) with ignition timing, fuel rate, alcohol concentration, or air-to-fuel ratio malfunctions.
  • Rewire ignition systems, lights, and instrument panels.
  • Install, adjust, or repair hydraulic or electromagnetic automatic lift mechanisms used to raise and lower automobile windows, seats, and tops.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.