Automotive Technology

If working on cars or trucks revs your engine, automotive technology may be the right career for you. Automotive technicians (also called mechanics and service techs) inspect, diagnose, repair and maintain cars, trucks and other vehicles.

Some automotive technicians specialize in one type of vehicle (farm equipment, for example) while others specialize in an area such as brakes or A/C systems. Experienced automotive technicians can be promoted to managers, foremen and other supervisory positions.

Find out what students and instructors say about this program.

You may also be interested in...

Essential Skills and Salary Information

State and National Wages & Employment Trends

Location Pay Period 2011
10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States Hourly $9.91 $12.91 $17.39 $22.86 $28.65
Yearly $20,600 $26,900 $36,200 $47,500 $59,600
Pennsylvania Hourly $9.94 $12.97 $16.70 $20.89 $25.86
Yearly $20,700 $27,000 $34,700 $43,500 $53,800
United States Employment Percent Change Job Openings 1
2010 2020
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 723,400 848,200 +17% 31,170
Pennsylvania Employment Percent Change Job Openings 1
2008 2018
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 39,150 40,350 +3% 900

1 Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

Note: The data for the State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for state data is 2008-2018, while the projections period for national data is 2010-2020.

Information provided by CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Tasks

  • Examine vehicles, compile estimates of repair costs, and secure customers' approval to perform repairs.
  • Repair, overhaul, or adjust automobile brake systems.
  • Troubleshoot fuel, ignition, and emissions control systems, using electronic testing equipment.
  • Repair or replace defective ball joint suspensions, brake shoes, or wheel bearings.
  • Inspect and test new vehicles for damage and record findings so that necessary repairs can be made.
  • Test electronic computer components in automobiles to ensure proper operation.
  • Tune automobile engines to ensure proper and efficient functioning.
  • Install or repair air conditioners and service components, such as compressors, condensers, and controls.
  • Repair, replace, or adjust defective fuel injectors, carburetor parts, and gasoline filters.
  • Remove and replace defective mufflers and tailpipes.

Tools used in this occupation

  • Pneumatic vacuum equipment — Brake bleeders; Hydraulic bleed tools; Pneumatic fluid evacuators; Pressure brake bleeders
  • Pressure indicators — Diesel modulator shift testers; Engine oil pressure testers; Manifold gauge sets; Tire pressure gauges
  • Pullers — Gear pullers; Hand pullers; Power pullers; Slide hammers
  • Specialty wrenches — Breaker bars; Filter wrenches; Lug wrenches; Ratcheting gear wrenches
  • Voltage or current meters — Alternator testers; In-line ignition spark testers; Spark plug testers; Voltmeters

Technology used in this occupation

  • Accounting software — ARSIS Automotive Repair Shop Invoice System software
  • Data base reporting software — Genisys Fast Fixes; Pathfinder software
  • Facilities management software — Alliance Automotive Shop Controller; Mitchell OnDemand5 Manager; Scott Systems MaxxTraxx Pro; Snap-On ShoKey
  • Information retrieval or search software — Online service manual database software; Technical manual database software
  • Project management software — Estimating software

Knowledge

  • 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.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills

  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.

Abilities

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Work Activities

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Work Context

  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
  • Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
  • Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — How do the decisions an employee makes impact the results of co-workers, clients or the company?
  • Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.

Interests

Interest code: RIC

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

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.