How to Become Mechanic

This article provides in-depth information into What is Mechanic? What Mechanic do? Degrees for Mechanic, Steps to become Mechanic and much more.

What does a mechanic do?

A mechanic is a professional who is expertise in working, building, repairing and maintaining the machinery. They specialize in fields such as auto mechanics, boiler mechanics, industrial mechanics, refrigerating, air conditioning to name a few.

As a mechanic you must be aware of the various equipment, tools and standard procedures to repair and troubleshoot the machinery of vehicles. In addition, they must be familiar with the use of computers and software used for modeling and vehicles.

Some duties of a Mechanic are listed,

  • Conduct test on the machines and vehicles

  • Examine and troubleshoot the various parts.

  • Maintenance of the vehicles and machinery

  • Identify error codes

  • Disassemble and assemble parts to understand the problem

  • Engine rebuilds

  • Replacement and repairing the parts 

Mechanic salaries

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2020, the average salary offered to a Mechanic is $39,578 and the salary usually ranges between $34,759 to $45,658 per year. The salary offered depends mainly on the education, years of experience, certification and additional skills to stand out among the rest applicants.

Job growth

The job growth of a Mechanic in 2020 according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics is up to 17 percent faster than an average job growth. The total mechanics in the United States is currently 848,200 and it is expected to increase with an addition of 124,800.

The employment opportunities are growing rapidly due to the increase in the number of vehicles, machineries and also the longer life of the vehicles with the advent of newer technologies.

Steps to become a Mechanic

If you are looking forward to creating a serious career as a Mechanic, then you must get a formal education and training. Here are some steps you can follow,

Step 1- Complete the high school degree

Earning a high school degree or GED is the minimum educational requirement to allow you to  enroll for a certification or degree program and acts as a first step towards your career.

Enroll yourself to a vocational training program which gives you the basic skills about the functions and maintenance of the  vehicles. Here are some certification programs you can choose,

  • Intro to Automotive Technology

  • Diesel Service Techniques

  • Automotive Electrical Fundamentals

  • Fuel and Emissions Systems

Step 2- Gain experience

After completing the formal education,you can treat a training program or work as an assistant to gain hands-on experience and on-the-job training. This gives you the skills required for an entry level position. In the training program, you learn about the various practical concepts you learned in a solving the real world problems and troubleshooting the machines gives you a better understanding.

Step 3- Get a certification

After gaining sufficient experience, You must apply to get certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. You could be certified as a specialist in nine different areas such as brakes, engine repair, heating and air conditioning, manual drivetrain and axles, suspension, steering, electrical systems, engine performance, light vehicle diesel engines and automatic transmission.

Step 4- Land on a job

After getting certifications, you can apply for your dream job. You start getting the training required for that job once you  get hired and this helps you understand the concepts and standard process used as a mechanic. With the training, you must focus on learning the latest technologies and evolving engine features which is most important for a Mechanic career.

Types of degrees for a Mechanic

For a mechanic, there are two common paths you can choose, it is the Mechanic certification and the Associates degree. The bachelor's degree is rarely chosen by the students and hence you must seek a good training program to gain experience. Here are the two paths explained in detail for you.

Mechanic certificate:

A certification program for a mechanic takes up to a few months to complete. This certification helps students to focus on the skills of the students to diagnose, repair, inspect and maintain a wide variety of vehicles and its parts. A mechanic is tested on his knowledge on the particular type of engine, vehicle or parts of that vehicle. 

Associate degree in Automotive Service Technology

An Associate’s degree is a two years program to learn about the entry level skills required for a mechanic. The program focuses on the core subjects such as the mechanical work and automotive technology along with general courses such as business and management to help them run their own business. The credits can be transferred easily for the students who are interested in pursuing the bachelor's degree. Se of the options you could choose in the associate's degree are the,

  • Advanced Transmission Diagnostics

  • Automotive Mechanics Technology

  • Automotive Service Management

  • Alternative Fueled and Hybrid Vehicles

Concentrations to be considered for a Mechanic

Academic concentrations: the coursework offered are important to acquire the knowledge required to become successful in one's career, where are some concentrations offered,

Mechanic Certification:

These programs are used to develop skills in students who are interested in specializing at a particular field, they are,

Introduction to automotive Technology:

This course is to give an overview on the operation on vehicle systems, safety use of tools, common problems faced during the repair.

Skills acquired:

  •  Learn the use of various tools

  • Latest technologies in the automotive industries

  • Identify the common problems in vehicles

  • Basic repair work

Diesel service technique

Study of the diesel mechanics, diesel engines and how they are different from gasoline, electric and hybrid engines. Study on the repairing and maintenance of the engines found in diesel powered vehicles.

Skills acquired:

  • Working of diesel engines

  • Requirements used to repair the diesel engines

  • Understand the maintenance of diesel engine systems

  • Preventive maintenance and engine overhaul

Automotive electrical fundamentals

This is the fundamental concepts of the automotive industry, the electrical vehicle system, their interaction with other components and unique methods of repairing.

Skills acquired:

  • Understand the automotives with suitable schematic diagrams

  • Use diagnostic tools

  • Obtain accurate diagnostic results

Fuel and emission system

Course to understand the designing of the vehicle components, the control systems with the theoretical and practical concepts of the fuel emission and its problems.

Skills acquired:

  • Checking the emission system according to the government standards

  • analysis of fuel system components

  • Testing the engine performance

  • Improving the fuel systems with service procedures

Associate degree in Automotive Service Technology

Here are some common courses offered to students in this program, they are,

Advanced Transmission Diagnostics

This course is a study of the transmissions and trans-axles including electronic control system theory, electronic testing procedures, hydraulics overhaul, adaptive shift changes.

Skills acquired:

  • Diagnose and repair the vehicles

  • Knowledge on the standard test procedures for common problems

  • Mechanical testing

  • Analyse the test performance

  • Automotive mechanics technology

Study the diagnosis and maintenance of the vehicle with suitable repairing procedures with development of skills of the latest technologies used in mechanical technology.

Skills acquired:

  • Understand the evolution of automotive technologies

  • Implementation of modern technologies  to repair vehicles

  • Predict the future Evolution of the repair procedures.

Automotive service Management

Curse is to understand the standard repair and service techniques with the use of the latest tools to improve safety, protection of oneself. Gaining the technical skills for the analysis of tasks,own a shop and work as an independent in your own business.

Skills acquired:

  • Regulate finance for the business

  • Handle human resource issues

  • Maintain customer relationship

Alternative Fueled and hybrid vehicles

Focuses on the system and engines of electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and other engines which run on alternative fuel dealing with the maintenance and repair of parts.

Skills acquired:

  • Technologies to repair electric and hybrid vehicles

  • Maintenance of the vehicle with evolving technologies

Job concentrations

If you're thinking of pursuing your career as a mechanic, read this to explore about the career opportunities you get with the same degree and certificates,

General mechanic:

A general mechanic is a professional who is responsible for working with a variety of vehicles such as cars,  trucks, tractors, water pumps, compactors, salt spreaders and saws with a variety of engines. They examine, inspect, diagnose, repair and maintain vehicles by fixing mechanical issues. The average salary offered for a general mechanic is $40,701 per year.

Motorcycle mechanic:

The motorcycle mechanics are specialised to work with smaller engines of motorcycle, scooters, mopeds, bikes and other.  They work on repairing the minor problems with the overhaul of the vehicle and restoration of the engine. Mechanical and electrical systems can be repaired by them and the average salary offered by them is $35,000 annually.

Big rig mechanic:

They are mechanics who work on the diesel engines of the largest vehicles such as tractor-trailers, buses and large work trucks. They work on the diesel engines and location where the engine broke down. They earn an amount of $42,000 as a median salary per year.

Recreational vehicle mechanic:

They are mechanics who work on the problems of the recreational vehicles, including travel trailers with the engines related to this system. This  may include the appliances, generators and interior components that are common in recreational vehicles. They usually inspect, and repair the parts with mechanical issues such as testing parts, repair plumbing, locate and repair broken connections and wiring, connect electrical systems, inspect RVs, and test and repair gas lines. The average salary offered to them is about $34,000 per year.

Farm equipment mechanic:

The farm equipment mechanic is to work on the farm equipment to repair, maintain, service the equipment. These equipment are harvesters, tractors, dairy equipment and irrigation machines. The mechanic goes to that location to work on the equipment as they might be heavy and cannot be transported.  The salary earned by a farm equipment mechanic is about $38,000 annually.

Stand out skills required for a mechanic

The profession of a mechanic might induced a complicated duties, but you can succeed in this profession when you possess some additional skills to stand out, here are some listed for you,

Attention to detail: The problem or the repairing work might be small but as a mechanic you must be observant to identify those problems. By paying attention to detail you could ease the repairing process and solve the issues which could be lengthy in no time. 

Troubleshooting ability: with the ability to identify problems, you should also have the knowledge , you could use your technical core skills, standard methods and apply them to solve the problem. This simplifies the process of fixing the vehicles or machines.

Physical strength: As a mechanic you'll require exceptional physical strength and stamina to lift the heavy machineries and components. To work with those parts, you must put strength and endurance to lesser  risk of injuries.

Good customer service: as you get trained and start up with your own business, you must be customer friendly and when they come for your service, you must explain the problem and how it can be fixed in simple words. Learning how to handle the customers, enhance their experience and satisfaction during the service is a key in this profession.

Dexterity: while performing the tasks and repairing operations on the components, you must be well coordinated and skillful about the work. While you often work with smaller components, you must be careful with the eyesight and also the hand movements even at a smaller work space.