Automotive Service Technician
Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks. Service technicians work on traditional mechanical components, such as engines, transmissions, belts, and hoses. However, they must also be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems. Braking, transmission, and steering systems, for example, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components. Other integrated electronic systems, such as accident-avoidance sensors, are becoming common as well. In addition, a growing number of technicians are required to work on vehicles that run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol and electricity.
Most service technicians work in well-ventilated and well-lit repair shops. Although many problems can be identified and fixed with computers, technicians frequently work with greasy parts and tools, sometimes in uncomfortable positions. Most service technicians work full time, and many work evenings or weekends. Overtime is common. Automotive service technicians and mechanics have a rate of injuries and illnesses that is higher than the national average. Service technicians must often lift heavy parts and tools, and as a result, minor workplace injuries, including small cuts and bruises, are common. However, the work is not generally dangerous if workers follow safety procedures and practices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is expected to grow 17 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the number of vehicles in use continues to grow, more entry-level service technicians will be needed to do basic maintenance and repair, such as brake pad replacements and oil changes. The increasing lifespan of late-model cars and light trucks will further increase demand for qualified workers. However, continuing consolidation in the automotive industry may lessen the need for new mechanics.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.