Do you enjoy working on engines? With the right training, you can become a mechanic and make a decent yearly salary. If you want to learn how to become a mechanic, you’ll want to look into the right steps.
With good attention to detail skills, good hand-eye coordination, decent communication skills, and the ability to troubleshoot, you can become a mechanic. You will need the right training, however. So let’s look at the steps necessary to become a mechanic.
Steps to Become a Mechanic
1. Finish High School
Before you can do anything else, you need to get your high school diploma. If you want to become a mechanic, you should take any shop classes offered in high school. You can gain knowledge of automotive technology and the tools necessary to work on vehicles.
It’s common for high schools to offer automotive training programs. This is a good start, but you will need more than just a high school program.
Along with automotive classes, you should make sure to take math and computer classes. These courses can help you with your advanced training to become a mechanic.
2. Complete a Mechanic Training Program
A mechanic program accredited by the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation is the most common choice. If you want to become a mechanic, this is the best type of program, typically. Graduating from an ASE program will give you an ASE certification. This will lead to a higher salary and more career opportunities.
During your training program, you will learn about many things, including:
- Engine Types
- Car Components
- Engine Repair
- Suspension and Steering
- Engine Diagnostics
- Computer Operations for Automobiles
- Internal Processes
You will learn how the components and operations work and how to repair common issues.
The choice will be between a certificate program and an associate’s degree. For example, a certificate program in auto repair will take around one year to finish. On the other hand, getting an associate’s degree will take around two years if you choose to get an associate’s degree.
If you choose the certificate route, you will gain basic education as a mechanic. The certificate program will include both classroom and hands-on training. Students will use many tools to learn how to work on vehicles.
It takes a high school diploma or GED to enter into this type of program. You will also need a clean driving record and a driver’s license. Some programs will require you to pass a drug test, too.
Some of the courses you will study include:
- Engine theory
- Emission systems
- Electrical systems
- Brakes and suspension
- Performance and diagnosis
After completing the necessary courses, you will earn your certification.
Mechanic Associate Degree
A step up from the certification program is the associate degree program. This degree will cover general car maintenance or specialize in a specific area, such as electric engines, diesel engines, or motorcycles. You might even get to focus on a specific brand of vehicle, such as Audi, BMW, or Volvo.
This type of program will give you the technical understanding necessary to diagnose and fix different engine systems. Therefore, you will likely learn more during a degree program than a certificate program.
It’s necessary to have a high school diploma or GED to enter this type of program. It may also be helpful to make sure you take the right courses in high school in technology and science.
Some of the courses you will take include:
- Manual transmissions
- Steering systems
- Fuel and emission control systems
- Brake systems
- Automotive electrical systems
- Automotive air conditioning
- Brakes and suspension
With the right courses, you can gain the necessary training to become a mechanic.
It’s common to find an online program to become an automotive mechanic. You might take some courses online or all of your courses online. However, it’s helpful to take some of your courses in person to gain the hands-on element.
3. Complete an Apprenticeship
Before you can become a licensed mechanic, you will need to complete an apprenticeship. This is completely under the supervision of a journeyman or a master mechanic. It will take you two to five years to complete your apprenticeship.
4. Pass the ASE Automotive Technician Certification Exam
After you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you need to pass the ASE exam. This exam will provide proof that you have learned what’s necessary to become a licensed mechanic. It will cover the following areas:
- Collision Repair
Once you pass the test, you will become a journeyman mechanic. However, you can keep going and become a master mechanic. You will need many years of experience to become a certified master mechanic.
To become a master mechanic, you will need to pass the ASE mandated exam. It will cover eight parts of car repair. You will also need to be licensed by the EPA for hazardous materials handling.
While you don’t need to become a master mechanic, it can help you earn a higher salary. You will likely work as a supervisor when you become a master mechanic.
The Duties of a Mechanic
A mechanic is someone with a deep knowledge of automobiles or other vehicles or equipment with engines. You will be trained to use the right tools and equipment to repair and maintain different vehicles. As a mechanic, you will know about steering systems, engines, braking systems, and other components of different vehicles.
Some of the duties you will enjoy include:
- Tire Rotations
- Fluid Changes
- Oil Changes
- Brake Pad Replacements
- Diagnostic Testing
- Performing Inspections
Along with these duties, you will perform many different types of repairs for customers. The repair will depend on the type of issue you’re dealing with.
Types of Mechanics
You can become one of many types of mechanics. If you specialize in a specific area, you can earn a higher salary. Some of the types of mechanics include:
- General Mechanic – As a general mechanic, you have the ability to work on many vehicles. This type of mechanic can work on cars and light trucks. It’s also possible to specialize in foreign or domestic vehicles.
- Big Rig Mechanic – An excellent specialty, as a big rig mechanic, you will likely work on diesel vehicles. These may include tractor-trailers, semis, busses, and larger work trucks. It’s common to work in a diesel engine shop if you choose this specialty.
- Motorcycle Mechanic – Of course, if you become a motorcycle mechanic, you will be working on smaller cycle engines. This may include motorcycles, dirt bikes, and mopeds. Sometimes, you will handle complete restorations, and other times it will be minor repairs.
- Farm Equipment Mechanic – Maybe you want to help farmers with their equipment. As a farm equipment mechanic, you will work on combines, harvesters, tractors, irrigation machines, dairy equipment, and more.
- Recreational Vehicle Mechanic – RV mechanics work on large recreation vehicles and often on larger trucks, too. Both gas and diesel engines are used in RVs. You may also work on the generators, interior appliances, and other components of the RV.
Some of these specialties may provide a higher salary and the ability to work on a specific type of engine.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Mechanic
How much can I make as a mechanic?
The average annual salary for a mechanic is about $44K. However, the salary range can be rather large, depending on your specialty, experience, and location. The range can go from about $24K per year to around $70K. Some specialties can earn a higher salary, and if you work for yourself, you could earn even more.
A diesel mechanic can make a bit more with an average annual salary of about $49K. However, some diesel mechanics can earn closer to $60K per year or even more.
Who will hire mechanics?
Mechanics commonly work for automobile dealerships and repair shops. Some go into business for themselves, while others work for automotive parts, accessories, and tire shops. There are many options for a mechanic when it comes to finding the right job.
How long will it take to become a mechanic?
The amount of time will vary from one program to another. It may also vary depending on your schedule and how much time you have to take courses.
Programs for becoming a mechanic are often found at vocational or trade schools. They will last about 18 to 24 months, on average. It can also depend on the type of mechanic you plan to become.
Typically, you can find an associate degree program at a community college. However, there are a few bachelor’s degree programs out there, too.
You can become a certified mechanic in a few months up to four years. After that, it depends on the program and how much time you can dedicate to the program.
Maybe you have a love for working on cars already. Becoming a mechanic is a great way to turn your passion into a career. There are plenty of types of mechanics you can become. With the right steps, you can enjoy a great career path working on engines of all types.
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