Is your favorite place under the hood of your car? Do your friends come to you to discuss what's wrong with their cars before taking them to a mechanic? If cars are your passion, why not also make them your career? If you want to get paid to do what you love, start with distance learning programs in auto repair and maintenance. Many technical schools offer certificate programs, but you can also choose to earn an associate's degree. Both types of programs can give you the chance to train in the latest automotive technology.
Auto Repair Includes Diagnostics Technology
As automobile engines have gotten more sophisticated, so too has the automotive repair industry. An automotive repair technician needs to be able to do everything that the auto mechanics of yesteryear did, but must also understand computerized diagnostic equipment and be able to repair or replace the sophisticated electronic and computer components that run today's cars and trucks.
Automotive repair technicians also need well-developed problem-solving skills so that they can take general and often vague complaints from a customer and turn that information into a diagnosis and plan for repair.
Auto Repair Training Programs
Many aspiring automotive repair technicians get their initial training through vocational programs offered in high school, or after high school from technical institutes or community colleges. These programs typically offer certification in a number of specialties such as body repair, brakes, drive train and axles, and engine performance. Many schools also offer more comprehensive associate's degree programs that will include training in all of those areas and more.
Auto Technician Certification
As cars have become more sophisticated, this type of formal training has become more important. In addition to certification and degrees offered by vocational schools, automotive technicians can also be ASE certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in eight separate areas of automotive service. Technicians who earn ASE certification in all eight areas are certified as ASE Master Automobile Technicians.
Traditional Auto Repair Apprenticeships
Despite the more recent emphasis on formal training, the master-apprentice structure that produced generations of mechanics remains a somewhat viable training option. This is partly to allow younger technicians to get the benefit of their elders' experience, but also because automotive technicians typically work with their own tools, and it takes many years to acquire all of the specialized tools needed for the trade.
Auto Repair Jobs
As long as Americans keep buying and driving cars, automotive technicians will be in demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that auto mechanics and technicians with formal training will be in high demand in the coming years. Jobs in the industry are growing about 40 percent faster than the national average for all jobs, so now may be the perfect time to get automotive repair training. Last year, automotive technicians earned an average of $36,480, with the top 10 percent earning more than $57,000.