Automotive technicians are one of the most important people in the 21st century. As we progress more with technological advances, we also need enough people in the maintenance industry.
Who is an automotive technician?
Similar yet different from a mechanic
Responsibilities of an automotive technician
The typical activities you will do as an automotive technician are as follows:
- Your work will consist of working on specialized electricity equipment to repair or change damaged parts. Sometimes, you will use hoists or lifts to raise the car to work underneath and use pneumatic air equipment to loosen and tighten parts. You will also be using different tools like lathes, hand wrenches for brake rotors, and removing components.
- You will diagnose customers’ automobiles looking for issues by test driving it and interacting with it using diagnostic equipment and specialized computers that can communicate with the vehicle’s electronics.
- Your job will need the provision of customer service and manufacturer-recommended preventative maintenance, such as tire rotations, oil changes, fluid level checks, assessments for emissions, tune-ups, and complete service checklists at certain mileage intervals.
- You will interpret a range of automobile diagnostic codes to understand the causes of a vehicle breakdown, plan & proceed with repair work.
- If you specialize in only one area of expertise, you will get opportunities to work as an automotive service technician, front-end technician, lube technician, transmission technician, or even a mechanic for a race car team.
The most common workplace for an automotive technician is a garage. As the name suggests your surroundings can be dirty and noisy. You will need to wear safety kits during your work.
Other workplaces include the service department of car dealerships, a race car team, etc.
The route to becoming an automotive technician
There are three ways you can become an automotive technician.
1. A college course
You can pursue a college degree/diploma. It is necessary to gain hands-on skills before starting as a trainee in any workplace. The study duration will be 2-3 years.
Examples of such courses are:
- Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Technology
- Level 2 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair
There are requirements to get an entry into the courses.
- At least 4 GCSEs with a minimum grades 4/C, or equivalent, for a level 3 course
- At least 2 GCSEs with a minimum grades 3/D, or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can sign up for an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship as an automobile service and maintenance technician.
- some GCSEs, or equivalent, including maths and English, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs with a minimum grades 4/C, or equivalent, including maths and English, for an advanced apprenticeship
The British army has its own apprenticeship where you could train as a vehicle mechanic. Your primary task will be checking and repairing army vehicles such as Tanks and Quad Bikes.
You will get a driving license, and after completing your training, NVQ level 2 and 3 in Engineering.
3. Online training
There are many online mechanic courses from where you can study at your own pace. This is particularly beneficial for people who are already working a different job and wish to change their careers.