How To Become a Mechanic in the Military: Army Mechanic Guide

4/14/2023

Key Points

  • Army mechanics are responsible for maintaining, servicing and repairing vehicles in the armed services.

  • Universal Technical Institute (UTI) offers programs that can help prepare aspiring Army mechanics for a career in the military.1
  • UTI provides specialized training for veterans transitioning out of the military.
  • To become a military mechanic, individuals need at least a high school diploma or GED and may benefit from attending auto mechanic school.
  • The process to become a military mechanic involves completing education requirements, speaking to a recruiter, passing MEPS screening, and graduating from basic training and advanced individual training.

If you’re a hands-on learner who enjoys being in a fast-paced environment and desire a job that matters, you could consider training to become a military mechanic.

Mechanics are pivotal to the military, as each branch relies on a fleet of vehicles to complete daily operations. As a mechanic in the military, you would be responsible for maintaining, servicing and repairing the machines within these fleets.

Universal Technical Institute can help prepare you for some of these responsibilities. The Automotive and Diesel mechanic programs at UTI provide students a solid foundation of knowledge and technical skills they can build on in the military.

Not only can UTI help prepare aspiring mechanics, it can also assist veterans transitioning out of the role. If you’re retiring from the military as a mechanic, UTI can build on your current skill set through specialized training while offering various military and veterans services along the way.

Keep reading to learn more about what a military mechanic does, how to become a mechanic in the military, and the job outlook.

Military Mechanic Job Description

Military mechanics maintain, service and repair all vehicles, including their complementary components and systems.

Vehicle mechanics make repairs to various vehicles, from light tactical utility and patrol vehicles to Humvees and armored security vehicles.

As previously mentioned, military mechanics play a vital role in the armed services. They ensure all automotive machines can safely transport the materials and people necessary for operations. They also guarantee vehicles are prepared for combat.

Automotive technicians in the military accomplish this by:

  • Performing preventive maintenance on gas and diesel-fueled vehicles and their subsystems, such as material-handling equipment and associated trailers.
  • Maintaining and testing all vehicle components and systems.
  • Maintaining, diagnosing and repairing associated components like starter motors, fuel pumps, brake pads, drive shafts and powertrains.
  • Maintaining, diagnosing, and repairing associated systems like fuel, transmission, electrical, steering, hydraulic, auxiliary-drive systems and weapons stations.
  • Utilizing core hand, torque measurement, diagnostic, testing and power tools to perform responsibilities.
  • Recovering disabled or damaged vehicles from the field.
  • Adhering to safety compliance, production goal and operating standards.

Military mechanics typically perform the above tasks in an auto garage or hangar.

However, they may also work in a combat field in the case of an emergency, such as a vehicle breakdown.

Technician looking under a vehicle

Army Mechanic Requirements

Candidates need at least a high school diploma or GED diploma. Interested individuals could also attend auto mechanic school before entering the armed services.

An automotive program like the one offered at UTI can train students with the basic skills needed to become Army mechanics while offering additional options for their careers within and outside of the military.

Bear in mind that in some cases, mechanic roles may not be available at the time of enlistment. Be sure to ask your military recruiter, who can help you through this process.

You will also be required to take the Armed Services Vocations Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). The ASVAB gauges future occupational success in the military based on current knowledge and can help a recruiter point you toward a role that fits your abilities.

The test consists of 10 sections: general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, electronics information, auto information, shop information, mechanical comprehension and assembling objects.

Many high schools offer the test to students 16 and older because they can enlist once they turn 17, with parental consent. The results are valid for two years after the test has been taken. If you didn’t complete the test in high school, a recruiter can refer you to a local testing site.

Each branch has designated a minimum score requirement on the mechanical maintenance portion of the ASVAB test. The Army mechanic requirements may differ from the Marine Corps, Navy or Air Force. To learn more about the score requirements, talk to a recruiter directly.

In addition to the above standards, Army mechanics typically display the following traits:

  • Enjoy problem-solving
  • Do well in a fast-paced environment
  • Thrive under pressure
  • Can analyze, adjust and react quickly
  • Are comfortable operating power tools
  • Are comfortable with technology
  • Enjoy hands-on learning and physical labor
  • Can read, comprehend and adhere to complex manuals

How to Become an Army Mechanic

1. Complete the Education Requirements

To become an automotive technician in the Army, you must currently have or obtain your high school diploma or GED.

However, training at a skills-based trade school can also be beneficial, as you will gain a mechanical aptitude that is valuable to the military.

Some military mechanics have found that attending a trade school after serving is beneficial, too.

UTI graduate Heath Smith served as a diesel mechanic for seven years. Upon exiting the military, he chose to sharpen his skills at UTI, where he learned new processes for the industry.

Heath says his instructors were at the top of their game and promoted the hands-on learning style.18 He says his favorite classes were the electrical ones. He also says the skills he learned at UTI helped him become one of the lead techs at a Freightliner dealership just two years out of school.6

While becoming a military mechanic does not require trade school, hands-on training from expert instructors can prepare you for the role. It may also provide further potential for advancement within the armed services.

As previously mentioned, it’s possible that all military mechanic roles could be filled for the year at the time of enlistment. To learn if a mechanic role is available to you, contact a recruiter.

2. Speak to an Army Mechanic Recruiter

Once you’ve completed your desired level of education, contact a recruiter. Be prepared with questions and what you desire for your future. Consider presenting them to recruiters from each branch. Doing so can help ensure you find the best fit for you.

If you took the ASVAB test in high school, a recruiter would first pull your scores. If you haven’t, they may refer you to a local testing site. Once the ASVAB is complete, the recruiters will present you with a ship date and list of available roles.

If there are mechanic positions available, you can choose this as your path. Once you and a recruiter decide on your path, you’ll be referred to the nearest Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) for screening.

3. Pass MEPS Screening

MEPS screening determines whether your physical ability, aptitude and morale are fit for the military. The screening includes a few different sections.

As previously mentioned, most candidates complete the ASVAB in high school or are referred to a local testing site prior to screening. However, if you haven’t taken the ASVAB test, this will be the first portion of your MEPS screening, as it helps your recruiter determine the type of role you’re best suited for.

While high schools can administer the ASVAB test to minors without parental consent, recruiters cannot. If you’re younger than 18, both parents will have to give their permission. This is because many high schools use the test as a counseling tool to help students identify their strengths, while recruiters use it as an enlistment tool.

Upon completing the ASVAB, you’ll undergo a physical examination to assess your health. A doctor will check your height, weight, hearing, vision, muscles and more. You will also undergo urine, blood, drug and alcohol tests.

After you’ve passed MEPS screening, you’ll be cleared to start the role you and your recruiter have discussed.

4. Graduate from Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training

Basic training, also known as combat training, basic military training or recruit training, provides recruits with the physical, mental and emotional knowledge necessary to serve within the Army.

During this time, you can expect a combination of field, physical and classroom training. Although you will not learn any special skills related to being a mechanic, it is necessary to reach advanced individual training, where you will learn more about being an Army mechanic.

The training lasts for 10 weeks and upon completion, you will begin what you enlisted for — specialized training as a military mechanic.

Technician working on an engine block

Army Mechanic Career Outlook

Now that you know the process required to qualify to become an Army diesel mechanic or Army automotive technician, it’s time to consider some of the paths you could take. Common Army mechanic jobs include:

  • Wheeled vehicle mechanic: A wheeled-vehicle mechanic maintains, diagnoses and repairs wheeled vehicles and their related components and systems.
  • Track vehicle repairer: track vehicle repairer maintains and repairs tracked vehicles, like tanks, and their systems.
  • Construction mechanic: A construction equipment repairer maintains and repairs construction equipment like trucks, bulldozers, power shovels and other heavy equipment.

As previously mentioned, a military mechanic role can help supply you with in-demand skills that could translate to the civilian sector. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total auto technician employment is expected to exceed 794,000 by 2032.47

UTI helps to answer the demand for skilled mechanics and simultaneously assists transitioning military members by teaming up with BMW to offer a manufacturer-specific Military Service Technician Education Program (MSTEP) for men and women preparing to exit the military.11

Taught by UTI instructors at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Camp Pendleton in California, the manufacturer-paid BMW MSTEP provides students with industry-aligned, hands-on training. At the end of 16 weeks, program participants receive manufacturer-specific credentials, granting them a unique opportunity to secure employment while making their transition as seamless as possible.

UTI also teams up with Penske Premier Truck Group (PTG) to offer a Technical Skills Program (TSP) to soon-to-retire military members.11 UTI instructors hold the tuition-free 12-week TSP at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. At the end of 12 weeks, students receive Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) systems credentials and are offered employment with PTG.

If you’ve already left the military, UTI has multiple military and veteran services that can help with the transition.

In addition to military and veteran services, UTI offers specialized training through Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs. Upon completing a core automotive or diesel program, qualified students can apply to enroll in these MSAT programs, where they will gain knowledge and credentials specific to brands like Ford, Toyota, Cummins, Freightliner and more.

Army Mechanic FAQs

How long does it take to become an Army mechanic?

Pre-enlistment screening takes one to two days, basic training takes 10 weeks, and advanced individual training for the roles mentioned above takes eight to 14 weeks. However, this can vary. For instance, some candidates’ physical health screening may take longer than others.

Can you join the Army to train to be a mechanic?

Yes, if there are mechanic jobs available for your ship date! Mechanics are crucial to the Army’s success, as they ensure the vehicles used for transport and combat are in working condition.

Does the Army need mechanics?

Yes, Yes, the Army counts on a variety of mechanics to maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot their specialty vehicles.

Train to Become a Mechanic at UTI

The Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology programs offered at UTI can help prepare students for careers as Army mechanics. You can graduate from the automotive or diesel programs in less than a year with in-demand skills that will help you serve as a mechanic in the military.7 

If you’re interested in taking the next steps toward a career path you’re excited about, don’t hesitate to request more information on our website today. We’re happy to help answer any questions you might have! You can also call 1-800-834-7308 to speak with an Admissions Representative.

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6 ) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
7 ) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
11 ) See program details for eligibility requirements and conditions that may apply.
18 ) UTI now offers all of its automotive, diesel, motorcycle and marine technician training in a blended-learning format consisting of online lecture courses along with in-person, hands-on lab training.
47 ) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that total national employment for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics will be 795,000 by 2032. See Table 1.2 Employment by detailed occupation, 2022 and projected 2032, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed November 16, 2023. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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