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Careers in Automotive Technology: A 2023 Guide

Feb 10, 2023 ·

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Is automotive technology a good career?

Let’s see what the numbers say:

  • In the United States, there’s expected to be 68,000+ average annual automotive job openings between 2021 and 2031.41
  • By 2031, total auto technician employment is expected to exceed 743,000.47
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the United States was $46,970 in May 2022.25 This means half of automotive technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Employment goals may be easier to achieve with strategic choices like obtaining a high school diploma or GED, specialized automotive technical training, testing for certification, and more. But before you start training, you should understand which automotive technology careers are possible in this industry!

Keep reading to learn more. We’ll explore a variety of possible careers in automotive technology.

What Skills Does Automotive Technology Need?

A typical auto technician job posting requires applicants to be familiar with automotive inspection, maintenance and repair. Auto technicians also benefit from knowing how to use digital software. As the industry evolves, so does the need for technicians to be able to use computerized systems to assist them with their jobs.

However, success in the auto industry is more than just remembering step-by-step procedures or correctly using a socket set.

Auto technicians need to possess strong math and reasoning skills. They also need to be tenacious, constantly curious and be great communicators.

This way, they'll be passionate and motivated enough to develop an expert understanding of the machinery in their industry. They don't back down when faced with challenges. Instead, they eagerly seize these opportunities to become better technicians.

This allows them to constantly improve their skills and expertise. They can effectively solve problems at work and professionally communicate automotive technicalities to teammates, customers and other decision-makers.

Entry-Level Roles

There are some opportunities for technicians to advance their automotive technology careers, especially with the right amount of education and experience. But first, you have to get your foot in the door. Most of our grads start out working as entry-level technicians or in other entry-level roles.1 As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with hard work.77


Of course, this is one of the most popular jobs for automotive technology degree holders. Entry-level automotive technicians do general automotive technical work, like that described above.

Most auto school core curriculums, including Universal Technical Institute’s core Automotive Technology program, provide this essential training to their students. With UTI, this training can take less than a year – 51 weeks, to be specific!7 UTI also has relationships with local and national employers, which can help graduates learn about opportunities in the field.1

Service Writer

Service writers are vital for maintaining fluid communication around the service department. By doing so, they make sure everyone knows what’s happening and has everything they need. Duties of a service writer may include:

  • Greeting customers
  • Asking customers to explain their car issues
  • Documenting, maintaining and digitally storing customer information
  • Monitoring and maintaining scheduled servicing
  • Billing customers
  • Documenting and tracking service progress
  • Continually updating and communicating with customers regarding service progress

An automotive mechanic school provides training that helps aspiring service writers relay technical information with accuracy and precision. Some automotive technology programs, like ours at UTI, also offer specific automotive mechanic courses for service writing. Aside from training, service writers need to have excellent communication and customer service skills.

Smog Inspector

Smog inspectors ensure that vehicles meet emission standards. Some things they’re responsible for include:

  • Performing smog checks
  • Maintaining records of smog inspections and emission system repairs
  • Ensuring auto repair shops are compliant with local and state emission standards

Automotive technicians must be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to work as smog inspectors. Graduates of UTI’s Automotive Technician training program are prepared to complete ASE examinations and can substitute their training for one of the two years required to meet ASE's typical work requirements.

Parts Associate

Parts associates help customers find the right parts for their vehicles. This requires technical expertise as well as effective, engaging verbal communication skills. They might do tasks like:

  • Verifying inventory
  • Taking part orders
  • Providing customers with part recommendations
  • Assisting other auto technicians in obtaining correct parts
  • Locating items from warehouse to apply to current orders

Detail-oriented auto part expertise helps parts associates understand what customers need. They should also be good at inventory management so customers can get their required parts.

Read more: How to Train to Become an Auto Electrician

Advanced Roles

What jobs can you pursue with an automotive technology degree and further experience? Over time, technicians can advance their careers with hard work. The following are just a few examples of advanced automotive technology careers for auto technicians.

Service Manager

Automotive service managers oversee and ensure the smooth operation of the service department. Their duties might include:

  • Hiring and training employees
  • Maintaining and company’s service standards
  • Building customer relationships
  • Setting and planning for department goals and objectives
  • Managing parts and supply inventory

Service managers need to combine automotive technology knowledge with strong management skills. Doing so should help them understand how to assess their department's overall progress and ensure goals are met.

Master Technician

Master automotive technicians are also known as lead automotive technicians. As their titles suggest, these technicians are experts who can perform all types of automotive technical work, including specialized areas. Technicians need to gain a lot of experience to get here.

This experience will assist them in learning and thoroughly practicing various specialized skills. They might also be responsible for:

  • Ensuring work is done according to regulatory compliance and company standards
  • Performing advanced automotive technical work
  • Training other auto technicians
  • Testing parts and systems to confirm operationality

After completing technical school training, automotive technicians can start down the path toward becoming a master technician. At UTI, students can even enroll in additional specialized training programs to supplement their knowledge and skillset.

Fleet Technician

A fleet is a collection of vehicles and equipment. Cars, delivery trucks, and public transportation vehicles like buses and trains are examples of fleet vehicles.

Fleet automotive technicians ensure fleet systems operate smoothly. On top of doing standard automotive work on fleet vehicles, fleet technicians might also do tasks like:

  • Repairing fleet vehicles
  • Diagnosing and troubleshooting vehicles, equipment and components
  • Writing repair logs documenting service process
  • Performing routine fleet maintenance, inspections, and adjustments
  • Ordering parts needed for fleet service

These responsibilities are critical to fleet system functioning. Otherwise, malfunctions can cause fleet routes to be delayed, greatly disrupting business operations.

UTI’s Automotive Technology training program teaches the automotive and computer skills needed to seek entry-level employment. After graduation and with additional experience and training, they may be able to manage larger fleet systems like these.

Shop Owner

Auto shop owners oversee all aspects of their businesses. To understand what good automotive technical work looks like, they need to be well-versed in automotive technical knowledge. However, shop owners need to also shoulder responsibilities like:

  • Hiring and training staff
  • Ensuring shop’s regulatory compliance
  • Upholding security practices to protect shop’s assets and information
  • Researching industry to continually modernize and innovate services
  • Maintaining equipment and tools

To facilitate this wide range of roles, shop owners need to have strong management and organizational abilities. This allows them to maintain and improve their company's operational structure, helping them properly service customers.

Read more: Automotive Shop Safety Rules

Need Training for Careers in Automotive Technology?

That's it for our 2023 guide to careers in the auto tech industry! If any of these positions interest you, start looking into your training options right away.

Universal Technical Institute offers a 51-week automotive technology curriculum taught by instructors with years of industry experience. Here, we’ll help you develop skills and learn about opportunities for careers in automotive technology.

Find one of our University Technical Institute locations near you! Send in an automotive trade school application whenever you’re ready to enroll.

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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

7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

25) UTI’s Automotive Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as automotive technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as an automotive technician, such as service writer, smog inspector, and parts associate. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics (49-3023) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $32,140 to $53,430 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled automotive technicians in North Carolina is $21.80 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $15.23 and $13.48, respectively.

41) For Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an annual average of 73,300 job openings between 2021 and 2031. Job openings include openings due to net employment changes and net replacements. See Table 1.10 Occupational separations and openings, projected 2021-31, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, viewed October 13, 2022. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

47) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that total national employment for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics will be 743,800 by 2031. See Table 1.2 Employment by detailed occupation, 2021 and projected 2031, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, viewed October 13, 2022. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

77) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI prepares graduates for entry-level careers using the provided training. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than those listed.

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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