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TYPES OF CAREERS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

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TYPES OF CAREERS IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

If you have a passion for cars, love working with your hands and are always up for a new challenge, a career as an automotive technician may be for you.1

Due to advancements in technology, now is an exciting time to pursue a career in the automotive industry. As a technician, you can apply your knowledge and skills to a variety of different environments as you pursue your passion. Keep reading to learn all about what an automotive technician does, automotive mechanic jobs, career outlook and more.

Why Train to Work in the Auto Industry?

A career as an auto technician is full of potential benefits: a steady income, a path for career advancement, and a place to put your passion and skills to the test.5 The automotive industry is rife with change as new vehicle technology and high-tech systems are now considered standard equipment. Gain up-to-date training and proper education from UTI and position yourself for a promising future.

276 million+ Vehicles in the United States13
705,000+ Projected total auto technician employment in the U.S. by 203047

Types of Careers in the Automotive Industry

Curious about the types of jobs in the automotive industry? Depending on personal interests, goals and skills, someone looking to get into this industry has many options and possible avenues to pursue. A typical day for an auto mechanic can range from performing general maintenance work to service writing.

Here is a list of common automotive technician jobs:

Entry-Level Technician

Entry-level technicians perform general service, maintenance and diagnostic work. Students who have completed specialized training programs such as Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs at Universal Technical Institute (UTI)11 may be more likely to pursue employment with the dealerships or manufacturers of the vehicles on which they trained.15 Other avenues available to pursue jobs as entry-level techs include independent shops and chain shops such as Pep Boys and Sears Auto Centers.

Parts Technician

Many automotive technicians decide to put their education to work in parts rather than as a service technician. Parts professionals manage inventory and deal with warranty issues that may arise from defective or damaged parts. Those who excel in this role work well with others and have a deep understanding of auto repair.

If a customer or service technician requests a specific part, knowledge of what needs to be replaced to gain access to that part is critical. This is where having automotive training is a bonus.

Service Writer/Advisor

Service writing is among the most commonly pursued automotive careers. Service writers are the go-between for customers and technicians. They write up job orders based on customer requests and diagnostic experience from similar issues. In some cases, service advisors dispatch the work to a specific technician based on that tech’s skill sets.

Service advisors need diagnostic skills as well as people skills. A great service advisor keeps the customer informed about the progress of the repair, getting authorization as needed for additional work. An automotive education background allows service advisors to be more accurate with estimating time for a given job.

Service Manager

Many automotive technicians work their way up to leadership positions at their shops or dealerships. Service managers are responsible for the technicians, parts employees and often the detailers/porters.

On any given day, a service manager may also work with customers regarding escalated issues, complete department forecasting and budgeting, and maintain relationships with vendors and suppliers. A solid knowledge of automotive repair helps a service manager be more effective in his or her role.

Instructor

It’s no surprise that many tech school instructors were students before they began their careers. Teaching repair and diagnostic skills to the next generation of technicians is a great way to keep the country running. Instructors impact students’ lives in many ways by sharing with classes the knowledge needed to perform a trade and earn a living after graduation.

Instructors who have been tech school students are in a unique position, as they understand what it’s like to be a student and can present the curriculum in ways that best resonate with their class.

Fleet Technician

Working with fleet vehicles can be a great career choice for someone with a background in automotive mechanics. Cities, towns and municipalities across the country have fleets of vehicles that need work. Many automotive technicians work for police departments or even local taxi companies, repairing vehicles and ensuring they run smoothly.

Insurance Adjustor

Who better than a trained technician to evaluate and estimate damage to vehicles damaged by collisions or natural disasters? Insurance adjusters often work in the field traveling across their territories and act as liaisons between policyholders, insurance companies and repair shops.

Some adjusters work directly for insurance companies while others known as independent adjusters are employed on a contract basis for a variety of companies. Graduates of a formal trade school program can have the knowledge and understanding of vehicle repair that gives them an advantage in their field.

Auto Body Technician

Auto body technicians (also known as collision repair technicians) repair vehicles damaged in some type of accident. They replace and repair panels, bumpers and lights, and perform other tasks such as straightening frames and painting. UTI’s Collision Repair & Refinish Technology (CRRT) program provides a great start for those interested in this type of job.

Business Owner

Some automotive techs follow an entrepreneurial path and decide to work for themselves. Many gain valuable experience working in shops or dealerships before taking the leap while others jump right into their own business after completing their automotive technician training.

Knowledge of running a business is helpful, but without diagnostic and repair expertise owning a shop can be very challenging. Those with automotive backgrounds open a variety of different types of businesses, including independent shops, mobile repair techs, and tire and/or quick lube shops.

Automotive Technician Salary & Job Outlook

When researching any career, it’s important to consider salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $44,050 in May 2020.25 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.

While the number stated above is an average of the earnings of all automotive technicians in the United States, it can be helpful to look at the median wages of technicians in the 50 states and the District of Columbia as reported by the BLS. This can help you to understand how salaries vary across the country so you can plan your next career move.

Top 10 Median Annual Salaries for Auto Techs

Annual median salaries for automotive technicians vary in the U.S., but here are the top 10 median annual salaries for automotive technicians by state, as reported by the BLS in May 2020.*
*Not entry-level and is dependent on factors like experience, location, and employer compensation.

Rank State Annual Median Wage
1 District of Columbia $65,420
2 Hawaii $53,280
3 New Jersey $51,360
4 Alaska $51,330
5 California $50,950
6 Washington $50,230
7 Colorado $50,170
8 Wyoming $49,180
9 Virginia $48,940
10 Maryland $48,080

To see median annual salaries for auto technicians in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, check out our blog post here.

Industry Outlook

There’s a real demand for skilled trades professionals, with total technician employment expected to exceed 1.7 million by 2030.38 Automotive technicians and mechanics are responsible for helping maintain and fix vehicles that are used by people nationwide.

How Do You Become an Automotive Technician?

If you have a passion for cars, you might be wondering, “What do I need to be an automotive technician?”

Cars are becoming increasingly complex. As a result, what it takes to qualify as an automotive technician is changing. For example, technicians must possess the knowledge and skills to fix the complex electrical systems that help power today’s cars and trucks.

There are several different paths to become a technician. One is to attend a trade school like UTI. The 51-week Automotive Technology program at UTI is designed to prepare you for a career as an automotive technician. As you move through your training, you learn by doing as you take on the maintenance and repair of both import and domestic autos. You’ll work on everything from simple engine systems to power and performance machines.

UTI’s industry connections give students access to state-of-the-industry tools and technology that are being used by technicians in the field. These relationships also provide students with access to companies that hire entry-level positions in the automotive industry.

Additionally, UTI graduates are well-prepared to complete ASE examinations and can substitute their training for one of the two years of work experience required to become ASE Certified.16 After completing the core program, UTI students can also increase their skill sets by completing an MSAT program to gain specialized knowledge on vehicles from leading brands.

After completing a student-paid or manufacturer-paid MSAT, you may be able to secure employment with the brand you trained on after graduation. Now is an exciting time to pursue a career in the automotive industry. If this career sounds like the right fit for you, there’s no better time than now to start your automotive technician training!


Let UTI Train You for a Career in the Automotive Industry

There are more than 68,000 estimated average annual automotive job openings in the U.S.,41 and with an education and hands-on training from UTI, you can prepare for the workforce. Along with giving students the foundational knowledge they need, UTI offers a range of support services including Career Services. You can also read up on our tips for drafting your automotive mechanic resume here.

Request more information below to take the first step toward an exciting future in the automotive industry, and see how you can graduate in less than a year.7

UTI TRAINING PREPARES YOU FOR OPPORTUNITY

The companies that work with UTI trust us to train the technicians that they employ.