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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.

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.

Full of Potential Benefits

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.1

6.3% Percentage increase in automotive service technicians and mechanics forecast from 2016 to 202613
759,000 Number of automotive service technician job openings by 202612
45 states Number of states in the U.S. with over 10,000 auto-related jobs

What Is an Automotive Technician?

Automotive technicians (commonly known as automotive mechanics) diagnose, maintain, repair and inspect cars, trucks and other vehicles.

Today’s auto technicians are familiar with the complicated electronics systems used to diagnose problems in vehicles of different makes and sizes. In late-model vehicles, just about everything from the transmission to the steering is controlled by a computer. When these systems break down, it’s the role of a technician to diagnose the problem, recommend a solution and execute the repair to get the customer back on the road.

Some automotive techs specialize by becoming air conditioning experts or transmission specialists. Many also focus on vehicles from specific brands by completing manufacturer-specific training. At the end of the day, you can count on both generalists and specialists to spot problems and provide solutions when it comes to your car.

Automotive Technician Job Description

At this point, you might be wondering, “What does an automotive technician do?” Job responsibilities vary depending on a technician’s chosen career path. However, typical tasks in an auto mechanic job description include:

  • Perform routine maintenance, including tire rotations, transmission flushes, oil changes, battery installations and more
  • Conduct diagnostic procedures to identify problems and provide recommendations for repairs to customers
  • Complete necessary repairs and test drive vehicles to ensure everything runs smoothly
  • Inspect vehicles to ensure they meet state requirements for emissions and safety
  • Maintain paperwork to document repairs for both the customer and company records
  • Follow workplace safety procedures to maintain a safe working environment
  • Stay up-to-date on new technology and industry best practices

What Jobs Are There 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.


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 Work Environment

Auto technicians work in a variety of settings and locations. In addition to a traditional dealership, there are many avenues to pursue based on an individual’s preferences. Some examples of car mechanic working conditions include:

  • Dealership: Auto dealerships hire tech school graduates and other experienced technicians to keep their customers’ vehicles in top shape. Technicians at dealerships typically work on newer vehicles and perform warranty work.
  • Independent repair facility: “Mom and pop” shops employ many technicians across the country. Working at independent shops sometimes means the techs repair vehicles from multiple manufacturers.
  • Retail repair facility: Retail or chain facilities such as Sears Auto Centers, Pep Boys and Brake Masters can be great options for entry-level technicians. These facilities typically work on older vehicles.
  • Specialty shop: European, classic car and off-road shops are examples of specialty employers of technicians. Working at shops like these requires in-depth knowledge of specific brands of vehicle systems.
  • Rental agencies: Car rental agencies employ technicians to keep their fleet of vehicles on the road and in top shape for their customers.
  • Racing team or race shops: All types of racing teams need skilled technicians to keep the cars performing at their best. Students interested in the world of racing may be a good fit for UTI’s NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC.24

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.

An entire generation of mechanics is retiring, and there simply aren’t enough qualified automotive technicians to take their place, let alone to cover the growing demand. That means there’s a giant hole to fill, and auto mechanic opportunities for advancement should continue to grow.

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. 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!


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