This guide on how to become an auto mechanic will walk you through all of the steps necessary to earn your ASE certification and become a professional technician in the automotive industry. The process required to become a certified mechanic can often be completed in as little as 18 months, and will qualify you for a number of good-paying, exciting jobs in the repair and body work fields!
The automotive repair industry is experiencing steady growth in most parts of the United States, with the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing an expected growth of 5% between 2014 and 2024. Combine this fact with a median salary of $37,120, and the time has never been better to start your career as a certified automotive technician!
How to Become an Auto Mechanic
In the section below, we’ve highlighted each step you should take on your way to earning your auto mechanic certification. To review the featured step, simply click on the corresponding tab.
Prerequisites & Aptitudes
Do You Have What it Takes to be an Auto Mechanic?
The first step in deciding to become an auto mechanic is to perform what is known as a “personal inventory” of yourself. This requires you to determine whether or not you possess the specific aptitudes and traits that are usually considered prerequisites for working as an auto mechanic.
These traits and aptitudes include:
- Strong people skills (i.e. customer service skills)
- Being detail-oriented
- Good manual dexterity and coordination
- A good understanding of how mechanical systems work
- Good physical strength and flexibility
- Strong troubleshooting skills
Formal Auto Technician Training
In order to begin your career as quickly as possible, and to become eligible to test for ASE certification, you will be required to complete some type of formal auto technician training program. There are a number of different ways to approach this requirement, including those shown below.
- Vocational training programs at community colleges
- Trade schools certification programs
- Associate degree programs at trade schools or community colleges
The Importance of ASE Technician Certification
It is a requirement of the Environmental Protection Agency that any technician who handles certain types of materials (including those found in most automobiles) be certified in its proper handling. For this reason, it is highly recommended that all automotive technicians become certified through the ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) in order to ensure that they have completed training that meets all federal guidelines.
Furthermore, it is generally accepted that ASE-certified mechanics earn higher pay and enjoy greater job opportunities than do those who have not completed a course recognized by the organization.
The nine different areas of certification offered by the ASE are:
- Automatic transmission
- Light vehicle diesel engines
- Electrical systems
- Engine performance
- Engine repair
- Heating and air conditioning
- Manual transmission
- Suspension and steering