..T-TEN. | 1-800-441-5141 Career Description:
Entry-Level automotive service technicians are those that have just graduated from an automotive technology program or have just entered the auto repair business. Without experience and further training, these technicians are at the basic skill level. They repair and discuss minor faults, demonstrate basic product knowledge, can extract and read automotive computer and scan tool codes and data, and can demonstrate a factory-approved diagnostic procedure in one or more of the ASE (National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence) repair areas, like brakes, suspension, steering, basic electricity, or engine performance. These technicians perform assigned tasks under direct or indirect supervision.
Automotive service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks, such as vans and pickups. In the past, these workers were called «mechanics,» however, today’s level of technology in the modern automobile makes the term «technician» more appropriate.
When mechanical or electrical troubles occur, technicians first get a description of the symptoms directly from the owner or, if they work in a large shop, the service consultant who prepared the repair order. To locate the problem, technicians use a diagnostic strategy approach. First, they inspect and test to see if components and systems are working properly, then they rule out those components or systems that could not logically be the cause of the problem (process of elimination). They look for the root cause of the customer’s concern.
In the most modern shops of automobile dealers, service technicians use electronic service equipment, such as digital multimeters (DMM), 5-gas exhaust gas analyzers, hand-held diagnostic scan tool computers, and personal computers (PC) along with PC- based diagnostic tools. These electronic service tools diagnose problems and make accurate measurements that allow precision adjustments. It is the technician’s job to perform reprogramming of the vehicle computer using the hand-held scan tool with new programming downloaded from either large computerized databases.
Salary. reported that an automotive technician with 0 to 2 years of experience earned a median salary of $33,466, not including commission.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of automotive service technicians and mechanics, including commission, were $16.88 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.44 and $22.64 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.56, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.71 per hour. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of service technicians were as follows:
* Local government, excluding schools: $20.07
* Automobile dealers: $19.61
* Automotive repair and maintenance: $15.26
* Gasoline stations: $15.22
* Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores: $14.90
Many experienced technicians employed by automobile dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this system, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned technicians a minimum weekly salary. Some employees offer health and retirement benefits, but such compensation packages are not universal and can vary widely.
Automotive technology is rapidly increasing in sophistication, and most training authorities strongly recommend that people seeking work in automotive service complete a formal training program in high school or in a postsecondary vocational school or community college. However, some service technicians still learn the trade solely by assisting and learning from experienced workers. Acquiring National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is important for those seeking work in large, urban areas.
Most employers regard the successful completion of a vocational training program in automotive service technology as the best preparation for trainee positions. High school programs, while an asset, vary greatly in scope. Graduates of these programs may need further training to become qualified. Some of the more extensive high school programs participate in Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES), a partnership between high school automotive repair programs, automotive manufacturers, and franchised automotive dealers. All AYES high school programs are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Students who complete these programs are well prepared to enter entry-level technician positions or to advance their technical education. Courses in automotive repair, electronics, physics, chemistry, English, computers, and mathematics provide a good educational background for a career as a service technician.
Postsecondary automotive technician training programs usually provide intensive career preparation through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Schools update their curriculums frequently to reflect changing technology and equipment. Some trade and technical school programs provide concentrated training for 6 months to a year, depending on how many hours the student attends each week, and award a certificate. Community college programs usually award a certificate or an associate degree. Some students earn repair certificates in a particular skill and leave to begin their careers. Associate degree programs, however, usually take 2 years to complete and include classes in English, basic mathematics, computers, and other subjects, as well as automotive repair. Recently, some programs have added classes on customer service, stress management, and other employability skills. Some formal training programs have alliances with tool manufacturers that help entry-level technicians accumulate tools during their training period.
Various automobile manufacturers and participating franchised dealers also sponsor 2-year associate degree programs at postsecondary schools across the Nation. Students in these programs typically spend alternate 6- to 12-week periods attending classes full time and working full time in the service departments of sponsoring dealers. At these dealerships, students work with an experienced worker who provides hands-on instruction and timesaving tips.
Those new to automotive service usually start as trainee technicians, technicians’ helpers, or lubrication workers, and gradually acquire and practice their skills by working with experienced mechanics and technicians. In many cases, on-the-job training may be a part of a formal education program. With a few months’ experience, beginners perform many routine service tasks and make simple repairs. While some graduates of postsecondary automotive training programs are often able to earn promotion to the journey level after only a few months on the job, it typically takes 2 to 5 years of experience to become a fully qualified service technician, who is expected to quickly perform the more difficult types of routine service and repairs. An additional 1 to 2 years of experience familiarizes technicians with all types of repairs. Complex specialties, such as transmission repair, require another year or two of training and experience. In contrast, brake specialists may learn their jobs in considerably less time because they do not need complete knowledge of automotive repair.
Employers increasingly send experienced automotive service technicians to manufacturer training centers to learn to repair new models or to receive special training in the repair of components, such as electronic fuel injection or air-conditioners. Motor vehicle dealers and other automotive service providers may send promising beginners or experienced technicians to manufacturer-sponsored technician training programs to upgrade or maintain employees’ skills. Factory representatives also visit many shops to conduct short training sessions.
The ability to diagnose the source of a problem quickly and accurately requires good reasoning ability and a thorough knowledge of automobiles. Many technicians consider diagnosing hard-to-find troubles one of their most challenging and satisfying duties. For trainee automotive service technician jobs, employers look for people with strong communication and analytical skills. Technicians need good reading, mathematics, and computer skills to study technical manuals. They must also read to keep up with new technology and learn new service and repair procedures and specifications.
Training in electronics is vital because electrical components, or a series of related components, account for nearly all malfunctions in modern vehicles. Trainees must possess mechanical aptitude and knowledge of how automobiles work. Experience working on motor vehicles in the Armed Forces or as a hobby can be very valuable.
ASE certification has become a standard credential for automotive service technicians. While not mandatory for work in automotive service, certification is common for all non entry-level technicians in large, urban areas. Certification is available in 1 or more of 8 different areas of automotive service, such as electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. For certification in each area, technicians must have at least 2 years of experience and pass the examination. Completion of an automotive training program in high school, vocational or trade school, or community or junior college may be substituted for 1 year of experience. For ASE certification as a Master Automobile Technician, technicians must be certified in all eight areas.
By becoming skilled in multiple auto repair services, technicians can increase their value to their employer and their pay. Experienced technicians who have administrative ability sometimes advance to shop supervisor or service manager. Those with sufficient funds many times open independent automotive repair shops. Technicians who work well with customers may become automotive repair service estimators.
So what are you working on today, Travis?
I’m Travis Blake. I’m a service technician for Mossy Toyota in San Diego. When I got my first car, my old truck, I had an old ’88 Toyota pickup that like to break down a lot, and I got tired of paying someone to fix it. So I got interested in working on that.
And I wanted more information once I started working on it. No one could provide that to me. And then I found out about the T-TEN program, and I started that, and liked all the information that I was learning. I realized that I could really do this for a living, make a career out of it.
The T-TEN program that I started was at Miramar College. It’s a local community college here in San Diego. And they have an internship program. It’s an actual class that you work at a dealership and you gain experience. So you’re getting experience in the dealership, and you’re also learning classroom instruction, learning the theory behind all of the automotive principals that are applied in the cars. So you learn theory at night. And then when you’re at work you’re learning the actual practical application of the information you learned in class.
If you don’t have a job yet it makes it extremely much more easy to find a job, especially with Toyota, through the T-TEN program. But if you don’t have a job and you just want to go to school, you have a wealth of knowledge that they’ve provide with you, so that when you get out of school you can have no problem finding a job after school. After I got out of the T-TEN program, and I was hired with Toyota, some of my first duties were doing minor services such as oil changes and tire rotations. And then once I got put on a team, I was able to advance and constantly learn more, and started replacing breaks, and doing more major services, and things like that. And then I eventually got into learning how to diagnose problems with customer cars.
This is the new, brand new, TIS techstream diagnostic tool. It took the place of our old scan tool, which was in use for over 10 years. Through the T-TEN program, through the more advanced classes they have, like electrical mastery and advanced fuel diagnosis, how to use more advanced tools like this to connect with the vehicles, and to connect with the computers and find out what’s going on electrically, the problems that we might encounter. Where I stand right now is if you hand me a Toyota vehicle with a problem there’s a 99.9% chance that I’ll be able to know what that problem is and then fix it.
What I enjoy most about my job is taking a car that’s not running right, or that has a problem— a customer’s complaining about a problem with their car— figuring out if the problem is something that we can fix, and then finding out the solution to that problem and then basically satisfying the customer, making someone happy with their car again that was unhappy to begin with, and fixing the car right the first time. It’s the most satisfying thing to me. Working on my own car in my driveway led me to choose this as my career. I haven’t even looked back.
#Toyota #EntryLevel #Technician #Automotive #Travis #Blake
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