Where Do Auto Mechanics and Service Techs Work?
Choosing to study and train to be a mechanic will open up a lot of opportunities for your career. Where you work depends on several factors, including any specialties, whether or not you train for a specific manufacturer and of course your own choice.
Automotive Mechanics and Service Technicians
If you earn a degree or certificate in general automotive technology, you will be prepared for a wide variety of positions working as a mechanic or service tech. This means you’ll work on cars to maintain them and to diagnose problems and make repairs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most workers in this field are employed by car dealerships and service shops. These can range from large mechanics shops or dealerships in urban areas to small, one- or two-mechanic repair shops in small towns.
If you know you want to work as a mechanic in a dealership it may make sense to apply to a manufacturer’s training program. Companies like Ford, Nissan, Chevrolet, BMW, Honda, Toyota and others have programs offered either at their own training facilities or at community colleges and technical schools. These programs teach you how to work on their vehicles and offer a path to employment at one of these companies’ dealerships.
Diesel and Truck and Bus Mechanics
A post-secondary program in general automotive technology is a good place to start if you aren’t sure you want to focus on a specialty area. But if you are interested in trucks, consider becoming a diesel mechanic. These mechanics have more specialized training than general mechanics and are prepared to work on diesel engines in trucks and buses.
Most diesel mechanics work for transportation companies, such as trucking companies, or wholesale trade companies. They are responsible for maintaining and repairing trucks used by these companies. Other possible places to work for diesel mechanics are local government agencies, school districts and hospitals.
Body Paint and Repair
Another area of specialty you may want to consider is body repair and paint. It takes special skills and training to be able to repair and modify automotive bodies and apply and repair paint jobs. These workers are in high demand and most often work in shops that offer body and paint work. Some of these shops only do this kind of work, while others are general shops that offer car repair and maintenance as well as body work. Dealerships also hire qualified body and paint workers.
Yet another option for trained and qualified mechanics is to be self-employed. Most self-employed mechanics are owners of repair shops and are therefore also entrepreneurs. If you have ever thought you might be suited to being a small business owner, this could be a good option. It may be useful to work for another shop first, to get experience and to learn. Then, with some training and knowledge under your belt you may consider opening up your own service shop or body repair or paint shop.
Working toward a career in auto mechanics means that you can expect to enjoy a job that is hands-on and interesting but that also gives you many options. From working in a large dealership to owning your own small repair shop, you have choices when you learn to become an automotive mechanic.