Automotive-Technician/Management

About Automotive Technology Programs

Automotive Technician

The Automotive Technology Program provides in-depth study and application of the most up-to-date trends in the automotive field.

What is an automotive technician?

Entry-level automotive technicians are recent graduates from an automotive technology program or new employees in the auto repair business.

In the past, these workers were called "mechanics;" however, today's sophisticated level of vehicle technology makes the term "technician" more appropriate.

Automotive service technicians inspect, maintain and repair automobiles and light trucks, such as vans and pickups.

What will I do?

As a technician, you will repair and discuss minor faults, demonstrate basic product knowledge, and extract and read automotive computer and scan tool codes and data.

A technician can demonstrate a factory-approved diagnostic procedure in one or more of the Automotive Service Excellent (ASE) repair areas, like brakes, suspension, steering, basic electricity, or engine performance.

These technicians perform assigned tasks under direct or indirect supervision.

Beginners usually start as trainee technicians, interns, lubrication workers or gasoline service station attendants and gradually acquire their skills by working with experienced technicians. With a few months' experience, beginners perform many routine service tasks and make simple repairs.

Why do I need a degree?

Entry-level technicians must possess mechanical aptitude and knowledge of how automobiles work.

Automotive technology is rapidly increasing in sophistication and most training authorities strongly recommend that persons seeking automotive service technician careers complete a formal training program.

Most employers regard the successful completion of a National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) certified technical training program at a high school or community college as the best preparation, though experience working on motor vehicles in the Armed Forces or as a hobby is also valuable. 

What will I learn?

Program begins the training process with the basic entry-level skill training in:

  • brakes
  • suspension
  • electronics
  • engine performance.

Associate degree program provides a more advanced career preparation in these same areas along with training in powertrain, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), and advanced engine performance.

How do I qualify?

To be a technician trainee, you need a good driving record with no DUIs and you must be drug-free.

Our associate degree program will provide you with more advanced career preparation in these areas as well as in powertrain, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and advanced engine performance.

What will I earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hourly earnings of entry-level automotive technicians range from a starting wage of $8.00 to $11.00 per hour.

Most of these technicians are employed by automotive dealers and receive a percentage of the labor cost charged to the customer. "Flat rate" is a system in which technicians are paid for a certain number of hours for a particular repair or service.

Under this method, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed in the shortest period of time.

Automotive dealers frequently guarantee commissioned technicians a minimum weekly salary.

According to a study done by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in August 2001, technicians across the country (at all levels combined) earned between $27-$63,000 annually, on average. Technicians who are organized and motivated have greater earnings potential.

Additional benefits vary by employer, but most dealerships offer health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefit options to employees. Talk with the specific dealer or general manager about benefit packages.

Mid-level Technician

What is a mid-level technician?

Mid-level automotive service technicians inspect, maintain and repair vehicles.

Technicians use diagnostic tools to identify the source of mechanical or electrical problems, then make adjustments or repairs.

Most mid-level technicians have 2-5 years of experience as an automotive technician and hold at least one Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification in a specialization such as brakes, electrical/electronic systems or engine performance.

What will I do?

Mid-level technicians possess advanced automotive knowledge about a manufacturer's proprietary systems and can diagnose and repair problems efficiently with minimal supervision.

They can:

  • interpret and read computer and scan tool codes and data
  • perform factory-approved repair procedures
  • diagnose, remove and replace system components.

Why do I need a degree?

Most mid-level technicians have associate degrees in automotive technology from a community college. Graduates are often able to reach mid-level proficiency more quickly than others without this foundation.

As with entry-level jobs, employers look for strong communication and analytical skills. Good reading, mathematics and computer skills are are also important for studying technical manuals and keeping abreast of new technology. Courses in automotive technology, electronics, physics, chemistry, English, computer science, and mathematics provide a good educational background for your career.

What you will earn

Working for an automotive dealer

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hourly earnings of mid-level automotive technicians range from a starting wage of $10.00 to more than $20.00 per flat rate hour.

  • "Flat rate" is a system in which technicians are paid for a certain number of hours for a particular repair or service. Under this method, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed in the shortest period of time. Although most dealerships pay technicians using the flat-rate system, some pay hourly wages and some pay salaries. A few structure their pay plan as a combination of flat-rate plus commission.

According to an August 2001 study done by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in August 2001, technicians nationally (at all levels combined) earned from $27,000 to $63,000 annually, on average. Technicians who are organized and motivated have greater earnings potential.

Additional benefits vary by employer, but most dealerships offer health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefit options to employees. Talk with the specific dealer or general manager about benefit packages.

Master Technician

The hourly earnings of master automotive technicians range from $15.00 to more than $25.00 per flat rate hour.

  • "Flat rate" is a system in which technicians are paid for a certain number of hours for a particular repair or service. Under this method, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed in the shortest period of time. Although most dealerships pay technicians using the flat-rate system, some pay hourly wages and some pay salaries. A few structure their pay plan as a combination of flat-rate plus commission.

According to an August 2001 study done by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), technicians nationally (at all levels combined) earned from $27,000 to $63,000 annually, on average – although incomes of $70,000 to nearly $100,000 are not unheard of among master technicians, especially in metropolitan areas. Technicians who are organized and motivated have greater earnings potential.

Almost all dealerships also offer opportunities for bonuses for increasing productivity and for enhancing customer satisfaction. Additional benefits vary by employer but most dealerships offer generous health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefit options to employees. Talk with the specific dealer or general manager about benefit packages.

The complexity of the automobile requires more sophisticated technicians and specialists than ever before and the need for qualified personnel has expanded beyond the bay to service and shop managment.

Until now, students who ultimately aspired to automotive management had to choose between or complete both an automotive technician or business management degree. With the automotive technician management option, students can take Co-op at one of the many franchises and dealerships in the region and upon graduation, have opportunities for employment and career advancement.

Program Coordinator
Mark A Schnubel
203-596-8796 (p)
Room: T525
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