10 Little Known Facts about Auto Repair Jobs

The auto industry has changed drastically in the last 20 years, and it continues to evolve at a blistering pace. These 10 facts will give insight into modern day auto repair careers and the passionate people who excel in them.

1. Auto repair jobs pay more than you think.

The median salary for auto repair careers is between 43,8001 and 47,4002. With the demand for professionals at a high, students can often land jobs while still in school.

2. Experience determines pay.

Continued learning is a must to keep up with the new electronics and features on today’s cars. As professionals expand their knowledge, their paychecks expand too.

3. Superstars can make six figures.

It’s common for automotive repair jobs to pay six figures for senior level professionals. Modern day cars are complex computers on wheels, so industry pros who have the passion to keep up with automotive advances can earn their way to six figures.

4. There are many positions within auto repair careers.

Auto repair careers include several hands-on and service oriented positions. You can become a collision estimator, collision tech or paint tech to be part of a team that repairs and refinishes vehicles to get customers back on the road as quick as possible.

4. Get an internship.

Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and gain professional experience. In addition to building your knowledge, internships help you decide if your career choice is the right decision for you. You may find out you love working with people and don’t care for the hands-on side of auto body jobs. This is great to know before you get too far down your career path so you can make adjustments in your education.

5. Electronic diagnostic equipment is as much a part of the job as a wrench.

Today’s auto repair professionals use computers and iPads to diagnose problems and estimate repairs. In addition to using computer software on a daily basis, professionals need to be familiar with advanced technology on new vehicles like Bluetooth® and infotainment systems.

6. Auto repair jobs will always be in demand.

For better or worse, auto body careers will always have a high demand for employees because accidents are unavoidable. That means job security for you and a lifelong skillset you can take anywhere in the world.

7. Watching a car transform is one of the coolest things.

One of the most cited reasons collision techs and paint techs find their jobs rewarding is because they get to watch a damaged car that looks like it will never drive again transform into a functional, safe vehicle with a glossy finish.

8. It only takes two years of education to land a job repairing cars.

You can get trained, land a job in auto repair and start earning a strong salary in as little as two years. Most students even find jobs while they’re still in school, giving them the extra advantage of real world experience before they graduate.

9. Time management is key.

The teams that work on repairing vehicles are often working on multiple cars at once. Time management and the flexibility to switch from one project to another are key traits for professionals in auto repair careers.

10. Computer savvy is essential.

In addition to hands-on mechanical aptitude and strong interpersonal skills, knowing how to operate computers and electronic systems is essential. Auto repair jobs are dependent upon technology and the brightest, tech-savvy professionals earn the highest salaries.

The biggest takeaways are that today’s auto repair careers are highly dependent upon technology, they offer competitive pay and a stable career and you can get started in just two years of education.

1 https://www.careerwise.mnscu.edu/careers/careerDetail?oc=493021&title=Automotive%20Body%20Repairers
2 http://www.CrashNetwork.com, June 20, 2016 • Vol. 23, No. 23

 

Auto Career Paths

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Auto Service Tech:

Diagnose, repair and perform preventative maintenance on cars and light trucks. Virtually every system on today’s vehicles is electronically controlled by computers, and auto techs use sophisticated diagnostic tools to improve engine performance and repair transmissions, steering and suspension, brake, electrical and heating and air conditioning systems. There is a high demand for well-trained technicians.

Salary: $39,600 median salary1

Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific certificate or degree recommended.

Traits of the Best Auto Service Techs:

  • Love for hands-on work
  • Drive to take on a challenge and solve problems
  • Motivation to learn and adapt to ever-changing technology
  • Attention to detail when working on cars

Collision Tech:

Use specialized tools, materials and techniques to straighten or replace damaged body panels and structural components as well as perform related mechanical and electrical repairs, restraint system repairs and stationary glass replacement. Employees are in high demand, as accidents are common.

Salary: $43,800 median salary2

Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific certificate or degree recommended.

Traits of the Best Collision Techs:

  • Attention to detail
  • Committed to keep up with techniques to restore modern vehicles
  • Interpersonal skills to work with the team and with customers
  • Ability to manage time efficiently and deliver repairs on time

Paint Tech:

Automotive paint technicians perform partial and complete refinishing of vehicles, applying the latest two-stage and three-stage paint technology. Create exciting custom paint jobs on new and vintage cars.

Salary: $47,760 median salary3

Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific certificate or degree recommended.

Traits of the Best Paint Techs:

  • Steady hand and good hand-eye coordination
  • Attention to detail
  • Eye for creativity
  • Interpersonal skills to work with the team and with customers

Service Advisor:

Act as liaison between customers and auto techs to guide car repairs through the shop. Help identify cause of damage and options for repairs. Assist in ordering parts and double-checking car repairs. Deliver repaired vehicles to customers.

Salary: $38,700 median salary6

Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific certificate or degree recommended.

Traits of the Best Service Advisors:

  • Knack for customer service, verbal and written communication
  • Ability to build trust and relationships with customers
  • Technical know-how of cars and repairs
  • Ability to manage multiple projects at once
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Collision Estimator:

Identifies required repair work and computes cost of replacement parts and labor to restore vehicle to its pre-accident condition using electronic estimating software. Explains estimate to customer and answers questions the customer has about the work needed. Works with insurance company representatives to manage claims.

Salary: $46,500 median salary4

Education: High school diploma required. Past auto experience recommended.

Traits of the Best Collision Estimators:

  • Attention to detail to ensure accuracy
  • Strong set of interpersonal communication skills
  • Customer service mindset dedicated to helping customers get back on the road
  • Ability to manage multiple projects at once

Auto Shop Owner:

Manage the day-to-day operations of an automotive repair facility, including staffing, facility/equipment, customer service, financial, marketing and other aspects of running a business. Often work in other positions within the industry before becoming an auto shop owner.

Salary: Varies based on experience and location.

Education: High school diploma required. Post-secondary education in business and/or automotive repair recommended.

Traits of the Best Auto Shop Owners:

  • Entrepreneurial and self-motivated personality
  • Ability to lead a team and solve problems
  • Go-getter attitude to tackle everyday challenges
  • Attention to detail to ensure shop is profitable and efficient

Parts Professional:

An automotive parts professional handles parts purchases by wholesale and retail customers over the phone, electronically and in person. The parts professional uses electronic catalogs to identify, source, sell and deliver the correct part needed for the job. They assist customers, manage inventory and deal with any returns or warranty issues that arise. Parts professionals work in a variety of settings, from auto parts stores and automotive recycling facilities to wholesale supply businesses and new car dealers.

Salary: $45,400 median salary5

Education: High school diploma required. Past auto experience recommended.

Traits of the Best Parts Professionals:

  • Extensive knowledge of auto repair and parts
  • Committed to customer service and communication
  • Experience in inventory management

Auto Machinist:

An automotive machinist builds, reconditions and repairs entire engines and various engine parts. A machinist operates equipment such as engine dynamometers, drills, lathes, mills and other shop hand tools. Machinists work in auto parts stores, industrial tool and die shops, or even as pit crew mechanics for NASCAR or other race circuits.

Salary: $42,1007

Education: High school diploma required. Auto-specific certificate or degree recommended.

Traits of the Best Auto Machinists:

  • Love for working with your hands
  • Drive to take on challenges and solve problems
  • Steady hand and good hand-eye coordination
  • Passion to work as a critical part of a team