Tips and tricks to getting a job as a Mechanic
Mechanics are experts in diagnosing and repairing issues, as well as performing regular maintenance, on machines or motor vehicles. Most mechanics specialize in a particular field and are experts in working in that field. Some examples of types of mechanics include collision repair technician, small engine mechanic, diesel mechanic, motorcycle mechanic, or auto mechanic.
While they spend most of their time working in a garage, they may also work in an office setting or at a job site. Mechanics may be employed by a repair shop, dealership, or other company whose employees work regularly with machines.
Here’s information about what a mechanic does, how to become one, qualities and skills you’ll need, and other information about the job as a whole.
There are primarily two steps to take to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become a mechanic:
Education. To be a mechanic, the minimum requirement is typically a high school diploma or GED. Basic reading, writing and math skills are important to be able to complete the job successfully.
Some employers prefer to hire someone who has completed a certification or associate's degree in automotive technology or a related field. If you want to specialize in a particular machine or part, you may want to pursue further education or formal training in that field to have the experience and education you need.
Experience. Many mechanics start out with an internship or entry-level position to start gaining experience working as a mechanic. Internships can be offered in high school or through a vocational school, and while typically unpaid, it may help get the experience you need for a full-time position.
Once you’re hired, many companies require you to spend at least two years as an apprentice before you start working on your own. This training program partners you with an experienced mechanic who helps train you further. While it’s not always required, completing an apprenticeship will better qualify you for certification exams you may want to take.
You’ll also likely be given specialized training depending on the machine you’re working on and the location. For example, if working at a car dealership, you may spend additional time learning about and working on that particular manufacturer’s vehicles.
Over time, you’ll gain both general and specialized experience that could open doors for career advancement opportunities.
While exact day-to-day tasks can vary depending on a mechanic’s specialty and location in which they are working, mechanics perform repairs and diagnostic tests, as well as regular maintenance and upkeep, on the machines they specialize in.
Perform routine maintenance.
Check machine computers and electronic systems to ensure working order.
Repair or replace broken parts, engines, or other pieces.
Provide quotes for work, including parts and labor.
Keep comprehensive records on work completed.
Ensure tools and equipment are functional and in good condition.
Order new parts.
Keep track of inventory.
Train other mechanics.
The skills gained by working as a mechanic translate well to other technical jobs, working on similar or different types of machinery. For example, you may start as an auto mechanic and move into a diesel service mechanic or heavy vehicle service technician role.
Some mechanics also go back for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in mechanical engineering to become mechanical engineers or technicians.
If you stay in the same specialty or field, you have the opportunity to advance as well. You may start out as a level one technician doing maintenance work, and work your way to become a level four master technician. You could also become a shop supervisor or manager, overseeing the other mechanics in the location and taking care of a broader range of tasks and administrative duties.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Mechanics could drop by at least four percent in the next decade. The decline is blamed on the rise of electric cars and other advanced features in modern automobiles, thus making it possible to troubleshoot problems remotely without a Mechanic's help. However, such technicians can always switch to working at independent repair shops and dealerships despite the projected decline.
Mechanics typically work full-time hours, but frequently are given the opportunity to work overtime. They may work during weekdays or weekends depending on the location and specialty. You may also work evenings if your shop has extended hours.
In addition to the skills listed above, many of which are desirable for a number of jobs, there are other transferable skills you gain from being a mechanic such as:
There are a number of qualities and skills a good mechanic will have to be successful including:
Mechanical knowledge. Regardless of whether you’re working on automobiles, motorcycles, or another type of machine, you’ll need to be an expert on each piece and part of that machine. Not only should you be able to identify the issue, but also resolve it without supervision or assistance
Administrative skills. Sometimes, mechanics are expected to have more responsibilities than just working on the machines. These duties may include answering phones, responding to emails, scheduling appointments, ordering inventory, and working with customers.
Technology knowledge. Specialized computers and technology exist to speed up the diagnosis process by allowing you to search for the issue and solution. You should also know how to use computers and other technology to run diagnostic tests, access customer information, schedule appointments, order inventory, check for parts, etc.
Detail-oriented. When fixing a machine, there are a variety of details big and small that you should pay attention to in order to fix the problem efficiently and on the first try. Paying attention to the small details can help with effective problem resolution.
Problem-solving. A big part of your job each day will be figuring out why a machine isn’t working so that it can be effectively repaired. Sometimes the problem may be simple, but others may be more complex. Either way, you should be able to figure out the issue as quickly as possible so that you can get the machine fixed and returned to the customer.
Organization. Keeping an organized workspace will help you know where all of the parts and tools you need are when you need them, which will help ensure you can complete your repairs as efficiently as possible. Remaining organized can also help other mechanics around you as they will also be able to access what they need.
Communication. Communicating well with both customers and other mechanics is an important skill to have. When working with customers, you should be able to discuss their issues, and then explain the resolution and steps you took to fix the machine. Most customers want to know what you did to fix the problem, as well as what you’re charging them and why so effective communication skills can be important for positive customer service interactions.
Additionally, you may be working with other mechanics during your shift or passing a repair off to someone else to complete the job. Being able to accurately explain the problem and steps you’ve taken toward resolution can help avoid duplicative efforts and ensure the problem gets fixed.
Time management and efficiency. There’s a chance you’ll be working on multiple machines at once, or dealing with a variety of problems or customers throughout your day. Using and managing your time wisely can help ensure you get your repairs done consistently, which increases the productivity of the repair shop as a whole.