How to Become an Auto Mechanic - Steps

How long does it take to become an Auto Mechanic?

Generally, two-year programs can help you gain some or all of the experience required to take ASE certification examinations, meaning you could be a certified automotive technician in about two years. Credentials You need to be ASE certified. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a professional certification group that certifies professionals and shops in the automotive repair and service industry in the United States and parts of Canada. You can register for the test online by logging on to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website at www.ase.com and submitting your registration materials. You can browse the various types of certification, the tests, find a test center close to you, and request study materials from the website.

*What do I need to do? *

Step 1: Graduate From High School

A high school diploma is the minimum education necessary to work as a mechanic. Some high schools may offer shop classes that provide instruction about automotive technology and teach students how to work with vehicle electrical and electronic components.

Look into automotive technology high schools. Some high schools offer training specifically in automotive technology. These specialized schools are designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in the field or to continue their education.

Step 2: Formal Training Program

While not required to work in the field, enrolling in an automotive technology certificate or associate's degree program may be beneficial for finding employment. Courses in these programs cover topics such as engine repair, steering, suspension, automotive brake systems, electrical systems, transmissions and climate control. Graduates of 2-year programs may be able to substitute their education for one year of experience when seeking employment.

Step 3: Gain Experience
Mechanics can work for automobile dealers, vehicle part sellers or private companies. Some employers may prefer to hire new graduates as assistant mechanics. This job position provides the opportunity to gain experience for certification by learning from an experienced mechanic.

Step 4: Obtain Certification

Although no certification is required to work as a mechanic, employers may prefer applicants certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The ASE offers certification in eight automotive specialties, including engine repair, automatic transmission, brakes and electrical systems. Mechanics must usually pass exams to earn most certifications. These exams include 40-50 questions. Generally, renewal of certification is required every five years.

(Tip) Look into gaining master status. Passing all eight ASE certification specialty exams earns an individual ASE Master Technician status. This status may increase employment opportunities and potential salaries. Where can I find more information about becoming a Mechanic?

We recommend that would-be mechanics begin by finding an automotive training program or work-study opportunity. Many car dealerships and companies offer these types of programs, where students complete both academic work and hands-on auto repair. Here are a few:
Ford's ASSET Program
Daimler Chrysler College Automotive Program
General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program

You can also look into classes that are available in your area. Here are some resources to help you locate training programs:
National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
Automotive Youth Educational Systems
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology

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