CAREER GUIDE FOR AUTOMOTIVE MECHANIC

SOC Code: 49-3023.01

Pay Band(s): 3 and 4 (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description: Repair automobiles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. Master mechanics repair virtually any part on the vehicle or specialize in the transmission system.

Automotive Mechanic positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Equipment Service and Repair Career Group:

Equipment Service and Repair Technician I

Equipment Service and Repair Technician II

While Automotive Mechanics within the Commonwealth are all located within the Equipment Service and Repair Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

Building Trades

Engineering Technology

Computer Operations

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

Skills

Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Automotive Mechanics commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

  1. Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  2. Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  3. Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  4. Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
  5. Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  6. Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  7. Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  8. Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Knowledge

Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Automotive Mechanics commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Knowledge of:

  1. Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  2. Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  3. Practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Automotive Mechanics commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Ability to:

  1. Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  2. Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  3. Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  4. Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  5. Detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  6. Quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  7. Quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  8. Keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  9. Make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  10. Match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.

Tasks

Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Automotive Mechanics.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 

  1. Align vehicles' front ends.
  2. Confer with customers to obtain descriptions of vehicle problems, and to discuss work to be performed and future repair requirements.
  3. Disassemble units and inspect parts for wear, using micrometers, calipers, and gauges.
  4. Examine vehicles to determine extent of damage or malfunctions.
  5. Install and repair accessories such as radios, heaters, mirrors, and windshield wipers.
  6. Overhaul or replace carburetors, blowers, generators, distributors, starters, and pumps.
  7. Perform routine and scheduled maintenance services such as oil changes, lubrications, and tune-ups.
  8. Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience.
  9. Rebuild parts such as crankshafts and cylinder blocks.
  10. Repair and service air conditioning, heating, engine-cooling, and electrical systems.

INTERESTED?

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

The occupation of Automotive Mechanic has Realistic characteristics as described below:

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Generally this is not required for Automotive Mechanic positions in state government.

Voluntary certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) http://www.asecert.org has become a standard credential for automotive service technicians. Certification is available in 1 or more of 8 different service areas, such as electrical systems, engine repair, brake systems, suspension and steering, and heating and air-conditioning. For certification in each area, technicians must have at least 2 years of experience and pass a written examination. Completion of an automotive training program in high school, vocational or trade school, or community or junior college may be substituted for 1 year of experience. In some cases, graduates of ASE-certified programs achieve certification in up to three specialties. For certification as a master automotive mechanic, technicians must be certified in all eight areas. Mechanics and technicians must retake each examination at least once every 5 years to maintain their certifications.

Certification enhances career progression.

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

The Department of Labor provides the following information:

The work of automotive mechanics has evolved from mechanical repair to a high technology job. Today, integrated electronic systems and complex computers run vehicles and measure their performance while on the road. Technicians must have an increasingly broad base of knowledge about how vehicles' complex components work and interact, as well as the ability to work with electronic diagnostic equipment and computer-based technical reference materials.

Automotive mechanics use their high-tech skills to inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks that have gasoline engines. The increasing sophistication of automotive technology now requires workers who can use computerized shop equipment and work with electronic components while maintaining their skills with traditional handtools.

Automotive technology is rapidly increasing in sophistication, and most training authorities strongly recommend that persons seeking automotive service technician and mechanic jobs complete a formal training program in high school or in a postsecondary vocational school. However, some service technicians still learn the trade solely by assisting and learning from experienced workers.

Many high schools, community colleges, and public and private vocational and technical schools offer automotive service technician training programs. The traditional postsecondary programs usually provide a thorough career preparation that expands upon the student's high school repair experience.

Beginners usually start as trainee technicians, mechanics' helpers, lubrication workers, or gasoline service station attendants, and gradually acquire and practice their skills by working with experienced mechanics and technicians. With a few months' experience, beginners perform many routine service tasks and make simple repairs. It usually takes 2 to 5 years of experience to become a journey-level service technician, who is expected to quickly perform the more difficult types of routine service and repairs. However, some graduates of postsecondary automotive training programs are often able to earn promotion to the journey level after only a few months on the job. An additional 1 to 2 years of experience familiarizes mechanics and technicians with all types of repairs. Difficult specialties, such as transmission repair, require another year or two of training and experience.

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

  1. Technical and Functional Expertise
  2. Understanding the Business     
  3. Achieving Results
  4. Serving the Customer
  5. Teamwork
  6. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  7. Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm.  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

For example: Automotive Mechanic

PAY BAND

PRACTITIONER ROLES

 

PAY BAND

MANAGER ROLES

3

Equipment Service and Repair Technician I

 

4

Equipment Service and Repair Manager I

4

Equipment Service and Repair Technician II

 

5

Equipment Service and Repair Manager II

Sample Career Path

Equipment Service and Repair Technician I

The Equipment Service and Repair Technician I role provides a career path for service and repair technicians performing entry level responsibilities to first line working supervisory responsibilities. Duties include manually labor intensive work that involves the service and repair of mechanical, electronic, and other equipment requiring technical knowledge and expertise, effective diagnostic and repair techniques and procedures related to a wide variety of equipment.

Equipment Service and Repair Technician II

The Equipment Service and Repair Technician II role provides a career path for the equipment service and repair technicians with an advanced skilled level requiring technical expertise in specialized equipment repair and may require expertise in instruction of equipment users and knowledge of supervisory practices. Duties involve the service and repair of complex and specialized mechanical, electronic, and other equipment, such as watercrafts or aircraft.

Equipment Service and Repair Manager I

The Equipment Service and Repair Manager I role is for managers responsible for supervising and managing work in the field of equipment repair. Employees provide the full range of supervision to work crews, plan and prioritize work, and maintain appropriate records.

Equipment Service and Repair Manager II

The Equipment Service and Repair Manager II role provides a career track for managers responsible for performing, supervising, and managing maintenance and repair work of unusual technical difficulty. Employees provide the full range of supervision to technicians or contractual service providers, plan, prioritize work and evaluate, may conduct pre-flight inspections, and maintain appropriate records.

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network) 

http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

Virginia Employment Commission 

http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop

  http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network

 http://www.vacrn.net/

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation

 http://www.natef.org

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology

 http://www.accsct.org

SkillsUSA-VICA, P.O.

http://www.skillsusa.org

Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES)

 http://www.ayes.org

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

 http://www.asecert.org

National Automobile Dealers Association

http://www.nada.org

Automotive Retailing Today

http://www.autoretailing.org