Certified Mechanic Education Requirements and Job Duties
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified mechanic. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.
Certified mechanics are technically-skilled professionals with knowledge and expertise of machinery. Mechanics may work on automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, or small engines. Details about this career, such as job outlook, median salary and education requriements, vary by sub-field. Certification for mechanics is available through professional organizations, such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
|Required Education||Varies by sub-field; although some types of mechanics may find work with no formal education, certificates and associate's degrees are available for most types of machinery repair (automotive, marine, diesel service, etc.)|
|Certification||Organizations offering licensing vary by discipline; many available through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence; aircraft mechanics need to complete a program approved by the FAA|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||9% for automotive service technicians and mechanics; 2% for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians; 6% for small engine mechanics; 9% for diesel service technicians and mechanics*|
|Median Salary (May 2012)||$36,610 for automotive service technicians and mechanics; $55,230 for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians; $32,640 for small engine mechanics; $42,320 for diesel service technicians and mechanics*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Certified Mechanics
Certification for mechanics working on automobiles, aircraft and ships generally requires training from an apprenticeship program, vocational school or community college. Comprehensive training for certified mechanics involves classroom education and real-world experience with machinery. Some high schools offer programs teaching students the skills necessary to become a mechanic. Electronic diagnostics systems in newer vehicles means students pursuing careers as mechanics should be comfortable with new technologies.
A mechanic's education often concentrates on a specialty field, such as automotive or marine machinery. Most education programs for mechanics don't have formal prerequisites, though acceptance to a community college or vocational school usually requires a high school diploma. High school courses in chemistry, mathematics and physics can lay the foundation for mechanic certification coursework.
A mechanic's specific tasks depends on specialty. Certified automotive professionals, for example, might rotate tires, rebuild carburetors and flush radiators. Mechanics with experience and training related to farm equipment can work on combines, tractors and plows. Performing regular maintenance and safety checks are routine duties for mechanics working on airplanes, ensuring an airworthy craft. Many manufacturers of specialty machinery, such as cranes, steam shovels and dump trucks, offer certification to mechanics working in the construction industry.
Mechanics with sufficient knowledge of specialty machinery can work in fields such as petroleum exploration, power plants or manufacturing. Automotive mechanics can also specialize and earn certification to work on specific brands of cars. Individuals with experience in machinery repair and maintenance can teach others the skills necessary to become a certified mechanic. Some government agencies employ experienced mechanics to maintain squad cars, street sweepers, garbage trucks and other fleet vehicles.
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