How to Become a Mechanic: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a mechanic. Research the education and career requirements, certification and experience required for starting a career as a mechanic.
Requirements to Work as a Mechanic
Mechanics are skilled in repairing cars and trucks. Their job tasks usually include inspecting a vehicle's parts, evaluating its overall condition, diagnosing problems and making repairs. They also perform routine tune-ups and change a car's oil.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a high school diploma or the equivalent is usually required to work in the field, but completing a post-secondary program may increase employment opportunities. Although no certification is required to work as a mechanic, employers may prefer applicants certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The table below includes the requirements to become a mechanic.
|Education Level||High school diploma or equivalent*|
|Certification||Certification through ASE is highly preferred**|
|Experience||Two years of experience are required for certification***|
|Key Skills||Must be detail-oriented, have good manual dexterity and excellent customer service skills**|
|Technical Skills||Strong technical skills to handle current computer and electrical systems in vehicles*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); **Monster.com job postings (September 2012); ***National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
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: Consider a 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
The ASE offers certification in eight automotive specialties, including in engine repair, automatic transmission, brakes and electrical systems. Mechanics must usually pass exams to earn most certifications. These exams include 40-50 questions. Generally, recertification is required every five years.
- 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.
Related to Becoming a Mechanic
- Recently Updated
Research the requirements to become a Ford-certified mechanic. Learn about the job and its duties, and read the step-by-step...
Forklift mechanic training is usually offered through diesel technician or heavy equipment training programs. Diesel engines...
Agricultural mechanics are professional farming technicians that deal with the maintenance and repair of cultivation machines....
Learn how to become a bulldozer mechanic. Research the education, licensure and experience requirements for starting a career...
- Become a Forklift Mechanic: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- List of the Top Marine Mechanic Schools in the U.S.
- Locomotive Mechanic School and Training Program Information
- Master of Arts (MA): Teaching Degree Overview
- Careers in Pyrotechnics: Options and Requirements
- Associate in Science (AS): Web Design Degree Overview
- Surefire Ways to Get Money for College