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Today’s auto technicians are highly trained and skilled individuals who are proficient in vehicles’ computerized components and electrical circuitry as well as knowledgeable about all vehicle systems and subsystems.

For example, fuel pumps have become very sophisticated, as seen in the computer-controlled electric fuel pump. A long list of item failures can prevent the electric fuel pump from operating, requiring a skilled technician to locate and correct the problem.

The days of carburetors are giving way to computer-controlled fuel injection, electric throttles, computerized braking systems, variable camshaft timing, computer-operated suspensions, transmissions, doors and windows, navigation systems, automatic proximity braking, backup warnings, view cameras, and so on. Today’s vehicle is a veritable electrical blueprint when compared to early models.

There has been a growing shortage of highly skilled technicians for a long time — this is partly true because the complexity of new vehicles demands a much higher educational level. The pool of individuals interested in the automotive field who have sufficient education to pursue a highly technical career has dwindled.

Tips for Success as an ASE Certified Technician

The first step is to determine which facet of auto repair you want to pursue. Plan on graduating with an automotive degree, then obtaining ASE Master Auto Technician status to help secure your future.

Research the schools before deciding on which to attend. The points that set them apart are as follows:

  • Number of students per instructor
  • Syllabus and length of study
  • What is covered and in what depth
  • Testimonials
  • Cost of tuition and payment plans

Schools with large numbers of students per class are unlikely to devote additional attention to clarifying subject matter. You need to get as much education per class as possible for the money. The last thing you want is to graduate with just a “basic” knowledge of operating systems. Before starting school, go to the library to study basic electronics and wiring, and brush up on math. Having a familiarity with electronics will accelerate your learning curve.

Your future workplace is unlikely to offer on-the-job training. The first thing your new employer will do is to put you to task to determine what level of skill you possess. Most service facilities have little tolerance for mistakes that cost them money.

A shop manager will spot confusion or lack of skill immediately in a technician. If you don’t have adequate training, your opportunities for high-paying, skilled jobs are nil. The more skilled you are, the faster you will advance.

Depending upon the region, the average technician with few diagnostic skills averages $13 to $15 per flat-rate hour. A skilled diagnostician will make $25 per flat-rate hour or better. A technician skilled in diagnostics working flat rate can easily turn 10 or 11 hours in an 8-hour day.

A good education is key to opening doors in the automotive technician workplace. And advanced diagnostic skills are the key to moving up to higher pay scales and opening doors to management.