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Positions Available: The automotive industry allows for workers of various skill sets, knowledge, and certification to find work within a growing trade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the field remain on course to grow by almost 11% through 2024. Common positions available include auto parts retail sales associate, mechanic, technician, auto lube technician, tow truck operator, and various associated management roles. While many of the jobs available place an emphasis on prior automobile knowledge, interested candidates may also find entry-level roles with minimum hiring requirements.
Job Growth: With over 130 million registered vehicles in the United States alone, the need for service, repair, and upkeep remains high, as does the need for trained professionals to perform such tasks. The increasing lifespan of later-model vehicles and advancements in automotive technology, such as hybrid fuel systems, leads to a broader need for candidates trained in specific duties and responsibilities. Job seekers with post-secondary experience and additional certifications may find advancement opportunities more plentiful, though entry-level positions still show room for growth, as well. With a wide-ranging and overarching job base in private garages, chain establishments, and in government roles, candidates may seek employment through many different channels.
Job Type and Typical Salary: As with any entry-level customer service job, most sales roles with automotive parts stores feature minimum hiring requirements, such as a high school diploma or the equivalent combined with an affinity for automobiles and repair. Mechanics, technicians, and drivers may need further certifications, such as special licenses and ASE test completion. Some companies may wish for applicants to obtain such certifications before hire, though others may provide training in order to retain workers. Salary ranges for most entry-level positions start around $9.00 an hour, with the possibility of earning higher hourly wages with tenure, while skilled positions may fetch up to $25.00 an hour, depending on the company and the area of expertise.
Detailed Auto Shop Job Descriptionslube tech | auto tech | auto retail | tow truck driver
What Are the Responsibilities of a Lube Tech? The duties of a lube technician are similar to those of an automotive technician, only somewhat less extensive. The job will focus around fluid checks and basic maintenance. Typically, a lube tech will change a vehicle’s oil, check the transmission fluid and other fluid levels, inspect various belts and filters, and check air levels and gauges. Training will be provided, but candidates should at least have a basic understanding of car maintenance.
Beyond technical responsibilities, there is also an administrative component of the job. Lube technicians must write up service reports and receipts for work done. A computer or cash register may be used to complete these tasks, so basic computer skills are a plus. Customer interaction is also part of the job. Lube technicians should be able to communicate well and explain technical components in basic English.
Qualifications / Requirements for a Lube Tech Job? For the most part, lube technicians will need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Candidates will need to possess a broad range of automotive knowledge, but do not necessarily need any prior experience. A work history featuring experience in the automotive industry would be a definite advantage in the job market, though. No special training or certification is necessary, but will be required to advance to higher positions as an automotive technician.
Salary & Compensation In general, lube techs will make slightly less than other automotive technicians. This difference is mainly due to the fact that lube techs do not have to be certified like auto techs. Lube techs start between $9 and $12 per hour on average. Pay will vary by experience and employer.
Job Duties Auto techs are the backbone of the automotive industry. Without their work, cars would become hazards or simply fall into disrepair. As an automotive mechanic, your job will include performing inspections, basic maintenance, and minor repairs at entry level. Of course, you’ll also be doing oil changes and lubrication work. Finally, workers will assist more skilled technicians.
There are, however, different levels of automotive technicians. Mid-level techs will also be responsible for diagnosing and repairing problems with the engine, transmission, electrical, steering, suspension, brakes, and similar systems. You may also be required to inspect and test new vehicles to write up reports detailing work that the vehicle needs.
Finally, master level technicians have all of the responsibilities of their counterparts with a few more duties. It is their job to make sure that vehicles meet manufacturer specifications for repair work and safety. These techs also need to test drive vehicles as well as test automotive systems with a variety of technical tools like infrared engine analyzers, compression gauges, and computerized diagnostic devices. If you hold this job at a dealership, you’ll also need to perform repairs under warranty to maintain the vehicle’s quality and condition.
Job Qualifications and Compensation Qualifications for an auto tech vary as much as the duties of each individual level. Employees at what may be considered entry level typically need a couple things beyond simply being 18 or older. These low level technicians are required to have a valid driver’s license, experience with oil changes and minor repair work, and one of several qualifications. You must possess at least one valid and up-to-date ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certification, a degree from an automotive technician training school, or a full year’s experience in a professional garage. As with any other service industry position, you must also be able to communicate clearly and politely with customers.
For the next level, the qualifications are a bit steeper. You’ll need at least three years’ experience in a professional setting, at least three valid ASE certifications, and a valid driver’s license. Additionally, mid-level technicians are expected to be familiar with job-specific equipment such as wheel and tire equipment and diagnostic systems. For certain employers, it will also be a plus to have certain manufacturer certification. For example, Chrysler certification is helpful when applying to work as a mechanic for Mopar. Furthermore, many of these retailers expect you to be working toward a full eight ASE certifications.
At the master level, you will need an average of five years prior experience in a professional environment, to hold a minimum of five out of eight ASE certifications, have knowledge of diagnostic and repair systems, and possess a valid driver’s license. As an additional qualification, you will also be expected to have some instructor-led training in high school, vocational school, college, technical school, or any similarly qualifying mechanical training.
How Much Does an Auto Technician Make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an auto tech working for an employer in the United States earns an average of $15.30 an hour. This, however, does not take into account the different levels at which automotive mechanics work. Entry level techs are more likely to make $10 an hour whereas master level technicians can earn up to $25 or more per hour. The job can be part-time or full-time, but mid-level and master technician employers are more likely to only be hiring for full-time mechanics. As with any other industry, working full time usually qualifies you for an impressive benefits package. Although this will vary depending on garage or dealership, workers are likely to receive healthcare, disability insurance, a 401(k) plan, and a number of other potential perks.
Job Duties Sales associates specializing in automotive parts will have similar duties those of customer service and sales jobs in the retail field. This kind of employee will provide assistance to customers on the sales floor, answer questions, locate automotive products, and may even be responsible for stocking shelves, taking inventory, and handling returns. A sales associate working in auto parts will need to be extremely familiar with automotive products so as to accurately answer questions and satisfy customers’ demands. Some training will be provided and knowledge will come with experience. At some retailers, sales associates may also double as cashiers and may have to operate a computer or cash register.
Job Qualifications and Compensation Qualifications will vary based on exact position and employer. However, in general, you must be at least 18 years of age to be considered for employment at an auto parts store. A high school diploma may also be required, but not in all cases. The position of sales associate will be entry level. Therefore, work experience in retail or sales will not be explicitly required. However, some history of working with auto parts or interacting with customers would be a definite advantage when applying for this position. Other characteristics that will set you apart from other applicants may include computer skills and a familiarity with auto parts and cars in general.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average non-managerial worker at an auto parts store makes about $14 per hour. An automotive parts sales associate may start higher or lower than this industry average, depending on experience.
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Job Duties The duties of a tow truck operator consist of communicating with a dispatcher, driving to the scene of an accident or breakdown, connecting the vehicle to the tow truck, and transporting it back to the service station or junkyard. The driver will be responsible for attaching the disabled vehicle to the tow truck. Depending on the type of tow truck, this may include using a chain, winch, steering locks, and other devices as well as affixing lights onto the towed vehicle.
Drivers will interact with customers, speaking to them about their automotive problems, potentially diagnosing the cause, and providing necessary assistance. As such, a tow truck operator will need to be able to communicate well and will need to have a basic knowledge of cars and automotive parts. Many tow truck drivers will perform small repairs on the scene of a breakdown such as changing tires, reconnecting parts, or jumpstarting the car. Some familiarity with automotive maintenance and repair may be required, but most of it can be learned on the job. The driver will also have to write up reports of services rendered and accept payments.
Job Qualifications and Compensation At the very least, candidates must have a valid driver’s license and a record of safe driving to become a tow truck operator. Other qualifications vary by state and employer. In general, you should be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Prior work experience isn’t normally required, but having experience in trucking or automotive repair is always a plus. A basic understanding of cars and automotive maintenance is another advantage when applying for towing jobs. In some states, you may have to obtain a special operator’s license or certification from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This will largely depend on the type and size of the towing vehicle you will drive. Further certification can be obtained through The Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA). After passing an examination, you will be issued a certificate making you much more competitive in the towing job market.
Salary / Pay Tow truck operators start at an average of $12 to $16 an hour, depending on employer and experience. Applicants with more experience and certifications will, of course, begin at a higher pay rate. Both part-time and full-time positions are available in the towing industry. Full-time workers will receive a host of benefits like healthcare coverage, a 401(k) plan, and paid time off. Part-time employees may also receive benefits, but these will also vary by employer.