Career Satisfaction

For this career, by 18 people, from 10 (best) to 1 (worst).

Avg. rating: 6   

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Inside Auto Mechanic Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you


Biggest Surprises

"Mechanics Lack Computer Skills...
I was surprised at the overall lack of computer/diagnostic skill most auto techs posses. The modern car has many computers and sensors but most tech new to the field lack basic common knowledge of things as simple as a position sensor." (Auto Mechanic; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Lincoln Technical in Pennsylvania; completed Associate degree in 1997

"Lack Of Customer Knowledge...
I was surprised to find that in being a car mechanic how very little most people know about the vehicle that they are driving. Very little people even take the time to flip through the handbook that comes with their vehicle. Anyone who is going to drive a vehicle should at least know how to maintain it at the very least. Some people don't even know how to check the oil levels. I can't believe how ignorant some people are when it comes to cars." (Auto Mechanic; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Southeastern in North Carolina; completed Certificate degree in 1998

"Not The Career You Were Told It Would Be...
Automotive technicians are underpaid for the skills, tools, and continuous learning needed to be good at their job. Automotive technicians have terrible benefits. Healthcare is poor quality and super expensive. There is little vacation time and the days are long and hard. It's a tough job to raise a family on." (Automotive Technician; 2014)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, male
School: Studied Automotive Science at New England Institute Of Technology in Rhode Island; completed Associate degree in 2005

"Auto Mechanic Is Satisfying Work...
I was surprised at how easy it is to fix things. It was not very complicated at all. Just very tedious, and heavy work." (Automotive Mechanic; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Automotive Mechanic at Haney Technical School in Florida; completed Associate degree in 2009

"Need To Work Well With People...
I was surprised at how involved the process of being a mechanic is. I didn't realize that it was just as much dealing with people as it was fixing cars." (Automotive Mechanic; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Automotive Mechanics at NMU in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2012

"The Future Is Wide Open...
I was surprised by the number of career options that I have after gaining more experience as an automotive mechanic. I thought I would be turning wrenches for the rest of my life, but there are many different paths you can take that are quite lucrative." (Automotive Technician; 2013)

Career: 26 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Business Management at Tarrant County College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Disregard For Technical Skills...
I was surprised at the level of disregard for diagnostic abilities over sheer "part-changer" mentality. Quite often, shop owners aren't worried (until it's too late) about a correct diagnosis, so long as they've made money and the car is shipped. While certain shops do value competent technicians, many other shops just want the work done quickly, without much regard to completeness." (Auto Technician; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 2003

"Quick Atmosphere...
I was surprised how many people tried to apply for this job. I felt very lucky to get accepted. Also I was surprised my job requires great people skills." (Automotive Inspector; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at CSU-P in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Long Hours Dealing With Surprises...
What surprised me most about being an auto mechanic is the long hours. In school you rarely deal with unforeseen problems but in reality bolts break, or parts are wrong, and you end up with major delays." (Auto Mechanic; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Ivy Tech in Indiana; completed Associate degree in 2003

"Car Owning Moronic Slobs...
New mechanics are often surprised at how disgusting the inside of many people's cars are. New mechanics are also often surprised at how absurd and dangerous some DIY repair jobs are and how much extra work they require to repair." (Mechanic; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Rhode Island, male
School: Studied Automotive Science at New England Tech in Rhode Island; completed Certificate degree in 2003

"Technology Under The Hood...
I was surprised how complex and how high tech car are these days. There is so much computing power and smart technology in vehicles these days that most people have no idea is sitting under their hood. One example is starting a car. Used to be you would put the key in the car, turn it to the "start" position until the engine started. Once it started you would move the key back to the "run" position. Now you just turn the key once, let it go and the car will turn it self over until the engine starts." (Vehicle Mechanic; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Lanier Technical College in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 2008

"Time Over Quality...
I was surprised at the attention to your time to accomplish even the most minute task. The quality was not as important as the amount of time you spent on the given repair." (Automotive Mechanic; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Sequoia Institute Of Technology (Now Wyotech) in California; completed Certificate degree in 2003

"Electronics Not Mechanical...
I was surprised how much working on cars now is based off of operating a computer and less on turning wrenches. We learned a lot of turning wrenches and mechanical work, but not as much with learning computer systems and how to do diagnostic work using a computer on a 'network' car." (Automotive Technician; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Lincoln Technical Institute in Pennsylvania; completed Diploma degree in 2002

"On The Job Learning...
I was surprised by how much more there was to learn after school. Every day in the field I learn new skills and solutions to problems." (Automotive Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Oklahoma, male
School: Studied Automotive Technology at Kiamichi Technology Center in Oklahoma; completed Certificate degree in 2004

"Get ASE Certified...
In 2008 when the Gm and Chrysler where begging tax payers from Washington to help prevent them from going out of business I was surprised to find that even with only seven years experience as an ASE certified Technician I was a able to start a business from my back yard in a shop my dad had built for me, and actually do so well with it that I now have a stable business working from home. There is no doubt that people would not have trusted me to work on their vehicles had I not had that certificate." (ASE Certified Mechanic; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Automotive Tech at Griffin Tech in Georgia; completed Certificate degree in 2001

"Lack Of Educated Mechanics...
I was surprised at how many other technicians and service writers do not have any relevant education and/or updated certifications. The number of technicians and service writers with outdated ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certifications and/or a lack of relevant schooling was the vast majority." (Automotive Technical And Service Writer; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in District of Columbia, female
School: Studied Automotive Technology at UTI in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2004

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Auto Mechanic: "The thing I enjoy most about being an auto mechanic is using both my hands and my mind to fix something that is broken. And the pay's good too. But the job has its challenges as well, and there are times when I get under a car to fix the brakes, for example, when I can prompt a cascade of secondary problems by making just a single mistake." (2010)

CEO Of Small Business: "The best part of my job is solving a difficult auto repair problem that has stumped other automotive shops. The worst is getting so many sales calls from insurance and security alarm systems sales people." (2009)

Career Background

Auto Mechanic

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Read This Before Becoming An Automotive Technician...
Stay away from buying expensive tools and tool storage. Shop around for good deals on tools, and only buy the expensive ones if you really need them. Do not be afraid to shop for tools online if necessary. Some name brands can be purchased cheaper online and can still be replaced under warranty by the tool truck driver. When you start out, do not apply to the garage you want to work at the most. More than likely you will have to leave there in a few years to increase your hourly wage and advance your career. This will be a continuing theme. Save the shop you want to work for the most until you solidify your hourly wage and skills as a technician." (Automotive Technician; 2014)

"Don't Cut Corners...
Changing oil is repetitive and boring, until you mess it up and blowup an engine." (Mechanic; 2014)

"Hands On Experience Is Important...
Get a job being an apprentice or entry level work with an auto repair shop. The daily hands on experience is way more important than the schooling." (Auto Mechanic; 2013)

"Shop Ownership...
Own your own business. If you are a mechanic in someone else's shop then be prepared to do the majority of the work for very little pay." (Auto Mechanic; 2013)

"ASE Certified Technicians Are Trusted...
If being an auto Tech is what you feel is the career you want to pursue. I strongly recommend doing some research to find a trade school near you that is accredited and honored by the top automobile manufacturers in the market today. Having the correct certificate from a worthy teaching center will benefit you in more ways than you will ever imagine. Being ASE CERT. not only will guarantee you a spot working in the best shops, but will also earn you lots of respect for your profession in your community. Thus allowing you to take advantage of the extra income Quality Auto mechanics are able to make from home." (ASE Certified Mechanic; 2013)

"Be Versatile...
Along with training try to obtain a job in a garage somewhere to get hands on real world experience to go along with your training. What you learn in the shop will be a lot different than what you learn in a shop." (Automotive Technician; 2013)

"Looking Beyond The Technician Role...
Find a way to advance within a corporate structure at a dealership; the real money and respect is within service manager positions." (Auto Technician; 2013)

"Paying Attention To Great Detail...
Pay attention to detail. One little slip could cause a rod to fall out and cause the wheel assembly to freeze up." (Automotive Mechanic; 2013)

"Do Your Homework Before Becoming An Automotive Mechanic...
To begin a career as an automotive mechanic, first speak with those working in the field. Most shops will require 2 or more ASE certificates, your own large set of tools encompassing every possible tool you may need, and 2 years of training/experience. Research all possible training programs in the area and make sure all their equipment is up to date and not falling apart." (Automotive Mechanic; 2013)

"More ASE Certifications Mean More Money...
If you want a good job as an automotive technician, you need to pass all of the ASE certification tests that you can. The faster you do this, the more money you will make in your career." (Automotive Technician; 2013)

"Doing More Than Required...
Go to a school and learn more than what they teach you in the class. Come in early and stay late working on extra projects. Hanging around the older teachers will give you the opportunity to learn things they don't teach in the classroom." (Vehicle Mechanic; 2013)

"Have A Strong Resume...
It is tough to find a job in this area, but if you work hard, have a good resume, you can do alright." (Automotive Inspector; 2013)

"Advice From Coworkers...
Always take to heart the advice you may receive from others working in the industry. Just when you think that there is not a solution insight from someone else may be the key." (Automotive Technician; 2013)

To become an automotive mechanic, make sure you know people in the field who can vouch for you. It helps a lot to get a good paying position if you know people." (Automotive Mechanic; 2013)

"Your Success Lies In Diagnosing Computer Issues...
To become a automotive technician you must learn the basic workings of computers and sensors. There are a lot of people that can turn a wrench but few can diagnose a complex computer system in a efficient manner . That is where the money lies." (Auto Mechanic; 2013)

"Get Certified In Multiple Areas...
Although I have taken several courses and workshops in auto repair training, I have to say that the best training came from working on cars on the job. Fixing cars can be tricky at times so it really helps when I am familiar with a particular make and model of a car. But you also need patience in dealing with customers, especially those who are already upset that their cars have broken down. A final piece of advice I would offer to someone entering the field would be to try to get certified in many different areas of repair. From inspection stickers to fixing large diesel trucks, everything you learn will pay off in your work." (Auto Mechanic; 2010)

"Listen To Customers Closely...
Be sure to be a good listener, when talking with the customers, and remember all your people skills. Another good skill is delegating the work to other employees for problem solving. I often hold meetings to get input from key people as to how they would have handled difficult situations. getting to know your customers is so important. Some just would do anything to repair their automobile and others want to know all the details." (CEO Of Small Business; 2009)