Toyota Service Director, Mid-level Automotive Technician, T-TEN Grad and ASE certified | 1-800-441-5141 Mid-level automotive service technicians are those who have been automotive technicians for at least two years. They hold at least one, and perhaps several, ASE certifications in different specialized areas, such as brakes, electrical/electronic systems, and engine performance. (“ASE” refers to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent organization that certifies the skills of professional technicians and also certifies the quality of automotive technology programs offered by high schools and colleges.) Many mid-level technicians have associate’s degrees in automotive technology from a community college.

Automotive service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair automobiles and light trucks, such as vans and pickups. In the past, these workers were called “mechanics,” however, today’s level of technology in the modern automobile makes the term “technician” more appropriate.

In the most modern shops of automobile dealers, service technicians use electronic service equipment, such as digital multimeters (DMM), 5-gas exhaust gas analyzers, hand-held diagnostic scan tool computers, and personal computers (PC) along with PC- based diagnostic tools. These electronic service tools diagnose problems and make accurate measurements that allow precision adjustments. It is the technician’s job to perform reprogramming of the vehicle computer using the hand-held scan tool with new programming downloaded from either large computerized databases .

During routine service, technicians perform diagnostic inspections and repair or replace parts before they can fail in a preventive maintenance process. Technicians usually follow a checklist to ensure they examine all the right components. Belts, hoses, fuses, spark plugs, brake and fuel systems, and other potentially troublesome items are among those that are closely watched. Service technicians use a variety of tools in their work, including power tools, such as pneumatic wrenches to remove bolts quickly, machine tools like lathes and grinding machines to resurface brake rotors/drums, welding and flame-cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust systems, and jacks and hoists to lift cars and engines. They also use common hand tools like screwdrivers, pliers and wrenches to work on small parts and in hard-to-reach places.

Automotive technicians usually own their hand tools, and many experienced workers have thousands of dollars invested in their sets accumulated over the years.

Mid-level technicians possess advanced automotive knowledge about a manufacturer’s proprietary systems and can diagnose and repair problems efficiently with minimal supervision. Mid-level technicians can interpret and read computer and scan tool codes and data as described in the service manual. They perform factory-approved repair procedures and diagnose, remove, and replace system components.

It usually takes two to five years to acquire adequate proficiency to become a mid-level service technician, able to perform quickly the more difficult types diagnosis and repairs.

Automotive technician with 2 to 5 years of experience earned a median salary of $43,046, not including commission.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of automotive service technicians and mechanics, including commission, were $16.88 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.44 and $22.64 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.56, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.71 per hour. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of service technicians were as follows:

* Local government, excluding schools: $20.07
* Automobile dealers: $19.61
* Automotive repair and maintenance: $15.26
* Gasoline stations: $15.22
* Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores: $14.90

Required Education:
For mid-level automotive service technician jobs, employers look for people with strong technical, communication and analytical skills who possess a depth of knowledge about the proprietary systems available on the cars and trucks sold by that dealership.

Many experienced technicians employed by automobile dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this system, weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned technicians a minimum weekly salary. Some employees offer health and retirement benefits, but such compensation packages are not universal and can vary widely.