Careers In The Trades: Automotive Technicians

Skilled hands of automotive technician in auto repair service.
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CHARLOTTE – The automobile industry provides many excellent job opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career with many options available to use their technical and mechanical skills. Today certified technicians are part of an innovative and changing environment. If you enjoy understanding and diagnosing problems in electrical systems and hybrid vehicles along with combustible engines, your future could be very bright if you obtain the necessary skills for success.

Automotive technicians are in high demand nationwide and in the Charlotte metropolitan area. A career as an automotive technician is challenging, and it’s always evolving with new advancements in engineering and technology.

The job description includes diagnosing and solving vehicle issues using equipment such as computerized diagnostics and hand tools. A technician conducts routine maintenance on auto parts and components. However, most of the work focuses on servicing automobiles’ software, electronic and computer systems. The job might include vehicle inspections or work on traditional engines and transmissions, braking systems, steering, heating and air conditioning, accident avoidance, and more. Technicians may also work on cars and trucks that rely on alternative fuels and electricity.

There are over 250 million cars, trucks, and buses on the road today. All require maintenance, inspection, and repair. As a result there are many opportunities available for skilled automotive technicians. The national average for pay is $48,000; reportedly there are over 75,000 job openings between 2016-2026, with a growth rate of 5% to 9%.

Opportunities are available at auto dealerships, independent auto and truck repair shops, collision and body repair centers, custom restoration shops, specialty auto outlets, and trucking industry repairs.  Even NASCAR is an option if you can meet their high physical and technical standards on the cutting edge of new technologies in auto racing. The pay range is higher if you qualify and are hired; the experience must be amazing, but it’s highly competitive.

There are many training programs offered, and in our area, CPCC has an excellent program in Automotive Systems Technology. This includes a full 2-year associate degree program, along with offering certificate and diploma programs in specialty areas of the industry. It’s a very cost-effective way of earning the important A.S.E. certification. A prospective candidate can approach a local GM dealership about the GM-certified technicians apprenticeship or contact Steve Dizon at (704) 330-4184 or at, as CPCC is a certified GM ASEP school.

Attending a General Motors Automotive Service Program (ASEP) school is a great way to enter the field and obtain your certifications. The student will earn all the necessary certifications while gaining valuable hands-on experience at a sponsoring dealer. This will provide opportunities for continued training, and becoming a GM World Class Technician is achievable along with having a job during and after you complete the program. The dealership has a vested interest in the individual technician as an asset and in their career development within the organization.

While no program or college can guarantee a job, many GM ASEP graduates gain employment at their sponsoring employer after graduation. The Apprentice pay scale is $28,000 to $35,000. Mainline technician earn $40,000 to $70,000, Master technicians make $54,000 to $84,000, and Shop Foreman can earn $73,000 to $111,000 annually. You will need to progress through each step in the process, which can take 3-5 years of experience or more. There is a cost for tuition; however, you are earning while in training, getting hands-on experience, and obtaining A.S.E. certification.

Other good programs that offer apprenticeships include Ford Lincoln Veteran Careers Program, Volvo Car Technicians Program, and Penske’s Truck Diesel Technician Program. Hertz offers a $3000 signing bonus for qualified technicians and will hire apprentices while motor carriers such as Southeastern Freight Lines, Inc. offer an apprentice program with on-the-job training working alongside experienced professional technicians.

Universal Technical Institute/NASCAR Tech located in Mooresville, North Carolina, has a one-year program where you can obtain ASE Certification. There are funds available in scholarships and grants to those who qualify. Contact the school for the next industry day or event to tour the campus at (800) 834-7308, and get your new career started.

The only qualifications to enter a training program are a high school diploma or GED along with a desire to enter an exciting field where an individual who is technically and mechanically inclined can have a good career. Remember, to qualify for the best job opportunities the applicant must have completed the following requirements.

  • A post-secondary training program in automotive service technology; various certifications, and an associate degree is a plus.
  • Automotive Service Excellence/ASE certification of Society of Automotive Engineers/SAE certification sometimes is preferred by employers.
  • Strong customer service and communications skills are essential when dealing with the public.

We wish all those who are interested in a career as an automotive technician the very best. Please make sure you do your homework, research online, visit the school campus, review the programs offered, meet with advisers, and evaluate which training program best meets your individual career and financial requirements to achieve your desired goals.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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