Car Repair Classes and Mechanic TrainingAdvancements in engine technology have required mechanics to become highly trained in computers and electronic systems. Mechanic schools are available to prepare you to work on automobiles, diesel trucks, aircrafts, motorboats, and motorcycles.
Becoming a Certified Automotive or Diesel Truck Mechanic
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that becoming ASE certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has become a standard credential in this field. ASE certification requires working for two years in the field and passing a certification exam in a specialization of automotive or diesel truck repair. One year of formal training can take the place of one year of experience. Advanced certification as a Master Technician can be achieved by passing all exams in a given series.
There are four ways to prepare yourself for car or truck certification:
1. High schools offer vocational training programs. Each school's program differs, and some may require additional postsecondary training. However, one of the most comprehensive programs is the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES), an ASE-certified course. It is jointly sponsored by high schools, automotive manufacturers, and franchised dealers.
2. Some trade schools combine mechanic classes with on-the-job training in six to 12 months.
3. Community college programs combine mechanic classes and on-the-job training with general education courses in two years. Some tool manufacturers work with colleges to help students accumulate tools during training.
4. Automobile manufacturers and dealers sponsor two-year associate's degree programs at many community colleges. Students alternate between attending mechanic classes full time and working full time in the service departments of sponsoring dealers.
How to Become a Certified Aircraft Mechanic
According to the BLS, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) operates 170 certified Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools around the country and requires that all aircraft maintenance be done by a certified mechanic. Therefore, although a small number of aircraft mechanics learn on the job, most train in these programs. These programs require 1,900 class hours and typically take 12 to 24 months to complete. A third of these schools provide associate's or bachelor's degree programs that take two to four years to finish. To earn certification, you must complete 18 months of education and/or work experience and then pass FAA-administered written, oral, and practical tests within a 24-month period.
Train on the Job to be a Small Engine Mechanic
Motorboat and motorcycle mechanics are classified as small engine mechanics. According to the BLS, although employers prefer formally trained mechanics, it is not required, and most train on the job. You can prepare yourself while in high school by taking your school's vocational courses in small engine repair, automobile mechanics, science, and business math. Once employed, manufacturers also provide training courses for warranty work.
Your Potential Earnings
Per the BLS, median annual earnings for mechanics vary by specialty:
• Automotive: $35,420
• Diesel truck: $40,250
• Aircraft: $52,810
• Motorboat: $35,430
• Motorcycle: $31,820
Projected employment growth from 2008-2018 for all mechanics ranges from 5 to 7 percent. The BLS reports that job prospects for those with certification and training are very good.
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