What Are Some Career Options for a Mechanic?
Technological complexities of modern machinery require mechanics to have specialized knowledge and skills for inspection, diagnosis, maintenance and repair. Mechanics are necessary in many fields. Read on to learn more about the career options available to mechanics. Schools offering Automotive Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
In general, mechanics inspect, repair and maintain mechanical systems. Mechanics are generally trained in a specific field so they can have the knowledge necessary to diagnose and fix issues. Mechanics may receive training at a community or vocational college, or may learn on the job. Depending on the industry, mechanics may need to be licensed or certified in order to operate. Below are some of the career options available to people wanting to become mechanics.
Automobile Mechanics are trained to inspect, repair and maintain automobiles, trucks and other vehicles. They work with gasoline-, diesel- or electric-powered vehicles, as well as those driven by alternative fuels. Many automobile mechanics are knowledgeable in a variety of makes, components and systems. Others elect to specialize in certain car models or systems. Some specialized job titles for auto mechanics include:
- Front-end mechanic
- Brake specialist
- Transmission specialist
A related position, diesel service mechanics, repair not only diesel cars, but larger vehicles with diesel engines, such as buses and trucks. Diesel service mechanics may also work on farm equipment, construction equipment and even trains.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for automotive service mechanics are expected to increase by 9% between 2012 and 2022. Job prospects for diesel service mechanics are expected to increase by the same amount in the same time period.
Motorcycle mechanics, or small engine mechanics, diagnose, service and repair the systems and components of motorcycles and other small vehicles. They usually work on vehicles weighing less than 1,000 pounds. In much the same way as an automobile mechanic, they ask the customer questions and conduct inspections to identify problems and malfunctions. Then they make the necessary repairs.
Many motorcycle mechanics gain their training working on the job with experienced technicians. Other motorcycle mechanics complete one of many formal certificate and apprenticeship programs. Small engine mechanics may also work on watercraft, all-terrain vehicles and lawn equipment. According to the BLS, job opportunities for small engine mechanics are expected to increase by 6% between 2012 and 2022, slower than average. Job prospects will be better for applicants with postsecondary training.
Aircraft mechanics are responsible for maintaining planes and keeping them operating in a safe and efficient manner. They have the knowledge and skills to service, repair, overhaul and test various aircrafts. To work for most airlines and aviation companies, aircraft mechanics must possess an airframe and powerplant (A&P) certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or be supervised by a certified A&P mechanic who checks all their work. Aircraft mechanics may pursue jobs in one of the following specialties:
- Airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics work on systems and parts of the aircraft, including the wings, fuselage, brakes, tail assembly, oil tanks and fuel tanks.
- Aircraft body repairers secure aircraft body components that have been repaired or replaced using pneumatic tools, including hammers, clamps, welding tools and hydraulic riveters and wrenches. They also repair, fabricate and rebuild aircraft structures and sections of the aircraft's body.
- Avionics technicians specialize in the electronic systems of aircraft, and repair and maintain systems such as radio communications and radar.
The BLS predicts that job positions for aircraft mechanics will increase by 2% between 2012 and 2022. Those with A&P certification or higher degrees will have the advantage over other applicants.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) mechanics install, service and maintain climate control systems in buildings. HVACR mechanics focus on either installation or maintenance, generally, and may focus on a specialty area, such as solar panels or commercial refrigeration. While some employers will hire HVACR mechanics that have completed an apprenticeship, most prefer to hire employees with postsecondary training, such as a certificate or an associate's degree. Apprenticeship programs are run through national societies, such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
Certifications are available from a number of organizations. In addition, some states require that HVACR mechanics be licensed. Licensure generally requires the passing of an exam, though other requirements may vary. HVACR mechanics who work with refrigerant must be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The BLS predicts a growth of 21% in job opportunities for HVACR mechanics. This is due to the recovery of the construction industry after the recession, as well as the fact that many older systems will need to be upgraded in the near future.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: