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How to become an Automotive Technician

How to become an Automotive Technician

How to become an Automotive Technician:

So you want to learn how to become an Automotive Technician and turn wrenches like the pros? Well, you have come to the right place. We are going to take a look at what it takes to become an Automotive Technician. As well as some awesome insider tips and tricks of the industry that can help you get noticed/hired. As well as some information to help you be the best you can be in your new career choice.

Becoming an Automotive Technician is a lot of fun. But, it can also be a pain in the ass if you do not know where to begin. I had no clue what I was doing when I started, so I went through a few different places before I found somewhere that allowed me to get my foot in the door at least. It was a rough start in a small town, but it helped me prepare for the bigger things to come.

Before you begin there are a few things that you need to determine. Here are a few questions that will help you figure out the best direction for you to go.


  •  Are you trying to do this as a hobby or profession?

  • How much time do you have to dedicate to learning a new trade?

  • Do you love cars enough to work on them almost every day of the week?

How to Become and Automotive Technician

Education and Hands-On Experience:

If you want to learn how to become an Automotive Technician then you must make sure you are dedicated to go out and gain all the education and training that you are going to need. Hands-on training will always be the best when it comes to trade work, but I cannot stress how important it is to learn and educate yourself on automotive theory and technology.

If you do not stay up to date on training and education then it can become really easy to lose your diagnostic/technical edge and end up turning into a parts changer, and nobody wants to do that.

When I first got started in the industry and decided it was something that I would enjoy then I decided to go to school for it and I got my 2 year Associate’s degree in Automotive Technology at a great local technical school. I was also working in a  Sear’s auto center where I was learning the basics such as oil changes, tires, brakes, etc.

I feel like I had an advantage by working in a shop at the same time as I was going to school, and it seemed to help me learn and retain the information from my schooling better than my classmates who were all working part-time at places like Taco Bell or not working at all, and then they somehow expected to nail a job in a good shop right out of college. Unfortunately for them, they learned the hard way that things do not always work out that smoothly.

Along with college education, I also went through multiple manufacturer training programs. While working for Ford and GM, I attained close to master certification with both brands, I only lacked a few hands-on classes to be fully gold certified. I’ve also gone through independent training classes offered by parts suppliers and aftermarket manufacturers. Some were boring, but usually still contain a little bit of good info. At least if the class is a waste of time, it is a good opportunity to network and get your name out there.

“I cannot stress how important it is to learn and educate yourself on automotive theory and technology.”

Not a lot of employers will be excited to hire a Technician with no shop experience, and when they do it is usually so they have a new hourly employee to take care of all the grunt work. Most new Techs will have to face this at one point or another, some shops will be tougher than others,  it just depends who runs the place.


How to Become and Automotive Technician

A peek inside the Toolbox (time to re-organize!)

Where can you get started:

The best thing to do is reach out to local shops and find someone who is hiring for a starting/apprentice position. At most shops, this will mean being the lube/tire tech, which is normal at first. For now, all you want to do is get your foot in the door so that you can gain experience and time in a shop.

It can take a while to find somewhere that you are comfortable staying. In the current state of the automotive industry, it can be hard to find a stable shop, which is a big reason why you see Technicians bouncing from shop to shop. Good thing toolboxes come with wheels right?!

Never settle for a place where you feel that they are mistreating you, or where they do not respect your knowledge and abilities. A good Technician is one of the core foundations in all aspects of the Automotive industry. Without us technicians, there would not be cars on the road, period. Remember that. Never continue to give time to someone who is unappreciative.

“Without us, there would not be cars on the road, period.”

There are ALWAYS new shops hiring, but you can NEVER get back the time you have lost. So choose wisely and you will avoid a lot of common mistakes. A good place to start your search will be Indeed. They always have the most up to date job listings.


I do advise that you work through some sort of an apprenticeship program even if it is only for 3-6months. This is valuable time you can use to pick up some tricks of the trade by shadowing a master technician. Some things can be overwhelming at first, and having the guidance of someone who has been through it all before can be an awesome help.


Learning the Hustle:

If you have never worked in the automotive industry, then chances are you have not had to work with a ‘Flat-Rate’ pay system before. What flat-rate means is that you are only paid for the billable service hours that you have completed, and not the hours worked.

This means if a job pays 1.2hrs( 72mins) and you got it done in .9hrs(52mins) then you just made an extra 20mins. That can happen the opposite as well and a job may take you longer than it actually pays sometimes.

So it can work in your favor, or you can hate it. I have had my bad weeks, but generally, I am a fan of the flat-rate system. There are not too many other systems that allow me to spend 2 hours at a job and be paid for 4 hours.

Once you are part of this type of pay system, you will need to learn how to work efficiently and productive while maintaining the integrity of your work. It can be a lot to balance at first, but eventually, you will get the hang of things and learn to work on multiple vehicles at once if you wish too. You will start to think ahead and do things like start to drain the oil while you rotate the tires instead of standing around watching the oil drain. Since an oil change pays .4hrs and tire rotate pays .3hr by doing it this way you can usually shave off a few minutes and come out ahead.

 “As a busy/efficient technician, it is not uncommon to be flagging 70hrs+ per week, even though they are only actually working 45-50hrs”

You will always have a few guys who tell you how much the flat rate system sucks, so be sure you form your own opinion before listening to anything like that.


How to Become an automotive technician

Toolbox Organization is a great help for efficiency


Hitting the Road to Mastery:

Do your best, and always strive to grow no matter what. Always shoot for the top, but remember to stay humble on the climb up. Never say you know it all, as that is when you will truly stop learning. This industry is always growing and always moving. As long as you can keep up with the flow then you will do great!

Be sure to stay on top of your training and education. Technology advances very quickly in the automotive industry. If you want to do the best work you can, as well as maximize your income, then you need to stay on top of what is coming out.

I advise all technicians to try and attain their Master’s certification through ASE (Automotive Service Excellence). It may not mean much to other techs, but it is an achievement that you can be proud of and it shows your determination towards your career and image as a technician.

Be sure to check out the Adept Shop for some awesome Technician related Gear!



  • John says:

    Nice post, I’m definitely on the hobby side of things and every once in a while I really think how much better it would be to just clock in at a shop instead of my job, but I guess the grass is always greener and doing it as a hobby is way different than becoming a pro. Also that is really interesting about the flat rate pay system – I had no idea that’s how it worked.  From all your experiences working at both ford and gm shops you’ve really opened my eyes to how it works. I would definitely be keeping my eyes out for the ASE certificate in my mechanics shops.

  • LynhNN says:

    Hello there, 

    I came to visit your website, so it is so great for the theme. For every post, you have the main title and the picture to support your post lively. For the tools such as search, recent post and recent comment are easy to find out and in the top, you displayed very detail about the home, about me, contact, shop or so on. I really appreciate for your performance, design your website. Keep going and congratulations. 

    Best regards, 

    Lynh Nguyen 

  • Micheal N says:

    I trained for 2 years as a Motor Vehicle Technician (MVT) majoring in Mercedes Benz, It was fun I must admit. It gave me a chance to appreciate the men that keep vehicles running. I also loved under the hood mechanics. I appreciate this article because it was written from experience and love. That is a true technician. Thank you for talking to us. 

  • Eric says:

    We actually have an automotive shop behind our home. It’s one of the warehouses we rent out to mechanics. They have been working with our older son, who showed an interest in working with vehicles. You are right; the hustle is very important; otherwise, the shop is fast-paced, and our son will get left behind. He’s not getting paid, but at least he’s learning, even if he fixes our vehicles, it will save a pile of money.

    • Gabriel G. says:

      Hey Eric! That is awesome that your son has shown interest in the world of automotive 🙂 

      Send him my way if he ever has any questions or needs industry advice, I am always willing to help!

  • Tucker says:

    Hahaha! I absolutely love the photo of realizing when the new guy doesn’t have as much experience as he claimed. My brother runs a mechanic shop down in Texas and, oh boy, the stories he calls home with are simultaneously hilarious and alarming. I feel like some of the folks he’s tried to hire could’ve been infinitely better at their jobs after simply reading your article. Thanks for the great write up! 

    • Gabriel G. says:

      Glad you got a good laugh from that Tucker 🙂

      I have found one of the biggest problems in the industry is just a lack of intro information, so it can be a very sink or swim environment for people who were not prepared. My goal is to help bridge that gap a little bit. 

      Thanks for stopping by, take care!

  • Jeff says:

    For the fact that I love cars a lot, I find this article very interesting. I used to think that I want to be an automotive technician but I was considering it as a hobby, not a profession. reading this write up I learn that it needs a lot of time and dedication as well. I also love the way you put your words that ”Never continue to give time to someone who is unappreciative”, just because you are a new bee doesn’t mean you should condole any kind of harsh working environment. Thank you for such an encouraging article written with so much passion.

    • Gabriel G. says:

      The automotive trade is definitely an acquired craft that takes time and dedication, but I like to use that as motivation for the new guys to want to grow and better themself 🙂 

      You are very welcome, thanks for stopping by 🙂 Feel free to reach out if you ever have any automotive related questions!

  • Alex Chivers says:

    Hi,  Just finished reading.  Nice post i think the content is good and it could help someone looking to become an automotive technician.  It isn’t something I’ve ever really considered but I had a friend who used to buy and sell cars and bikes so I think whether your in a job or not is a very valuable skill to know. This should be helpful to anybody visiting your site.  I looked at your store as well looks like things are coming along nicely for you.

  • Smoochi says:

    Thank you and I do feel enlightened by your article. I would also have to learn a couple of things from you as the website template is beautiful and really clear. this is an awesome article on how to become an automotive technician. I have a few friends who are interested in the career, so I will send them here for some more details!

  • Perryline says:

    HI, thank you for this awesome post.

    some things to consider is that, An automotive technology program should give you a good foundation in auto mechanics, so that you thoroughly understand the principles behind the internal combustion machine, and also other automotive systems such as brakes, some electrical systems, and other systems. thank you so much for this

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