Automotive technicians work on the parts and systems that form the inner workings of cars and trucks. They spend much of their time testing vehicular systems for problems and repairing or replacing the malfunctioning parts. They also communicate regularly with clients, follow inspection checklists and perform routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations and general tune-ups.
Job skills of particular advantage to automotive technicians include manual dexterity to help in the use of precision tools, plus experience with technical equipment to help you use the sophisticated diagnostic tools that are a standard part of nearly every modern garage. Also key is a detail-oriented approach to troubleshooting because identifying problems in such a complex system as a motor vehicle often requires attention to minor, easy-to-miss pieces of the overall puzzle (BLS.gov, 2012). Programs for automotive tech in New York can introduce you to the many moving parts of this career.
Training at automotive technician schools in New York
New York automotive technician schools offer a variety of programs, in multiple areas of the state and at a wide range of costs. Training usually lasts 6 to 12 months, depending on a student's schedule, although some technicians choose to pursue a 2-year associate degree in automotive tech. Programs typically consist of hands-on workshop experience, some classroom instruction and a career preparation element (BLS.gov, 2012).
Auto mechanics work with a broad range of tools and equipment, including hydraulic lifts and pneumatic power tools to speed up the removal of tires. New York auto technician schools can show you how to use tools such as socket wrenches. The number of bolts that hold together the various parts of a car or truck is astronomical, and they exist in a vast array of different sizes and shapes. Students at automotive tech schools in New York could use any number of 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch square drive socket sets, including 3/16-inch to 3/4-inch six-point sockets, 4mm to 24mm shallow and deep well sockets, 3/8-inch Torx sockets and various specialized adapters. Socket wrenches are typically driven with a reversible ratchet, and may employ extensions of up to 10 inches in order to reach bolts that lie deep within the machinery. (Alfred State - SUNY College of Technology, 2013)
Options for graduates of automotive tech schools in New York
After completing studies at automotive technician schools in New York, graduates can seek work with a variety of employers. Nationally, the majority of automotive service technicians and mechanics are employed in these settings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012):
- Automotive repair and maintenance industry
- Automobile dealers
- Parts, accessory and tire stores
- Local government
- Gas stations
The BLS notes that automotive service techs in New York earned a mean annual salary of $39,390 in 2011, which is slightly higher than the 2011 national mean wage for this occupation of $38,560 (BLS.gov, 2012). Of course, salaries can vary depending on training, experience, location and industry.
Approximately 34,430 automobile service technicians and mechanics worked in New York in 2011, and the state ranked No. 4 in the country for employment of these professionals (BLS.gov, 2012). What's more, the greater New York City metropolitan area employed 14,610 auto mechanics in 2011, ranking it second-highest among all metro areas nationwide. Auto techs working in the city earned more than either the statewide or national average, with an annual mean wage of $41,650 in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).
Graduates from the automotive tech schools in New York that offer a specialization in medium/heavy vehicles and diesel technology may have even more options than their counterparts who work on traditional gasoline engines. In 2011, about 11,230 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists worked in New York state, with a mean annual salary of $48,770. Not only is this figure higher than the national, state and city mean salaries for standard gasoline car and truck mechanics, but it also outpaces the national mean wage for bus and truck mechanics and diesel technicians, which was $42,910 in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).
New York auto tech graduates can seek employment at hundreds of small repair and maintenance garages around the state, and big chain stores like Firestone and Midas also hire auto technicians. Large car dealership companies like Chrysler and Volvo typically need auto mechanics to staff their service departments, and public agencies such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey may hire automotive technicians to work on vital infrastructure vehicles (Indeed.com, 2013).