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What is the difference between a Mechanic and an Automotive Technician?

A mechanic is seen as someone who would approach the vehicle, as a mechanical object. Automotive Mechanics take everything apart and try to look for the signs of the problem, usually replacing a part to see if it fixes it.  

Auto technicians are seen as  doctors for cars and trucks, Automotive technicians  listen to the symptoms,  use computers and technology to perform a diagnosis on a vehicle. Kind of like EKG’s and MRI’s to the body but for cars. They use high-level equipment to extract live data, and identify issue areas accurately and replace only the parts that are broken. There are different skill and experience levels of technicians.

Another key difference between mechanics and automotive technicians is how they acquired their education and experience. A mechanic usually works from their personal garage, and could work at a shop as an apprentice to gain experience in the mechanics of a machine. Look at the machine, take it apart and put it back together. Can safely repair and service vehicles from years 2000 and below due to the types of vehicle being more mechanical. Technicians, on the other hand, usually  attend college (not a must but does help) and acquire certifications from Automotive Technology Programs at  a Tech Trade School. Through these programs all the tools for the trade such as electrical systems,  auto repair computer systems, professional codes of conduct, types of equipment for testing that  are used  by potential employers at a vehicle repair shop are taught as well as  the problem-solving skills and training required to excel at the job. These  are curriculums  as part of this type of course in a school environment and through apprenticeship programs available at dealerships and independent shops. Most shops participate and  test their teams skills and knowledge  through Certification programs like  ASE (Automotive Services of Excellence) These certifications usually are  required by dealership and independent  repair and service teams. 

Today, even working on something as simple as changing a battery, replacing brakes or checking air conditioning, require certifications from programs and special equipment  to prevent damage to the vehicle computer systems or the environment, mechanics could cause more damage than good.  The next generation of cars is going to need a technician to keep the vehicle safe and reliable. An automotive  technician would work on vehicle years  2000 and newer due to the evolution of vehicle fuel systems and electronics.

Different levels of experiences and what they do 

Levels of a Technician

Lube/apprentice –Just starting to get hands on, fluid services, tires installs, rotations,  always observed by A technician or shop foreman

Mechanic or C tech – can remove and replace parts service vehicles, can work on the older more mechanical vehicles under the year 2000.

B technician- can diagnose, has an understanding of the mechanics of a vehicle’s systems and electrical system to problem solve computer systems but still does need help at times, may not be as fast but is more accurate.  

A technician- experienced, Accurately diagnoses and repairs, leader to others

Wages for a D and C level  mechanic are $10-$30 less hourly than an automotive technician.  Automotive Technicians levels B and A currently are making $40,000 -$150,000 a year depending on their experience and accuracy. 

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