Becoming an auto mechanic isn’t an easy job, and it can take years to learn the necessary skills. You need to be a curious critical thinker and mechanically inclined to succeed in the industry.

You’ll also need to be able to work well with others and stay organized. Most employers expect mechanics to be able to prioritize work and complete tasks on time, so it’s important to be a team player and communicate with coworkers.

Earning a Certificate or Degree: You can pursue an associate degree from a community college, technical school or trade school. These programs offer hands-on learning as well as theoretical classes in automotive repair, diagnostics and maintenance. These courses often include engine parts, electrical systems, transmission systems and computer technology.

Attending a Mechanic Apprenticeship: An internship under the guidance of an experienced certified mechanic is a great way to get your foot in the door. Depending on the type of program you choose, it can last a year or more and provide invaluable experience.

Become ASE-Certified: The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is an organization that evaluates auto mechanics on their knowledge and skills. ASE-certified technicians typically earn higher salaries and have more job security than their uncertified counterparts.

Employers want mechanics who are experienced and skilled, and ASE certification gives them that assurance. ASE-certified auto mechanics have completed a minimum of two years of on-the-job training and passed all eight ASE exams.

Gaining a Career in the Automotive Space: The automotive space is changing rapidly, and it’s vital for auto mechanics to keep up with the latest trends. To do this, you should read up on different makes and models of cars to familiarize yourself with their inner workings.

Continue Your Education and Training: Auto mechanics often receive a variety of training from the manufacturers that make their vehicles. These manufacturer-specific certifications are a good way to further your career, since they teach you how to repair the specific systems in each auto maker’s vehicles.

Find a Mechanic Apprenticeship: You can start your career by finding a local mechanic’s apprenticeship. This is a paid position that provides you with valuable hands-on training under the guidance of an experienced mechanic. It can lead to a full-time position, and it can help you advance your career by gaining on-the-job experience and developing new skills.

Obtain ASE Certification: Once you have your ASE-Certified, you can apply for a Master Technician certification through the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. ASE-certified technicians usually make higher salaries than their uncertified counterparts, and they tend to have more job security and enjoy better working conditions.

Maintain a Safe Work Environment: It’s essential for mechanics to be familiar with safety hazards and the proper procedures for working on vehicles. Having a safe shop environment can help you stand out from the competition, and it’s important to remember that safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Learn the Basics of Automotive Parts and Tools: A key skill for auto mechanics is knowing how to properly and safely install and remove different parts. This can be difficult for novices, so completing a training course or completing an apprenticeship can help you understand the different parts and how they interact with each other.