Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers (NOC 7321)

Minimum education: College or apprenticeship

  • Average salary
    58.3%
  • Occupation size
    93.0%
  • Job stability
    33.0%
  • Demand growth
    17.0%
  • Below Average
  • Excellent

Profile last updated: December 3, 2015

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01 Overview

Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers inspect, diagnose, repair and service mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of cars, buses and light and commercial transport trucks. This occupational group also includes mechanical repairers, who dos major repairs and replacements of mechanical units on newly assembled motor vehicles

People in this occupation:

  • work for motor vehicle dealers, garages, truck and trailer dealerships, fleet maintenance companies, service stations, automotive specialty shops, transportation companies and retail establishments that have automotive service shops
  • work for motor vehicle manufacturing companies
  • must have a good understanding of mechanical systems, engines and electronic equipment
  • need to be able to troubleshoot and solve problems
  • must be able to work independently or as part of a team
  • need customer service and communication skills

02 Earnings

Provincial median salary

$58,397

Source: Estimated median employment income based on 2015 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • $16.00/hr
    Low
  • $28.00/hr
    Median
  • $38.00/hr
    High

03 Duties

Workers in this occupational group may specialize in the following areas:

  • transmission systems, engine and fuel systems
  • air conditioning, cooling and heating systems,
  • steering, alignment, brakes, drive lines and suspension
  • electrical and electronic systems
  • truck-trailer repair or diagnostic services.

04 Work environment

Automotive service technicians, truck mechanics and mechanical repairers typically work a regular 35- to 40-hour workweek. Some workers may be required to be on call for emergency repairs as some service shops offer evening and weekend services.

Workers in this occupational group generally work in automotive repair shops or garages. Those employed in small shops tend to have a wider variety of duties than those in larger shops.

Most work environments are well-ventilated and well-lit, although some shops may be drafty and noisy. This type of work can be dirty and is often carried out in cramped spaces, with considerable bending, kneeling and lifting.

05 Workforce and employment statistics

Workforce characteristics

15,800 workers are employed
63 % of workers are working mostly full time

Employment by gender

Labour force by age group

Source: 2011 National Household Survey

06 Job requirements

Education, training and qualifications

Completion of secondary school is generally required to work as an automotive service technician or truck and transport mechanic. While certification is not mandatory in British Columbia, it will likely increase employment opportunities. To be eligible for certification by the Industry Training Authority:

  • workers must complete a three to four-year apprenticeship program (or a combination of several years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses)
  • workers must find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program

These workers typically receive two to three years of on-the-job training from employers. Apprenticeships for automotive service technicians and truck and transport mechanics may begin in secondary school, through entry-level training (Foundation) programs at colleges and technical institutes, or through direct entry to the workplace.

Most automotive service technicians and truck and transport mechanics are eligible for Interprovincial Standard Endorsement (Red Seal) qualification through the Industry Training Authority, which allows holders to work in any province or territory.

Once workers pass the final examination of their accredited training program, they will achieve certification and will automatically receive Red Seal qualification. For more detailed information, contact the provincial regulator. A list of provincial regulators can be found at www.tilma.ca/pdf/BCRegulatoryAuthorities.pdf

Workers with several years of documented, directly related work experience can challenge the Interprovincial Red Seal examination. For more information, please see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.

For program information on public post-secondary education in B.C., please see the Education Planner website at www.educationplanner.ca.

07 Subject Areas & Training Resources

Education Planner

www.educationplanner.ca

Trades/Apprenticeship Resources

Industry Training Authority

www.itabc.ca

Trades Training BC

www.tradestrainingbc.ca

ACE-IT

www.itabc.ca/youth/programs#ace-it

Discover Skills BC

www.discoverskillsbc.ca

08 Career paths

Automotive service technicians and truck mechanics often begin their careers as entry-level employees, such as shop hands.

With additional training, movement is possible between automotive service technicians and truck mechanics. Experienced workers may progress to supervisory positions or start their own businesses.

Mechanical repairers may move into motor vehicle mechanic positions by completing an apprenticeship program, or with experience, they may progress to supervisory positions in motor vehicle manufacturing.

09Employment outlook

Provincial and Regional Outlook data used for this occupation is based on its occupation group: Automotive service technicians (NOC 732)

N/A - Data not available or not provided due to data quality issues

Provincial Outlook:

Unemployment rate

  • 7.4%
    2014
  • 7.5%
    2019
  • 6.5%
    2024

Competitiveness of job market

Ratio of number of unemployed people to the number of total job openings.

  • 9:1
    2014
  • 3:1
    2019
  • 3:1
    2024

10 Insights from industry

Due to the large size of this occupational group, many job opportunities will arise from worker turnover. As well, more than three-quarters of future job openings will come from retirements.

Low interest rates, dealer incentives and population growth previously resulted in strong motor vehicle sales, which resulted in more cars that require servicing. After-warranty specialty shops that provide fast, low-cost maintenance for such items as oil changes, brakes and mufflers represent a particular growth area.

Technological advancements in motor vehicles and other equipment are making it increasingly important for mechanics and technicians to keep up with current systems and repair procedures. Technological developments, such as engine analyzers, are making mechanics more productive and reducing the number of workers required to do the same volume of work, which may limit employment growth in this group. Motor vehicle workers with specialized, up-to-date technological knowledge will be in greatest demand.

11 In their own words

My Career Path

1.  How did you get started in this job?

When I was 13 years old, I knew I wanted to be a mechanic like my dad. The day after I finished high school, I started my apprenticeship.

2.  If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

No. It's a good job, although not as easy as it used to be. It makes you feel good when you fix something.

3.  What would you say to someone starting out in this career today?

People nowadays perceive their vehicles as an investment and they are anxious when their car is not available. You need good communication skills to deal with that pressure. Also, cars and trucks are a lot more complicated than they used to be. The work can also be pretty hard on your body and you need to be able to handle that.

4.  Where do you see yourself going with this job in the future?

I'll keep going until I can't keep going. I take courses to keep up with the changes, but it's getting so vehicles can't be fixed and people end up buying something new.

5.  What are some of the main forces of change in the industry right now? How will those affect you?

The biggest change in this industry is the high level of technology in engines and components. It's expensive to keep up with the courses, but we do it so we can troubleshoot like the rest of them. We can then see a higher volume of cars and trucks, although for a few years we might not see any of these high-tech vehicles in our small, rural shop.

A typical workday

8:30 am I might see up to 20 vehicles in a day. Some are scheduled ahead of time and some are drop-ins. I get started right away on a brake job. I replace the pads and notice that the seals are leaking. Afterwards, I write it up for the desk so the customer can pay as soon as he picks the truck up.
11:00 am The next truck has a seized calliper and broken flex hose. While I fix those, a customer drops by to ask about her front door that won't open. I take a look and notice a small screw has come loose and is jamming the mechanism. This is a quick job.
2:00 pm I diagnose an engine problem and call the customer to give him a quote. I let him know that I can't fix it for two days, until the part arrives. That's the way it goes sometimes.
5:00 pm Looks like I may be here a couple more hours with a job that's just not working out. My schedule is running a bit behind so I'll work late to try to catch up. Even though I write up the work for the front desk, a lot of the customers want to talk with me directly. That's why I'm running late today.

12 Additional resources