Becoming a Ford Mechanic: Salary Information & Job Description

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Get the truth about a Ford mechanic's salary, education/training requirements and career prospects. Read the job description and see the pros and cons of becoming a Ford mechanic.
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Pros and Cons of a Ford Mechanic Career

A Ford mechanic is most typically classified as an individual that has completed Ford's Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET) program. Reading the pros and cons of being a Ford mechanic can help you decide if this career is right for you.

Pros of Being a Ford Mechanic
Associate degree is sufficient for certification and industry recognition*
Educational program may be sponsored by a dealership*
Variety in daily activities (testing parts, repair, maintenance, assembly and diagnosing problems)*
Opportunities to specialize (brakes, air-conditioning or transmission)*

Cons of Being a Ford Mechanic
Lower-than-average salary (median annual income of $37,120 as of May 2014)*
May require working evenings and weekends*
May require you to purchase your own tools*
Higher-than-average rate of injury and illness among automotive service technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Ford mechanics are automotive service technicians who service, repair and maintain Ford cars and trucks, although they may also work on other vehicle makes and models. While some of their duties are routine, such as oil changes, tune-ups and tire rotations, other duties may include overhauling engines, disassembling and reassembling parts or replacing accident-avoidance sensors. You may also work on specific parts of a car, such as the front-end, the transmission or the brakes. As a Ford mechanic, your job may include handling dirty, greasy parts, as well as heavy lifting or bending in awkward positions. Ford mechanics must possess good communication skills so they can explain the problems to customers in terms the customers can understand.

Job Growth and Salary

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive service technicians were predicted to see an employment growth of 5% from 2014-2024. The increase in the number of vehicles on the road today contributes to the job growth. Additionally, owners are attempting to make their cars last longer, which also keeps qualified mechanics in demand. Automotive service technicians who have postsecondary training and certifications will typically see the best job opportunities, stated the BLS. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that automotive service technicians earned median annual salaries of around $37,000. Experienced technicians or those working for dealerships often earn commissions in addition to their wages, thus increasing their earning potentials.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to complete ASSET training, you must complete an appropriate associate degree program that includes classroom studies and internships, which offer hands-on practice. These programs are offered through partnerships between colleges and Ford dealerships. Candidates find a Ford dealership willing to sponsor them and provide paid, supervised training as they complete automotive training programs in a postsecondary setting. These programs last two years, qualify you for Ford's Service Technician Specialty Training (STST) certification and include a variety of coursework in subjects like suspension, engines, brake systems, heating, electrical systems and transmissions. Additionally, mechanics are typically expected to have skills in mechanics, troubleshooting, customer-service and dexterity.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers looking for Ford technicians are typically looking for candidates who hold Ford certification, like the STST credential, or who have completed an ASSET program. Relevant certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and work experience is also typically preferred. Below are some job postings for Ford mechanics open during April 2012.

  • An Illinois car dealership is seeking a Ford certified technician and a Ford master technician to join a booming service center. Applicants must have Ford and ASE certifications. In addition to great benefits and wage potentials, we also provide our workers with professional training.
  • A Ford dealership is looking for an experienced transmission specialist to join their Baltimore team of professionals. Applicants should have at least three years experience working as an automotive mechanic or transmission specialist and at least three ASE certifications. A strong knowledge of shop equipment, such as alignment systems, wheel and tire equipment, AC equipment and diagnostic equipment is important for this position.
  • A Chicago car dealership is seeking a Ford automotive technician who is experienced in the latest in automotive technology. Job duties include diagnosing and repairing transmissions, engines, air conditioning systems, suspension, steering and brake systems. In addition to providing customers with time and labor estimates, technicians explain the process to customers in a language they can understand. Inspecting and testing new vehicles and documenting their findings is also required. Applicants must have a working knowledge of shop equipment, a valid driver's license and a Ford technician certification.

How to Beat the Competition

Certification and Licensure

The ASE offers certification in eight specialties for automotive technicians. To qualify, you must have completed at least an educational program and one year of experience or no education and two years of work experience. The eight specialties include areas like suspension, engine performance, transmission and heating, and earning all eight certifications grants you the title of Master Automobile Technician.

In order to work with refrigerants, you will need to be licensed with the Environmental Protection Agency. By earning this licensure, you could broaden your professional skills and qualify for jobs that deal specifically with refrigerants.

Other Careers to Consider

General Maintenance and Repair Worker

If you consider yourself a problem-solver who enjoys fixing things, you may enjoy a career as a general maintenance and repair worker. This career may offer you more variety than an automotive technician position. You may find yourself performing electrical, plumbing, painting, roofing or various other types of work.

Maintenance and repair workers only need a high school diploma for most positions, although technical and vocational colleges can offer courses that may be useful in learning concepts like electricity, mathematics, blueprint reading or plumbing. Obtaining certifications can also improve your job potential. According to the BLS, these workers can expect an employment growth of 11% between 2010 and 2020. As of May 2011, general maintenance and repair workers earned a median annual salary of $35,000.

Outdoor Power Equipment and Other Small Engine Mechanics

Your ability and interest in fixing things could make a career as an outdoor power equipment and small engine mechanic a good career choice. The BLS reported these workers earned median annual wages of around $30,000 as of May 2011. Although the wages are less than what a Ford mechanic may earn, this career may offer you more variety in what you're repairing.

The BLS also predicted that small engine mechanics would experience a 21% job growth between 2010 and 2020 - slightly higher than the prediction for automotive service technicians. While you can become part of this career through on-the-job training, many outdoor power equipment and small engine mechanics complete formal training. Some of the things you may work on include lawnmowers, 3-wheelers, marine equipment and motorcycles.

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