Service Technician Careers: Job Descriptions & Salary Info

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Learn about a service technician's job duties, salary and training requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a service technician career.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Service Technician

Service technicians typically fix, maintain and inspect equipment. The exact job duties and types of equipment can vary depending on the service technician's industry. Read on for more of the pros and cons of the field to see if service technology can be the right career fit for you.

PROS of Being a Service Technician
Minimal education requirements*
Training can be acquired through an education program or on the job*
Demand for technicians in the automotive industry expected to grow 9% between 2012 and 2022*

CONS of Being a Service Technician
Overtime is normal for this career*
Weekend and evening work hours can be assigned depending on the needs of customers*
Injuries can occur if proper safety measures aren't taken*
Service technicians often have to work in uncomfortable and awkward positions to get to a piece of equipment*

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

Essential Occupational Information

Career Options and Job Descriptions

Service technicians can work in a variety of industries, including maintenance work, construction and automobile services. Your exact work duties can vary by industry, but you'll generally perform maintenance, repairs and equipment inspections. For example, automotive service technicians are typically assigned to work on cars. Diesel service technicians might work on buses and trucks while heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians focus on vehicles used in rail transportation, construction or farming.

Service technicians typically meet with a client and then perform an inspection, which might involve testing the equipment to see if it is working properly and determining which parts aren't working. From there, the service technician explains the issue to the customer and offers a solution.

Salary and Job Growth

Your salary as a service technician can also vary slightly based on your industry. For example, the BLS reported in May 2014 that automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an average salary of approximately $39,980. From 2012 to 2022, the BLS projected 9% growth in employment for automotive service technicians, which is about average employment growth across all occupations.

Vocational Requirements

Training and Education

High schools often have related programs and classes, such as electronics, computers or auto shop. Additionally, vocational schools and community colleges often have appropriate associate degree or certificate programs related to service technician work. Some service technicians acquire their work skills through on-the-job training. This may or may not be a part an educational program. Generally, it takes several years for a service technician to acquire the skills necessary to become fully qualified in their field.

What Do Employers Want?

Employers that are looking for service technicians generally want someone with good customer service skills. You will need the necessary interpersonal communication skills to clearly and effectively communicate a problem to a customer and offer an appropriate solution. An aptitude for mechanical and technical work is also necessary for completing essential duties. You can learn additional requirements employers wanted in service technicians by reading some information below from November 2012 job advertisements.

  • A service technician job in Illinois called for someone with a basic understanding of constriction equipment and strong customer service skills.
  • In California, a service technician opening required 2-3 years of building maintenance experience. Applicants with a technical education or degree were preferred.
  • A New Jersey employer sought a service technician with good mechanical skills and previous automotive experience.
  • In Tennessee, time management and organizational skills as well as the ability to be punctual and dependable were required for a service technician position.

How to Stand Out as a Service Technician

Taking the time to earn a professional certification can help demonstrate that you have additional skills and a commitment to your field. You'll want to find a professional organization that offers certification for your area of expertise. For example, automotive service technicians can acquire certification with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This organization offers different certifications for areas of automotive work, such as engine repair, electronic systems, suspension and steering, engine performance and brakes. Requirements vary, but obtaining certification may require meeting experience requirements and passing an examination.

Other Career Choices

If you would like to work with automobiles and have slightly higher salary potential, you might consider a career in automotive body and glass repair. In this position you would repair, replace or restore the bodies and frames of a vehicle. Repairs can also consist of dent removal or straightening pieces. The BLS reported in 2011 that the average salary for these repairers was around $42,000.

Small engine mechanics is a similar career area that you may want to consider. In this role, you'll repair, service and examine power equipment that is motorized. You'll generally focus in a specific area like motorboats, outdoor power equipment or motorcycles. From 2010 to 2020, the BLS found that small engine mechanic employment growth should increase by about 21%. Outdoor power equipment and other small engine mechanics earned about $31,000 on average.

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