Automobiles are everywhere, making a career as an automotive service technician and mechanic extremely portable. Whenever you relocate, you should be able to find employment or possibly even open your own business to help other military spouses service their automobiles during deployments.
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum education requirement to start working as an automotive service technician and mechanic, but many employers are starting to require a formal training program from an accredited postsecondary institution, followed by industry certification. The training programs for specialty certifications can vary in length, time and cost. Some of the more common certifications you can expect to obtain during your career are:
- Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification
- Alternate Fuels Certification
- Automobile and Light Truck Certification
- Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification
- Collision Repair and Refinish Certification
- Damage Analysis and Estimating Certification
- Engine Machinist Certification
- Truck Equipment Certification
- Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems Certification
You can visit College Scorecard and search by program/degree, location, size and more to find a program near you. To find ways to assist you in paying for your training courses, you can visit the Scholarship Finder to search for tuition assistance and visit the Department of Defense Voluntary Education and Military Tuition Assistance program, which can help you prepare for your training both strategically and financially.
Specialty fields and similar employment
Having a specialty field can make you more marketable and potentially makes it easier to find employment. Some specialty fields that you may want to consider include the following:
- Automotive air-conditioning repair
- Brake repair
- Front-end mechanics
- Transmission technicians and rebuilders
- Drivability technicians
It may not always be easy to find a job in your specific occupation, so you may want to consider similar types of employment in the automotive industry. Many of these occupations require the same skills and knowledge and have very similar work environments. A few of these occupations include the following:
- Diesel service technicians and mechanics
- Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians
- Small engine mechanics
- Automotive body and glass repairers
Professional organizations and networking
If you are looking for ways to gain experience as an automotive technician and mechanic, consider volunteering to help other spouses work on their automobiles. These volunteer jobs often lead to paid positions, can be listed on your resume and may provide you with valuable experience and potential references for jobs you seek in the future. You can visit the Networking section on MySECO for other tips on connecting with local automotive chain stores and automotive service companies.
Consider joining a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies surrounding automotive service technician and mechanic occupations. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview at your new location. They may give you more information about the field and suggest other networking contacts, which could lead to job openings. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
Whether you are just starting your career or searching for a new job after relocation, you can search the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search using the keyword “automotive” to find available positions with MSEP partners. You may find positions with MSEP companies, including:
You can also search your local state and national job bank. Completing an apprenticeship is another popular option for spouses looking to gain the necessary skills to be successful in the occupation. You can find an apprenticeship in your location by visiting O*Net Online.
To explore additional information related to starting your career as an automotive service technician and mechanic, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keyword “Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics” to learn more about the occupational overview for your specialty field.
If you need additional information on obtaining the proper license or certification as part of your specialty field, visit the Advantages of Licensure article in the Licensures and Certifications section of the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO. Visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires. Learn more.
You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. For additional guidance, use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.