Outlook for Entry-Level Employment
There are decent entry-level prospects and relatively high demand for skilled technicians. Most technicians begin their careers as Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) technicians. Ideally, students should try to find entry-level employment – perhaps as a oil and lube technician – when they begin their training, and not wait until they have completed all of their course work.
Get Ahead by Combining School and Work
Employers will not start someone at higher wage levels just because they have the training; employers want to see the experience and work habits first – and the entry-level experience will show this. By mixing school with work, students are likely to experience wage growth as their skills increase. CRC students do much better at this entry-level work than someone without the training.
Entry-level pay is above the minimum wage and, of course, the wages rise with experience and ASE/smog/AC certifications. A technician with two years of full-time experience currently makes from a low end of $13.16 to $24.37 per hour for the upper 25% of technicians in the valley. The California State Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that the hourly mean wage in 2006 was $19.54. Highly motivated and skilled technicians with five or more years of experience and ASE certifications can earn between $45,000 and $75,000 per year.
Physical and Legal Limitations
Apparently, BAR reviews felony convictions before granting a smog license but immigration status doesn’t seem to be an issue. A valid driver’s license is often required to work as a technician by most employers but is not required for ASE or smog certification. Drug testing is standard for most employers and technicians are expected to be able to do some lifting on the job.
Related Jobs and Advancement
There are six figure positions, such as Parts and Service Director at large dealerships. In addition, dealerships employ service, parts, and body shop managers, service advisors, and warranty advisors. Large companies like Coca Cola, United Parcel Service (UPS), the Calfornia Highway Patrol (CHP) and other governmental agencies all operate motor pools and hire fleet maintenance and management personnel. Additionally, the BAR hires people at multiple levels.
Technicians with experience find work in other mechanical fields such as elevator repair, start their own businesses and provide in-service training.