Auto Mechanic Vs. Auto Technician: What Differentiates the Two Professions

When it comes to an auto technician and an auto mechanic, many often use these terms synonymously. Both professionals require specialized training by opting for the correct online engineering degrees so they can focus on fixing vehicles. However, their day-to-day tasks can vastly differ. In this article, we shall look at what makes the two similar yet different. Keep reading below.

Automotive Mechanic

A mechanic inspects, fixes, and maintains a variety of motor vehicles. They essentially focus on regular maintenance tasks. Some might also use their skills in a particular area or repair aspect, like tires, engines, or braking systems. Most mechanics work at repair garages or car dealerships.

Automotive Technician

An automotive technician diagnoses, fixes, and carries out regular maintenance on an array of motor vehicles. Their main emphasis is often on diagnostic procedures that pinpoint the exact cause of major vehicle issues. Using an array of advanced computer systems and tools, technicians offer insights and plan repair strategies. Most technicians work at car dealerships or repair facilities, while some others can be a part of a racing team’s pit crew.

Auto Mechanic Vs. Auto Technician

Job Duties

Both auto mechanics and technicians often work hand in hand within vehicle repair facilities, focusing on tasks that require vehicle repair or client assistance. Though their roles seem similar, there are several differences in their daily activities.

Automotive Mechanic

  • Carries out basic maintenance/repairs
  • Conducts necessary inspections/tests based on vehicle type and mileage
  • Drafts precise maintenance suggestions and cost estimates
  • Clarifies proposed maintenance to clients
  • Documents detailed history of vehicle maintenance and repairs
  • Ensures tools and equipment are in optimal condition
  • Change engine oil, rotate tires, tire replacements, tire alignments, fluid inspection/replenishment, engine tuning and checking brake systems

Automotive Technicians

They undertake the above tasks, including additional duties like:

  • Decipher diagnostic codes from vehicles
  • Design repair plans for mechanics
  • Utilize specialized computer systems or tools for problem diagnosis
  • Identify the sources of vehicular failures/glitches


Auto mechanics and auto technicians often work in overlapping roles. However, their job titles can differ based on expertise, specializations, certifications, and specific tasks they handle. Designations mostly differ in each work environment but some common ones include the following:

  • Automotive air conditioning specialist
  • Diagnostic expert
  • Front-end specialist
  • General service technician
  • Vehicle assessment professional
  • Transmission expert
  • Auto body repair expert
  • Brake specialist
  • Automotive refinishing specialist


In the United States, the annual average wage for an automotive mechanic stands at $48,576, while an automotive technician makes $57,620 on average yearly. The salary can vary for each professional based on their professional experience, educational background/training, proficiency/certifications, reputation, responsibilities, and regional factors. Furthermore, many employers also offer added perks like paid leave and health coverage to their employees.

Professional Setting

The professional setting for both auto mechanics and technicians often overlaps. Typically, they are stationed in repair centers like car dealerships or standalone garages. Every workshop is unique but they may have some common features. These include:

  • A 40-hour workweek
  • Possible overtime
  • Requests to strictly adhere to safety rules
  • Continuous standing on hard surfaces like concrete in a noisy garage atmosphere
  • Teamwork and close interaction with fellow mechanics/technicians
  • Handling sophisticated tools like automobile lifts and power tools
  • Engaging in monotonous tasks
  • Racing against time to meet set deadlines
  • Discussing repair and maintenance details with customers

How to Pursue a Career as an Auto Technician or Auto Mechanic

The education, training, and certification paths for technicians and mechanics are very similar. To enter into either profession, a high school diploma or equivalent is required by most employers. Specialized training can further help set you apart. Let us look at how you can pursue a career as an automotive technician or mechanic below:

Obtain a High School Diploma

Holding a high school diploma or its equivalent is essential for training in the automotive sector. During your high school years, focus on any car repair classes that you can find. You can also participate in trade school initiatives or chances to intern at vehicle repair shops to acquire basic knowledge.

Consider Specializing

Sign up for a post-secondary or technical education course. To fully equip yourself for a career in the automotive sector, it is a good idea to join a community college or a technical school program. These platforms provide an excellent opportunity to specialize and deepen your understanding. If you wish to opt for an associate degree, it may be smart to major in automotive technology.

Look for Internship Opportunities

Gaining hands-on experience through apprenticeship allows you to practice what you learned while studying. By working alongside seasoned mechanics and technicians, you can further your expertise and expand your hiring opportunities.

Acquire an ASE Certification

The Automotive Service Excellence or ASE certification is a recognized benchmark in the automotive field. This certification validates your proficiency as a mechanic. Securing an ASE certification proves your mastery to prospective employers and clients, especially those who consider it an important prerequisite for employment.

Benefit From Job Training Opportunities

After securing a position as a mechanic or technician, try to obtain added opportunities to enhance your skill set and explore new areas. Demonstrating such eagerness to your employer can indicate your commitment to career advancement and may boost your potential for a salary increase. You may also end up being promoted to a managerial-level post.

Required Skills

  1. Technical proficiency: The foundational skill for any mechanic or technician is a thorough understanding of automotive systems and repair know-how.
  2. Attention to detail: Cars have complex systems and small mistakes can lead to significant issues. A good mechanic does not overlook minor details.
  3. Diagnostic skills: The ability to quickly and accurately identify problems is crucial. This often involves interpreting symptoms described by the car owner and using diagnostic tools.
  4. Problem-solving capabilities: Once a problem is identified, a mechanic needs to figure out the best way to fix it within the set time and cost limits.
  5. Strong communication: Mechanics must explain complex technical issues in simple terms to customers so they can understand the nature of the problem.
  6. Manual dexterity: Working on vehicles requires good hand-eye coordination and the ability to use tools efficiently.
  7. Continuous learning: The automotive industry is always evolving with new technologies. A good mechanic stays updated with the latest advancements and techniques.
  8. Physical stamina: The job can be physically demanding, requiring mechanics to be on their feet for long hours. They may also be required to lift heavy objects and work in uncomfortable positions.


Regardless of the title, the importance of possessing a mix of technical and interpersonal skills for both professions is crucial. With the right qualities and dedication, these professionals remain the unsung heroes that keep our vehicles in tip-top shape.