Motor Vehicle Mechanics (NOC 732)

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					Motor Vehicle Mechanics (NOC 732)

Nature of the Work

Motor vehicle mechanics and technicians diagnose,
repair and service mechanical, electrical and
electronic systems and components of cars, buses
and trucks. Motor vehicle body repairers repair and
restore damaged motor vehicle body parts and
interior finishing.

These workers are employed by motor vehicle
dealers, garages and service stations, as well as by
automotive specialty shops and retail
establishments that have automotive service shops.
They may also be self-employed. Apprentices are
included in this very large occupational group.




Main Duties

Motor vehicle and body mechanics perform different types of repairs, but share some common duties. They
examine vehicles to find out what needs to be fixed and to estimate repair costs. For mechanical
components, this often involves the use of computerized diagnostic equipment. They repair damage or
perform preventive maintenance, inspect the completed work and test that the vehicle's performance meets
required standards. They also must be able to communicate with customers about what has been done and
why, and advise customers on general vehicle conditions and future repair requirements.

Mechanics work on mechanical and electronic components of automobiles. This includes most vehicle
systems, such as fuel, brake, steering and suspension systems, transmission, differentials, drive axles and
shafts, emission control and exhaust systems, engines, and electrical, cooling and climate control systems.
Some mechanics specialize in one or more of these systems. They also perform scheduled maintenance
service, such as oil changes, lubrications and tune-ups. They use hand tools and specialized automotive
repair equipment.

Body repairers work on the vehicle's outside structure. They repair and replace doors, front-end body and
underbody components. They hammer out dents, buckles and other defects, and remove damaged fenders,
panels and grills. They also straighten bent frames, file, grind and sand repaired body surfaces and repaint
surfaces, and repair or replace interior components, such as seat frame assembly, carpets and floor board
insulation. They make use of hand tools as well as a range of specialty tools, such as cutting torches,
soldering equipment, blocks, hammers and spray guns.




Example Titles

mechanics (7321):

        apprentice automotive electrical and tune-up service technician
        apprentice automotive electrical technician
        automotive mechanic
        apprentice automotive service technician
        automotive service technician
        apprentice wheel alignment and brake service technician
        bus mechanic
        car mechanic
        motor vehicle mechanic
        apprentice automatic transmission service technician
        apprentice standard transmission repairer
        transmission mechanic
        apprentice trailer mechanic
        commercial transport vehicle mechanic
        truck mechanic
        tune-up specialist, motor vehicle

body repairers (7322):

        automotive collision repair technician
        autobody mechanic
        automotive body technician
        autobody repairer
        body repairer, motor vehicle
        motor vehicle body technician
        apprentice automotive painting and refinishing technician
        apprentice automotive refinishing prep technician
        painter, motor vehicle repair




Education & Training

To work as an automotive service technician, automotive collision repair technician (motor vehicle body
repairer) or automotive painting and refinishing technician in B.C., it is compulsory to be certified in the trade
or to be registered in a four-year apprenticeship (automotive service technicians, automotive collision repair
technicians) or a two-year apprenticeship (automotive painting and refinishing technicians) that will lead to
certification.

While it is not necessary to complete an apprenticeship to work as a commercial transport vehicle mechanic,
a four-year apprenticeship is available. To work as an automatic transmission service technician, automotive
electrical technician, commercial trailer mechanic or automotive electrical and tune-up technician, a three-
year apprenticeship is generally completed.

Recommended education before starting an apprenticeship is grade 12 or equivalent, with appropriate
English, Math and Science courses.

Most apprenticeships include some amount of in-school technical training, which is available at most
colleges, technical institutes or training schools in B.C. Completion of an accredited entry-level program is
strongly recommended before beginning an apprenticeship in commercial transport vehicle mechanics.

Upon completion of an apprenticeship, automotive service technicians, automotive painting and refinishing
technicians and automotive collision repair technicians must pass an interprovincial standards examination
to receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification with an interprovincial Red Seal
endorsement. All others in this category receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship upon completion of the
apprenticeship.

For people who have worked for a long time as commercial transport vehicle mechanics but have never
completed an apprenticeship, a Certificate of Qualification is available. The certificate is awarded following
submission of evidence of six years full-time experience in the trade and successful completion of an exam.
Current details regarding apprenticeship training can be found at
http://www.learnandearn.bc.ca/learnandearn.htm.

To work as an automotive service technician, automotive collision repair technician (motor vehicle body
repairer) or automotive painting and refinishing technician in B.C., it is compulsory to be certified in the trade
or to be registered in a four-year apprenticeship (automotive service technicians, automotive collision repair
technicians) or a two-year apprenticeship (automotive painting and refinishing technicians) that will lead to
certification.

While it is not necessary to complete an apprenticeship to work as a commercial transport vehicle mechanic,
a four-year apprenticeship is available. To work as an automatic transmission service technician, automotive
electrical technician, commercial trailer mechanic or automotive electrical and tune-up technician, a three-
year apprenticeship is generally completed.

Recommended education before starting an apprenticeship is grade 12 or equivalent, with appropriate
English, Math and Science courses.

Most apprenticeships include some amount of in-school technical training, which is available at most
colleges, technical institutes or training schools in B.C. Completion of an accredited entry-level program is
strongly recommended before beginning an apprenticeship in commercial transport vehicle mechanics.

Upon completion of an apprenticeship, automotive service technicians, automotive painting and refinishing
technicians and automotive collision repair technicians must pass an interprovincial standards examination
to receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification with an interprovincial Red Seal
endorsement. All others in this category receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship upon completion of the
apprenticeship.

For people who have worked for a long time as commercial transport vehicle mechanics but have never
completed an apprenticeship, a Certificate of Qualification is available. The certificate is awarded following
submission of evidence of six years full-time experience in the trade and successful completion of an exam.

Current details regarding apprenticeship training can be found at
http://www.learnandearn.bc.ca/learnandearn.htm.

Entry-level training programs in Automotive Mechanics and Auto Body Repair/Refinishing are available at
the British Columbia Institute of Technology and several colleges and university colleges in the province.
Completion of an entry-level program may give students some credits towards the technical training part of
an apprenticeship. For complete program information refer to Opening Doors
(http://www.openingdoorsbc.com) and perform a Program Search using the subject heading "Auto
Mechanics" or "Auto Body Repair Related."

As well, there are programs available for those who do not intend to pursue apprenticeship training. As
computer systems become more common in automobiles, the demand for people trained in electronic or
computer based repair will increase as will their earning potential. In addition to the many automobile
mechanics programs with courses in electrical systems offered in the province, BCIT offers an Automotive
Electronics Technician Certificate. This program is also detailed under the Subject heading "Auto
Mechanics" in Opening Doors.

Some of the skills required for these workers include physical fitness and strength, manual dexterity and
mechanical aptitude. Skills in diagnostics and damage evaluation as well as customer relations are
important. An interest in computer and electrical work is helpful. To remain competitive, all these workers
require continual upgrading of skills in order to respond to changes in technology.




Working Conditions
Some automotive repairers work for large car dealerships or repair shops, while many work in smaller
garages or as independents. Working hours are during the day, though overtime or evening work may be
expected.

Working conditions can vary. Some shops are large, bright and well-ventilated, while other shops can be
less well equipped. Some garages may be cold and drafty. All workers will probably be exposed to noise,
vibration, fumes and vehicle emissions, and the work is often dirty. It usually requires good manual dexterity,
good observation abilities and a degree of strength. Some shops may require workers to supply their own
hand tools.

Much of the work involves electronic equipment and auto systems. According to industry sources, the move
to electronic fuel injection has led to more computerized equipment and systems on automobiles. The
computerization of this occupation has significantly changed the appearance of some shops and garages as
some of these new diagnostic tools replace older equipment. Industry sources suggest that workers in this
occupational group will require an aptitude for electronics and/or computers as well as a mechanical
aptitude.

Workers in these occupations have close to average earnings, according to 1995 salary figures. The
average annual income of this group in 1995 was $29,700, compared to the all-occupation average of
$27,900. Workers employed full time for the full year earned $35,400, compared to the provincial average of
$39,400. Mechanics have slightly higher average wages than do body repairers. Experienced, well-skilled
workers in this group can expect to earn wages above the occupational average.

Hourly wages for workers in this group may range from $16 to $20 in non-union shops to $20 to $25 in union
positions.

A recent survey of graduates who found work in these occupations indicated that entry-level body repairers
earned on average $2,190 per month (full time) and entry-level mechanics earned $2,290 per month (full
time). That means that these new workers could earn between $26,300 and $27,500 for full-time, full-year
work. Apprentices earn a percentage of the journeyperson's wages, depending on how long they've been
working, and their salaries are included in these averages. In some shops workers are paid according to the
"book rate" of the task, which sets a recommended or average amount of time required to do a specific
repair.

According to industry sources, experienced, skilled workers can expect to earn in the range of $36,000 to
more than $100,000 for a full-time, full-year position. It should be noted that the very high annual earnings
suggested by industry sources probably include self-employed workers who may own their own shop and
employ others in this trade.

This is a very large occupational group. In 1998 there were 20,850 people in this occupation in B.C., up from
17,990 in 1990. Motor vehicle mechanics make up 77% of this group, and body repairers represent 23% of
the group. Self-employment among these workers is just above the provincial average (15%), with about
17% of mechanics working for themselves and 19% of the body repairers being self-employed. Self-
employment rates differ to some extent by region. Workers outside major metropolitan areas are more likely
to be self-employed.

There is not much part-time work in this occupational group, with only about 10% of this group working part
time. The all-occupation rate for part-time employment in B.C. is 27%. Of the others in this group, 63% work
full time, for the full year, and 26% work full time for part of the year. The unemployment rate for this group is
slightly lower than the provincial average rate.

The demand for work may vary slightly with the seasons. Generally, bad weather means more work,
especially for body repairers.

Auto repairers are employed mainly in a few industries. The most significant industry for employment of this
group is retail trade (for example, repair shops, car dealers and parts stores), which employs about 77% of
these workers. The second largest employer is the wholesale trade industry, employing 7% of the workers.
Other workers are employed in small numbers across a range of industries. These workers may find
employment in maintaining fleets, such as transit or delivery vehicles.
Workers in this occupational group in B.C. are somewhat less likely than average to live in the province's
biggest cities. The Lower Mainland has about 54%, and 6% work in Victoria, slightly lower proportions than
the workforce distribution of 57% and 9% for these areas. Of the other workers, 9% are in regions of
Vancouver Island other than Victoria, 19% live in the Okanagan/Kootenay region, and 12% are in Northern
B.C.

Within this group, less than 2% of jobs are held by women. In addition, women who do work in this field have
lower wages. The average salary of women who work full time, full year in this occupational group is only
$28,700 per year, whereas the full-time, full-year salary for men in this group is $35,400. Women are also
more likely to work part time or part year, and they are two to three times more likely to be unemployed.
They also are on average a little younger than their co-workers who are men, with 22% of these women in
the 15 to 24 age group. As well, they have less formal education. These are all factors that partly might
explain the wage and employment gap.

Compared to other occupations, auto repairers are slightly younger. In this group, 31% of workers are in the
25 to 34 age group, compared to 25% of the workforce overall. The average age of these workers is 37,
although women auto repairers are 34 on average.




Employment Prospects

This is a very large occupational group, made up of about 20,850 workers in B.C. in 1998. The Canadian
Occupational Projection System (COPS) projects employment in this group to grow at an annual rate of
1.7%, about as fast as the average for all occupations. According to this projection, 7,230 positions will
become available from 1998 to 2008. Over half of these openings are projected to come from growth in the
number of new positions, and the remainder will come from the need to replace workers who retire.

A little more than three-quarters of the workers in this occupational group are motor vehicle mechanics, and
the remainder are auto body repairers. Employment in both of these occupations is projected to grow at the
same rate (1.7% annually), about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, because of the
differences in the size of these two occupations, 5,540 openings are projected for mechanics, and only
1,690 openings are projected to become available for auto body repairers.

Wherever there are vehicles on the road, there is a demand for the services of mechanics and auto body
repairers. Employment growth of these workers is closely related to the growing number of vehicles in B.C
each year. Population growth from immigration, and tourism from the U.S. and other provinces each year,
contribute to the growing number of vehicles on B.C.'s roads. Other factors are acting to limit employment
growth. Advances in technology are increasing the complexity and reliability of newer vehicles. This is
expected to continue to increase the skill requirements of mechanics and reduce the average number of
repairs on each vehicle. Diagnosing mechanical problems is increasingly being done by electronic-based
equipment rather than by relying on the services of mechanics. Advances in technology are also enabling
automobile bodies to be repaired by fewer workers. The net effect of all these factors is an expectation for
average employment growth in these two occupations.

Industry sources agree that advances in technology are increasing the skill requirements of mechanics.
They indicate that this has resulted in a shortage of qualified workers, particularly for workers with
specialized training in onboard computers and electronics. Workers who have the aptitude and willingness to
learn electrical, electronic or computer based repairs are in high demand.

Advancement to service manager or shop foreperson is possible with experience. Another possible career
path for these workers is to set up an independent business. However, start up costs are becoming quite
high because of the increasing use of specialized computerized equipment necessary for the job. Because
these workers are needed wherever there are cars on roads, there are opportunities for employment and
self-employment almost everywhere in the province. With additional training, it is also possible for
mechanics to transfer their skills to related occupations, such as a heavy duty mechanic.
Additional Information

Industry Training
http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/industrytraining/

Automobile Service Association
http://www.asashop.org/




Related Occupations

         motor vehicle assemblers, inspectors and testers (in 948 mechanical assemblers)
         automotive and mechanical installers and servicers (in 744 other installers and repairers)
         heavy duty equipment mechanics (in 731 machinery and transportation equipment mechanics)
         supervisor of motor vehicle repairers (in 721 contractors and supervisors, trades)



B.C. Employment Trends and Projected Demand
* Data Definitions

  Number Employed                                      1990                      1998               2008
                                                    17,990                  20,850              24,670

  Estimated Openings                            Growth (Net)                 Attrition              Total
  1998-2008                                          3,820                    3,410               7,230

  Annual Growth                                                      This occupation      All occupations
  1998-2008                                                                      1.7%             1.6%




Employment by Region

                                                               This occupation            All occupations
    Lower Mainland                                                      54%                        57%
    Vancouver Island                                                    15%                        18%
    Northern B.C.                                                       12%                        10%
    Okanagan/Kootenay                                                   19%                        15%

				
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