Automotive electrical problems can be a major source of frustration when they leave you stranded on the side of the highway! As auto technology has continued to improve, more electrical and computerized components have been incorporated into the automobile design and production process. This means that there are fewer electrical problems that the average consumer is capable of repairing. Fortunately! most developed countries have a strong mobile auto electrician industry that can send someone to get you back up and running in no time.
What is an Auto Electrician?
An auto electrician is a type of automotive specialty technician whose job it is to diagnose, repair, and maintain the electrical components of cars, trucks, and a variety of other vehicles that are used for personal and commercial use. There are many different departments within an auto repair facility that all must work together to make sure the vehicles they service operate correctly. The electrician represents a very important member of the automotive repair team because of the large number of computerized and electrically dependent parts that are included in modern vehicles. There are many situations when a vehicle may be rendered completely useless if an abnormality in its electrical system exists. To handle these situations, you need someone who has the right personality and expertise to quickly find and correct the problem.
A career in the automotive repair industry has many similarities to a career as a physician. While many people would be quick to point out that there are dramatic differences between fixing cars and fixing humans, they can easily be convinced that both types of professionals must be able to solve complex problems using specialized critical thinking and troubleshooting skills. Individuals who end up working as automotive technicians commonly use the same type of mental framework, to diagnose and repair vehicles, that physicians use to diagnose and treat complex medical pathologies. This is not to say that vehicles should receive the same respect as human life, but the concept does help in understanding the type of personality that is required to be a successful auto electrician.
Auto Electrician Job Description
There are many different work responsibilities included in an auto electrician job description. Some tasks are important for the diagnostic and repair aspects while others factor into how well the technician is able to work with others. As is true with every other profession, an individual must be able to get along well with others and respect their beliefs and opinions. Auto repair employers know that employee personality is just as important as technical skill when it comes to being productive and retaining customers.
Technical Skills Include the Ability to…
Interpersonal Skills Include the Ability to…
The technical skills required to be a successful auto electrician are often acquired through training and experience; whereas, interpersonal skills may already be part of an individual’s personality. When selecting a career path to pursue, it is important to assess the types of personality traits that are required for a specific job. The daily responsibilities of an automotive technician require an acute appreciation for human interaction. Vehicle problems are some of the most frustrating and financially straining experiences that people are forced to deal with. The last thing that anyone needs, in a stressful situation, is a technician who has no interest in the well-being of customers and no desire to help resolve conflicts.
Auto Electrician Salary and Job Market in the UK
The skills that automotive technicians possess have experienced an increase in demand because of the widespread use of electrical parts in vehicles. Electricians are in a very good position to benefit from the push toward the use of alternative energy sources in transportation. The National Careers Service has estimated that the automotive service technician industry currently employes about 514,572 individuals in the UK. Auto electrician job opportunities are expected to continue to grow with the population.
Experienced automotive repair and maintenance technicians can generally expect to make between £18,500 and £26,000 per year. As with any career, this amount can vary greatly depending on the level of training and experience that the technician has as well as the type of business where they work. Salaries also tend to vary a lot depending on geographic location. It is not unusual to find lower salaries paid in rural communities and higher salaries paid in urban and suburban communities. Part of the reason for the discrepancy in pay is the fact that it is typically more expensive to live in areas that are heavily populated. An auto electrician may also discover that they are able to find higher paying jobs throughout the country in communities where there are a high concentration of affluent individuals who drive the environmentally friendly vehicles that are being produced today.
Auto Electrician Training in the UK
Most automotive specialty technicians enter the profession after completing either an apprenticeship or a college course in vehicle repair. In general, individuals who want to complete an apprenticeship are required to have four GCSEs at a level two qualification (Grades A – C). As would be expected, the apprenticeship opportunities available in different areas of the country vary based on the local job market. With around 32 million vehicles currently in operation on the roads of the UK, there is a tremendous need for a large number of qualified technicians.
Apprenticeships vary in the types of instruction they provide. Some industry professionals choose to work for large dealerships where they are allowed to focus on a specific vehicle while others opt to work in smaller garages that handle a wide variety of automotive problems. Intermediate level apprenticeships allow individuals to acquire basic automotive technician skills in light and heavy vehicles, motorcycles, electrical systems, and trailers. Advanced level apprenticeships add additional diagnostic skills to the fundamental skills acquired at the basic level.
College courses are available for individuals who do not have the GCSEs to qualify for an auto electrician apprenticeship. During this time, students will usually complete a combination of classroom and hands-on coursework. Common courses offered by local colleges include Level 1: Vehicle Systems Maintenance, Motor Vehicle Repair, and Automotive Studies. Students are commonly required to obtain LGV (lorries) and PCV (buses) licenses depending on the types of vehicles they are working on.
Following graduation, technicians can specialize in electrical repair by acquiring on-the-job training and completing Level 2 and 3 auto electrical and mobile electrical diplomas. These added credentials allow technicians to learn skills associated with electrical malfunctions, transmission failures, and security device installation. Once a technician has completed Level 3 training, they may elect to complete specialized Level 4 training which includes a BTEC HNC Diploma in Automotive Diagnostics and Management, City and Guilds Certificate in Advanced Auto Diagnostic Techniques, and the IMIAL Certificate in Advanced Automotive Studies for Master Technicians. Those interested in completing advanced auto electrician training are encouraged to join the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) Program. Accreditation by the IMI demonstrates that your knowledge and skills adhere to the highest standards for automotive excellence.