The number of vehicles on the roads is expected to rise, and with over 284 million registered vehicles in the United States today, there is a large need for individuals who know how to service and care for our main mode of transportation. Master technicians (also known as master mechanics or even BMW technicians if they work on specific brands) will be needed to keep our cars healthy and moving, and if you're interested in getting into the field, it's helpful to know what salary you can expect.
Master Technician Description
The roles and responsibilities of a master mechanic vary slightly depending on the make and model of the vehicle they are servicing. A master technician's main job is to make sure that a vehicle is being maintained in order to ensure it works properly. Other duties include:
- Manage daily repair activities.
- Order parts to make repairs.
- Replace entire systems.
- Diagnose system malfunctions, inspect and repair problems in a car, including air conditioning and heating (HVAC) problems, as well as drivability and electrical concerns.
Master Technician Education and Experience
One of the factors that play a role in the master mechanic salary is their education and experience. However, any person who wants to become a master mechanic will need to meet certain baseline requirements. To start, if you are interested in becoming a master mechanic, you will need to:
- Attend a postsecondary program at either community college or vocational school
- Earn an associate degree and/or certificate in automotive service technology from that program
- Obtain designation by passing a test administered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
In addition to these requirements, a master technician will also need two years of experience before they can work in this role. The good news is that many of the types of programs mentioned above include an internship and/or apprenticeship which will provide the student with the necessary hours, so they can enter the workforce and earn a master mechanic salary as soon as possible.
Qualifications of a Master Mechanic
You might be wondering what the difference is between a mechanic and a master mechanic. The main difference between the two is that a master mechanic has acquired more experience, education, hands-on practice, and most importantly, the designation that distinguishes them as a master mechanic. This would also put them in an authoritative role over mechanics without that designation. With these additional certificates and experience, a master technician will see higher salaries and higher-level job opportunities.
But, how to get a master mechanic certification? After fulfilling the educational requirements mentioned above, some of which can be done through programs that will set students on the pathway towards a master mechanic's certification, they will need to earn the appropriate designation. This is done through the National Institute for Automotive Excellence Service, a professional certification group that certifies professionals and auto repair shops in the United States and parts of Canada through the ASE certification tests. This requires students to complete eight separate tests that include 40-50 questions each. These tests are:
- Engine repair
- Automatic transmission/transaxle
- Manual drive train and axles
- Suspension and steering, brakes
- Electrical/electronic systems
- Heating and air conditioning
- Engine performance
Master Mechanic Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) states that the median pay for automotive service technicians and mechanics is $44,050 per year or $21.18 per hour as of 2020. However, master mechanics can earn an even higher salary. According to Payscale, the average master mechanic salary is $61,838.
Want to specialize in certain cars? Mechanics who want to work on BMWs will need a special distinction to do so. After earning the master mechanic ASE certification, they'll also need to complete a BMW Step Program to get a BMW Mechanic Certification. This distinction sometimes comes with a higher BMW technician salary, but it's more the ASE master mechanic certification that's behind those numbers. This could change, though, depending on where you work and how many BMW mechanics are in your area. This is because only those with the BMW Mechanic Certification are permitted to work on BMWs.
Job Outlook and Growth
Unfortunately, according to BLS, the job outlook for auto technicians is projected to decline 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. There could be several reasons for this, one of them being the demand for electric cars, which don't always require a hands-on mechanic. That being said, there will still be plenty of people who need a trusted and knowledgeable master mechanic, and this can be a lucrative career if you get all your certifications.