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Rev up your educational engine with an online degree

Rev up your educational engine with an online degree

by Shannon Lee
February 9, 2011

There was a time when vehicles were easy to repair. The parts and the way they went together were very straightforward. Every vehicle was sold with a manual and repair kit that helped you take care of the simple problems that could arise while out on the road.

But that was then, and this is now. Today's vehicles are sophisticated machines filled with computer technology and thousands of parts. These modern road rockets require the top-notch skills of a mechanic who has been trained to handle a wide variety of engines and the problems that can happen under an equally wide variety of circumstances.

What it takes to become a mechanic

Working as a mechanic--otherwise known as an automotive service technician--used to require years of training under a seasoned mechanic. Today, the sophisticated engines require a deep knowledge of evolving technologies, computer science and engineering, in addition to the vast knowledge of tools and automotive parts required to understand, pinpoint, and fix the problems with engines of all types.

Vocational training programs for automotive repair can cover a wide range of topics, and can take anywhere from six months to a year to earn a certificate. However, advanced programs can take several years and award a degree. Online degree programs are often helpful to those who want to begin with an entry-level position and work their way up as their knowledge grows. Complex specialities, such as transmission repair, require further schooling to obtain the necessary knowledge.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for mechanics are expected to grow by 5 percent from 2008 to 2018. The mean annual wage of an automobile mechanic in 2009 was $37,880. Those who ranked in the lower ten percent made an average of $19,840, while those in the upper ten percent made an average of $59,920. Those who served in an automotive specialty might make even more.