Home > Manual & Skilled > Becoming a Mechanic

Becoming a Mechanic

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 22 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Mechanic Career Change Career Mechanic

It seems as though most people either love or hate mechanics. Vehicle owners have either found a competent mechanic that they trust, or else they have a long list of horror stories about how their car emerged from the garage in a worse shape than when it went in. Mechanics service and repair practically anything with an engine and wheels, from motorbikes to lorries and coaches. They work with a wide variety of systems, both mechanical and electrical.

Apprenticeships

One excellent way to accomplish a career change and become a mechanic is through an apprenticeship. This type of arrangement allows you to work, get paid and learn the job at the same time. You'll find out about the actual working conditions of the job first-hand while you are trained under the mentorship of an experienced mechanic. However, you should be aware that most mechanic apprenticeships are really only available for individuals aged 16 to 24.

If you're already working somewhere else and want to change careers, there are other ways to become a mechanic. Local shops may be willing to hire you and provide on-the-job training, especially if you demonstrate an interest in and knowledge of automotive mechanics. You should expect this type of learning-while-earning arrangement to last from three to four years. Alternatively, if you can afford to take the time off without regular pay, you can study full-time at a local college to get the training you need. Yet another possibility to look at would be completing a vocational qualification after following a self-study course.

What Skills?

Today's automotive mechanic works with finely-tuned, computer-controlled engines. Repair shops will be looking at your background not only for industrial arts and safety training, but they will likely want to see some computer science as well. In addition, you must hold a driving licence valid for the type of vehicles you'll be servicing. Finally, given the demands of the position, you should be in good physical condition.

Other Skills you will find useful as a mechanic include knowledge of motor vehicle technology and new developments in the industry. Good problem-solving skills are a must, and your employers and customers will be happier if you work quickly and accurately.

Typical Job Role

What are you likely to be doing on a daily basis if you become a mechanic? Of course, you'll be repairing vehicles that have developed a problem or have been involved in an accident. You may also be involved in regular maintenance to keep vehicles operating in peak condition. With experience and extra qualifications, you may become involved in MOT testing. You will be working with a wide variety of hand tools, power tools and electrical equipment.

The outlook for mechanic jobs remains strong. In fact, as vehicles become more complicated and as government standards become more stringent, properly maintaining them will require professional servicing. You may find employment in several different venues, including local garages and national chains. There are also opportunities for mechanics wherever you find a large fleet of vehicles, including police agencies, taxi companies and even the armed forces.

Engineering Opportunities

Ever thought of working as an engineer? If so, our article Working in Construction & Engineering will give you an insight into the job propects and training requirements.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I am thinking of doing a mechanic course. I was a painter and decorator by trade but left due to mental health. Should i do it?
Titch7789 - 22-Apr-18 @ 7:20 PM
Em - Your Question:
I’m 37 and seriously contemplating a change in career from film production to automotive repair. I’ll be 38 by the time the mechanics course starts in September, is that too old to start studying for a job as a mechanic/technician?

Our Response:
No there's no reason why it would be considered too old. You have lots of life and employment experience that would be useful as a mechanic.
ACareerChange - 7-Mar-18 @ 12:38 PM
I’m 37 and seriously contemplating a change in career from film production to automotive repair. I’ll be 38 by the time the mechanics course starts in September, is that too old to start studying for a job as a mechanic/technician?
Em - 6-Mar-18 @ 11:27 AM
Ryan - Your Question:
Hello I'm 27 in full time employment in child care. I have basic qualifications in car body repair and have a nvq 2 mechanical engineering but I don't want to work with kids for ever so need a get out plan. I've always being interested in cars and how they work but can't risk leaving my job has I have children and no other income. Is they any night courses or weekend courses I can do to achieve these qualifications.

Our Response:
Many colleges offer part time or evening courses - the easiest way to find out is simply to contact those local to you, or check their websites. The good thing is that September is a great time to be looking as most of the courses start then!
ACareerChange - 5-Sep-17 @ 10:54 AM
Hello I'm 27 in full time employment in child care. I have basic qualifications in car body repair and have a nvq 2 mechanical engineering but I don't want to work with kids for ever so need a get out plan. I've always being interested in cars and how they work but can't risk leaving my job has I have children and no other income. Is they any night courses or weekend courses I can do to achieve these qualifications.
Ryan - 2-Sep-17 @ 3:19 PM
I'm 24 and work a full 40 hours a week which i can't come away from. I've always wanted to get into mechanics as I'm a big car nut. I only know basic stuff, but was wondering is there anyway of doing a course that can be carried out of a night and is there any help with funding etc to go with that? Thanks
Mark - 1-Dec-16 @ 11:11 PM
chris - Your Question:
Im 32 currently working full time shift work. I have city and guild motor vehicle repair level one. this was back in 2001. I left college after a year personal reasons. I want to back into this field and don't know how and what to do. I looked at college courses but not part time evening classes just full time.

Our Response:
It might be worth asking around your local garages etc - they will be able to tell you whether there is a chance of any work with on-the-job training that perhaps includes the opportunity to gain more qualifications.
ACareerChange - 7-Nov-16 @ 11:33 AM
Im 32 currently working full time shift work.I have city and guild motor vehicle repair level one.this was back in 2001.I left college after a year personal reasons.I want to back into this field and don't know how and what to do.I looked at college courses but not part time evening classes just full time.
chris - 5-Nov-16 @ 8:36 AM
Hi..I am 43 years old. I would like to explore at my age, is there any limitation of doing mechanic apprenticeship. No formal experience in mechanics since previously I am a bankers. But i really love anything about car...
Riff - 25-Oct-16 @ 1:09 PM
Hi i'm 21 years old and i work full time right now, but i would like to learn how to become a mechanic. I've emailed my local college regarding learning while im working in my current job, but i have had no response yet. Can you help me? I have a brilliant grasp with computers from my childhood hold qualifications in that. Cheers.
mitch - 24-Aug-16 @ 9:03 AM
I'm a 33 year old woman I have 3 dependent children i have been a health care assistant for 17 years but would love to become a machanic every laughs at me when I say this, as a mom of 3 I need to be able to earn while I train is this possible and how to find somewhere or is it just a dream..
Mommy - 19-Aug-16 @ 12:53 PM
I am 37 years old and have done enough of the warehouse jobs. My last role in the warehouse was a team leader. I will like to change it all. Have loved cars and chosen to to be an auto mechanic. How do I go about that. Thanks.
Matt - 4-Aug-16 @ 5:36 PM
Undecisive - Your Question:
Hi, im 17 year old boy. Im thinking of doing an apprenticeship as a HGV technician (interview soon) just wondering if when im qualified after the apprenticeship would I be able to work on cars too (just as a hobby) could my knowledge of HGV's be transferred into light vehicles and help me fix cars etc or is that a different story that requires seperate training? Also im confused about the salary, some websites claim its around £15k-£25k but most job advertisements are offering a salary around £35-£40 k?

Our Response:
Some of the skills you pick up will be transferable to other vehicles as a hobby, and if you want to transfer to light vehicles as a career there will be other training opportunities to make that easier. Salaries tend to vary depending on what type of company and where you are in the country. We've seen a variation from £23k to £40k in a recent search.
ACareerChange - 14-Jul-16 @ 11:27 AM
Hi, im 17 year old boy. Im thinking of doing an apprenticeship as a HGV technician (interview soon) just wondering if when im qualified after the apprenticeship would i be able to work on cars too (just as a hobby) could my knowledge of HGV's be transferred into light vehicles and help me fix cars etc or is that a different story that requires seperate training? Also im confused about the salary, some websites claim its around £15k-£25k but most job advertisements are offering a salary around £35-£40 k?
Undecisive - 11-Jul-16 @ 3:34 PM
Joey - Your Question:
Hi, I'm 30 and currently a HGV driver, I used to be in the Automotive industry before that, and at college I studied vehicle mechanics, after some long hard thinking I have decided that I would like to work on HGVs instead. How can I go about this? Many thanks.

Our Response:
Some colleges offer part time courses in this so it's worth looking to see if you can do a refresher/upgrade to supplement your existing knowledge and give you the HGV qualification. Your employer or another haulage company etc might be willing to take you on on an apprentice/trainee basis as you already have vehicle mechanics knowledge.
ACareerChange - 10-Jun-16 @ 2:06 PM
Hi, I'm 30 and currently a HGV driver, I used to be in the Automotive industry before that, and at college I studied vehicle mechanics, after some long hard thinking I have decided that I would like to work on HGVs instead. How can I go about this? Many thanks.
Joey - 9-Jun-16 @ 3:57 AM
Hi, I'm a 28 year old currently in a very well paid full time job but have a passion for vehicles and repairing them. I'm will to sacrifice alot to get into a career of mechanics, I was wondering if you can assist in possible routes into such career. I find a vast majority of apprenticeships are only for 18-24 year olds and rarely anything for older people.
Mattyj3388 - 28-Apr-16 @ 8:15 PM
Timhgv - Your Question:
Hello, I wonder if you can help.I am 27 and in a dead end job but always dreamed of becoming a mechanic. I cant afford to go back to college As I got a family.i don't know to find anywhere that will pay and train me to become a mechanic.What would be your best advice for me I live in South Wales.i have book to do my Hgv class 1 and 2

Our Response:
Some college courses can be undertaken part time in the evenings and are not too expensive. Other than that you should look at online job sites and your local newspapers, job centre etc to see if any trainee mechanic jobs are available.
ACareerChange - 27-Apr-16 @ 11:56 AM
Hello, I wonder if you can help.I am 27 andin a dead end job but always dreamed of becoming a mechanic. I cant afford to go back to college As I got a family .i don't know to find anywhere that will pay and train me to become a mechanic.What would be your best advice for me I live in South Wales.i have book to do my Hgv class 1 and 2
Timhgv - 26-Apr-16 @ 12:12 PM
Lil_Ginge95 - Your Question:
Hello, I wonder if you can help.My boyfriend is 30 and he's in a dead end job but always dreamed of becoming a mechanic. He cant afford to go back to college nor have an apprenticeship because he has a daughter and a family to support. He desperately wants to get out of the job he's in but struggling to find anywhere that will pay and train him to become a mechanic.What would be your best advice for him?

Our Response:
A night school class would be relatively inexpensive and would mean he could continue working whilst gaining the qualications. There will not be many companies that will take on an employee and train them up unless it's on an apprenticeship style scheme.
ACareerChange - 2-Feb-16 @ 12:59 PM
Hello, I wonder if you can help. My boyfriend is 30 and he's in a dead end job but always dreamed of becoming a mechanic. He cant afford to go back to college nor have an apprenticeship because he has a daughter and a family to support. He desperately wants to get out of the job he's in but struggling to find anywhere that will pay and train him to become a mechanic. What would be your best advice for him?
Lil_Ginge95 - 1-Feb-16 @ 10:05 AM
I'd say don't bother doing a college course. I did just that, but without any experience no where wants to employ me. They'd much rather have 16y/o apprentices that they can pay did all. Annoyed!
Noxious89123 - 28-Jan-16 @ 1:39 PM
Never become a mechanic unless you get a main dealer apprenticeship you're wasting yourtime! money at independent garages sucks so bad you are essentially a slave to be abused by some angry boss. If you do full time college course none of the idiot bosses will take you on as they're all retarded idiots that think they can hire a master tech with 10 years experience for 16kper year lol. Do yourself a favor and get GCSE Maths and English grade C or above and do an access course at college thengo to Uni for 3 years n come out to a starting salary of about 30k per year. Don't listen to me and you will regret it for the rest of your sorry life.
angrytechy - 5-Oct-15 @ 8:54 PM
Hello I am looking at doing a mechanic course (2 of them) but the problem I have is I'm in full time employment as I'm 20 years of age and I need to find a part time job to be able to pay the fees for the course. what do you recommend on doing? I was thinking of getting into a garage job to work on cars, but do you think this will work? please email me
Lewis - 17-Sep-15 @ 8:14 PM
Ketchem - Your Question:
Hello I am 17 I would like to be a mechanic car. I have greate ambition to become mechanic, I have applied last year to take the course. I really love fix car. Someone who can tell me in what subject you have to be good and can you tell me can I take it online or on you.

Our Response:
The requirements are different depending on what level course you intend to start at. A NVQ level 1 equivalent course would require some GCSE passes. A level 3 equivalent course would require 5 GCSE passes including maths and english. Online courses in car mechanics are rare as there is a siginificant practical element involved.
ACareerChange - 11-Sep-15 @ 12:21 PM
Hi i have been a mechanic for 8 years with an nvq level 2 in light vehicle repair I've been working on hgvs for the last three years where can I go to take the tests to become a qualified hgv technician? I'm 24
ste2910 - 11-Sep-15 @ 8:58 AM
Hello I am 17 I would like to be a mechanic car. I have greate ambition to become mechanic, I have applied last year to take the course. I really love fix car. Someone who can tell me in what subject you have to be good and can you tell me can I take it online or on you.
Ketchem - 10-Sep-15 @ 2:47 PM
Faz - Your Question:
I'm 28 I want to be car mechanic it's my hobbie to fix car

Our Response:
Good luck. We hope the above article helped.
ACareerChange - 1-Sep-15 @ 12:58 PM
I'm 28 I want to be car mechanic it's my hobbie to fix car
Faz - 31-Aug-15 @ 10:40 PM
brad - Your Question:
Im 33. Is it possible for me to begin a diesel mechanics course , or an apprenticeship ?I have basic skills and experience in this field but no certification. Thanks brad

Our Response:
Apprenticeships are not usually available to people much older than early twenties. It will be worth asking at your local college though. You could also apply to undertake a non-apprentice based course at college, you can take advantage of various adult learning grants if you find the right course.
ACareerChange - 6-Aug-15 @ 2:27 PM
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