Junior mechanic most often refers to a beginning mechanic who works on cars, pickup trucks or vans. Junior mechanics hold entry-level jobs and are responsible for following the instructions of a mechanic as they learn to work on their own. Some of a junior mechanic’s duties may include locating the right tools for each job and taking the vehicle for a test drive to help diagnose an issue.
Junior mechanics help repair and replace plugs, fans, belts, transmissions, converters or maybe even entire engines. They often handle minor tasks on their own, such as replacing batteries, air filters and spark plugs, or changing tires and adding windshield wiper fluid. Junior mechanics may also perform even simpler tasks as they watch a supervisor work. Some duties of the junior mechanic may include holding a flashlight or stocking shelves with supplies. Occasionally, they may run a cash register once a job is complete, taking the customer’s money and making change.
Junior mechanics need to be excellent listeners who can follow instructions of a supervising mechanic, as well as directions explaining how a certain repairs should be made. Junior mechanics also need to work well alone or as members of a team. They should be motivated, organized, eager to learn and possess a positive attitude toward the job. On top of those things, junior mechanics should have a working knowledge of the various diagnostic equipment and tools needed for automotive maintenance and repair.
Most junior mechanics need a high school diploma or the equivalent to get hired by a dealership or private garage. Other than that, there are rarely requirements for a formal education. However, some attend vocational or trade schools to sharpen their skills and increase their chances of advancement.
Mechanics and their helpers will be needed for as long as there are vehicles and a need to repair them. Jobs for automotive mechanics were expected to increase 5 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although that figure wasn't specific to junior mechanics, it can be assumed their prospects will grow along with the rest of the industry.
Auto mechanics earned salaries that ranged from nearly $26,000 to more than $44,500 per year in June 2010, according to PayScale.com. Wages for junior mechanics were likely at the lower end of that scale.
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