People seem to have the impression that there is a difference between an auto mechanic and an auto technician. News flash… There isn’t! They are about as different as the janitor and the custodian. Someone with a masters degree, who works in a nice office, sitting in a nice comfy chair all day who has never gotten dirty a day in there life most likely came up with this.I’ve been in this business since 2003. The automotive industry has been trying to change the general perception of the auto mechanic for as long as I can remember. Still to this day whether it be instructors, owners, general managers, district managers. I hear them say “The days of the grease monkey are over.” When you picture a mechanic in your head. They want you to envision a good looking, clean cut guy, wearing gloves, safety glasses, a clean uniform, and a million dollar smile on his face holding some type of computer in his hand. Not a scruffy sweaty guy covered head to toe in grease holding a dirty wrench with a puss on his face.
Changing how mechanics are perceived, makes us more marketable. Making us more marketable helps justify high labor rates and helps get younger people to enroll in tech schools which helps get manufacturers and dealerships more “technicians”. The industry is definitely changing. Vehicles are becoming more technical year after year so we do spend a lot more time using laptops, scanners, meters, and scopes then mechanics years ago. All the things I named are on top of getting dirty. The days of the grease monkey has changed, but they sure as hell aren’t over.
When I’m asked what I do for a living I respond “I’m an auto mechanic” but on a resume, I will write “Automotive Technician”. When referring to other people at work I will usually say, technician. I bounce back and forth. Some people get offended if they consider themselves technicians and you call them a mechanic and vice versa. As for myself, I don’t care what you call me! Regardless of my title, I have to go to work every day and fix cars. When my paycheck changes due to my job title, ill start caring. Age seems to be the only thing I see that stays consistent between who considers themselves what. I’m caught in the middle. All the people that mentored me called themselves mechanics, and all the people I now mentor call themselves technicians.
In a nutshell. The mechanic will say technicians are parts changers and can’t fix anything. The technician will say mechanics are computer illiterate and can’t even turn a scan tool on. I say if you can’t do it all. Either learn it, find a new career, or hope you end up at a shop where you can pick and choose what work you will do. If somehow you find the third option, please email me with all the information so I can apply there!
If you are a customer reading this. I would suggest finding yourself one person who can do it all. What they call themselves isn’t important. Their knowledge and work quality is. You will most likely pay more, but it will save you money in the long run. Skilled labor is not cheap, and cheap labor is not skilled.