There are many different classifications for technicians today. I’m going to cover the ones used at the places I have worked. Keep in mind, they are both GM dealerships. I’m sure other manufacturers use the same standards for classifications, but probably different titles. These classifications aren’t set in stone. There are a lot of people working outside of the classification they deserve. Some above, and some below. For you lucky bast***’* who are getting the top rate and don’t deserve it.. Congrats, you’ve beaten the system and I’m not sure how!
This is usually where you start at the dealership if you are young and or inexperienced. The primary responsibility of this position is LOF’s (Lube Oil and Filter’s) (Oil Changes). If this is your current position at a dealership do yourself a favor. When you have downtime, go hang around the more experienced people in the shop. Watch them and ask them questions so you can learn, rather than standing around talking and laughing with the rest of the lube techs. The more and the faster you learn, the faster you will advance in your career.
When customers bring their car in for “just an oil change”. The lube techs will most likely be the people working on your vehicle, you won’t be getting the “top guy” that you asked for. These individuals are not incompetent, they are just learning. While doing LOF’s they will be taught how to inspect things such as tires, brakes, filters, steering and suspension components, lights, and wiper blades. Eventually moving on to mounting and balancing tires, then to performing alignments.
There is no time frame on how long someone will stay at this position, but the objective is to get out of is ASAP. When they show that they can perform all the tasks mentioned above with little or no supervision, and without repetitive mistakes, they should be moved onto an apprentice.
This is a vital part of your career, at least it was for mine. Depending on how the dealership does it. You will have one mentor or possibly several mentors and you will rotate. Most likely the top guy/guys in the shop are the people who mentor. I say this is a vital part of your career for several reasons. This gives you the chance to learn from the best. You will be working side by side with someone that is highly respected in that service department. This technician is probably the one that you will spend the rest of your career trying to be. You will be getting paid to learn. Everything they do, you’ll be a part of. Take this time to ask as many questions as you can.
Become friendly with them and if you are lucky and they take a liking to you, they might be willing to help you even after you move beyond being an apprentice. Do as they say (within reason). Show them that you want and are willing to learn everything that they are willing to teach you. Basically show that you give a damn! I can tell you from my experience. If you don’t show interest in learning, the mentor won’t bother to teach you.
This is where you should learn all of your basics… How to write up a repair order, operate a scan tool, how to use a DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter), navigating through whatever service information used for the manufacturer, using a torque wrench, reading a wiring schematic, reading a diagnostic flowchart and so on. All of these things are the foundation of the career you are trying to build. You will be doing a little bit of everything, maybe even some things on your own. If you pay attention and learn as much as you can, it will make the next steps that much easier. You aren’t going to master these things and you shouldn’t be expected to. You are going to make mistakes and you are expected to. Learn from them! Everything done moving forward is built off “the basics”. Still to this day, 15 years later in my career, the basics are what I go to day in and day out to help me diagnose the simplest or most complex problems.
If you make it out of the apprentice position, then you know management and the top technicians approve of you. Now you are a C tech… Congrats! This is where you will get to practice all of those basics, but alone for the most part. Put on your big boy/girl pants, you are now a technician. Now you should be doing basic electrical diagnosing and repairs, steering and suspension diagnostics and repairs, trim work, brake work, belts, hoses, maintenance, and some light engine repairs. You will be on your own but you will still have someone to answer questions and help you but not a full-time babysitter like the apprentice.
The B tech should basically be doing everything except rebuilding. When I say rebuilding I’m referring to being able to remove, disassemble, diagnose, repair, and reassemble engines, transmissions, transfer cases, and differentials. Not saying they will never need any help because everyone needs help and guidance regardless of your position, but they should be self-sufficient. R&R (removing and replacing) engines, transmissions, differentials, and transfer cases for the techs who rebuild them is usually part of this position. Now, let me throw this out there… in just about every dealership there is “that guy”. The guy who has the ability of a B tech, but getting paid A tech rate. I mentioned these people above. The only way I think you get that deal is to kiss more @$$ than a toilet seat. I don’t recommend this route. It will not benefit you in the long run. Eventually, you will have to do the work that you are getting paid to do. So learn it, otherwise, when that day comes, you’ll be taking a pay cut and going backward financially.
You’ve made it, you’re finally here! You are now the cream of the crop, the Kobe Bryant of basketball! All that hard work has finally paid off. You now are probably fully trained in every category the manufacturer offers, you’ll probably have all of you ASE’s or working towards them. You now should be able to fix any, and everything… Just ask your manager.
These are the individuals that everything else falls on to. The cars that keep coming back for the same issues, the cars that are hard to diagnose. The service department is usually built around their A techs. This is the end of the line, there is no one better. Hopefully, there is at least a couple good ones that can work well together because they have to fix the vehicle. There is no one left to answer your questions. You are the one with the apprentice, the one who everyone looks up to, the one with all the answers… You are the highest paid and are expected to put out the highest quality repairs in the fastest amount of time.
Customers, this is the technician that you will usually go on a test drive with or talk to on the phone. This is the person you will be expecting to fix what that “other shop” or “your mechanic” can’t,
There is not a foreman at every shop, but they are a nice luxury to have. This is no different than any other foreman. They are a manager in the shop. Overseeing what everyone is doing and making sure they are doing it sufficiently. Usually, they are someone on the downside of their career. In my experience, they are mostly older individuals. A techs who’s bodies have broken down from years of walking, kneeling and crawling on concrete floors. Being twisted under a dashboard like a pretzel, and bending over, under a hood for years. If there is a foreman, they will usually be the tech going for a test drive with customers and speaking with them. The foreman will float around and help whoever in any way possible.
All done! Those are all the positions and what they are supposed to be capable of doing. If anyone would like more in-depth information on any of the above, send me an email. Whoever reads this should now know the basic differences between all the technician classifications. Once again, this isn’t always the case. Any dealership can run their service department however they feel fit. All the above is how the dealerships I have worked for classified techs and what was “expected” of them. Thanks for reading!!