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Job Description for a Mechanic's Helper

A mechanic's helper assists the senior mechanic in a variety of ways. Mechanic helpers work on cars, vans, light pickups, semi-trucks, motorcycles and every other type of vehicle. They hold lights so senior mechanics can look under the hood, lubricate plugs, check tires, change air filters and basically perform any task needed for repair and maintenance.

Basics

Mechanic helpers work in lube shops, automobile dealerships and independently owned garages. They typically perform lighter responsibilities than those of full-fledged mechanics. For instance, if a customer brings in a vehicle that is experiencing issues, the mechanic's helper may take it on a test drive and help form a diagnosis. Mechanic's helpers may be required to perform larger tasks as well--such as helping replace a transmission or exhaust system.

Skills

Mechanic helpers must first and foremost be good listeners, adhering to the directions and guidance given to them by a supervisor. They also need to be able to follow basic printed instructions, such as those that may be provided in boxes containing air filters and spark plugs. Along with those things, mechanic's helpers should possess strong communication skills, a strong work ethic and an upbeat approach to the job. They may also have to know how to navigate a cash register, making change and running credit cards for customers.

Background

There is no set of specific guidelines to become a mechanic's helper. Most already have a passion for vehicle repair and sharpen their skills while on the job. Some may be required to possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. Occasionally, mechanic's helpers will attend vocational or trade school, but unless they are a mechanic, rarely is any formal education a requirement.

Prospects

Opportunities for mechanic helpers are likely to fluctuate along with the automotive industry. In other words, growth is expected to be slow at best. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for mechanics will increase by 5 percent through 2018, which is a slower growth rate than all professions during the same decade. The BLS added that the majority of growth "will be in automobile dealerships and independent repair shops."

Earnings

The majority of a mechanic helper's earnings will be based on the garage in which they work and their overall duties. It will also, of course, depend on whether they are part- or full-time employees. According to the BLS, mechanics in general earned a median wage of $16.88 per hour in May 2008. The lower 10 percent earned a median hourly wage $9.56--which is likely more in line with what mechanic's helpers make.



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