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Difference Between a Mechanic and Auto Technician

Difference Between a Mechanic and Auto Technician

If you’ve ever taken your car to a dealership or a service center, you may have wondered just who will be providing your vehicle with the care it deserves. Is an auto mechanic working on the car, or is an automotive technician working on the car? Are there differences between the two?

Here, our team at Automotive Training Center (ATC) is exploring the differences between a mechanic and auto technician. Is it more than just semantics? Let’s dive in and find out!

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Auto Mechanic vs Auto Technician: The Differences

Difference Between a Mechanic and Auto TechnicianAn auto mechanic is a highly skilled person who understands the mechanical aspects and how to bring a vehicle up to speed. An auto mechanic in generations past may have worked with a wrench and a socket set to solve engine issues, but things have certainly changed as the years have gone on.

Today, computerized systems tell us a lot about vehicle performance and the engine itself. There are computers equipped directly to the vehicle and others that are plugged into the vehicle once it’s in the shop. A technician is well-versed in both the mechanical and technological aspects of a vehicle, while a mechanic only works with the mechanical components.

Every repair shop needs to have the specific tools to make a diagnosis and automotive technicians have the knowledge needed to work with all these tools. The term “auto mechanic” is still used today, but one of the best ways to sum things up is to say: All technicians are auto mechanics, but not all auto mechanics are technicians.

An auto technician will typically have specialized knowledge in a certain field with a focus on technical components. It’s more than just fixing an issue for an auto technician. They need to be able to pinpoint the issue, solve the problem, and then explain everything in layman’s terms to a driver.

Automotive Technician: Is It More Than a Fancy Name?

As modern vehicles advance farther away from their older predecessors, it’s easy to see that there is a clear difference between a mechanic and an automotive technician. It’s all about how they use their skills.

If asked to change brake pads, both a mechanic and a technician can get the job done. An automotive technician, however, may be able to more completely and thoroughly explain why the brakes needed to be replaced in the first place.

The difference between a mechanic and an automotive technician is further cemented when working in the hi-performance sector. When a mechanic is performing a custom build, they may be left to guess at how much horsepower and torque their engine is creating.

An auto technician, on the other hand, knows how to use the advanced computer systems needed to know exactly what their custom build is capable of. They’ll also be able to pinpoint certain areas that need improvement.

What are the Similarities Between a Mechanic and an Auto Technician?

Automotive technicians and mechanics both love to work with their hands. Whether they’re under the hood replacing a part or conducting a simple oil change, both career roles will let you get your hands dirty.

If a vehicle is experiencing a mechanical issue, both a mechanic and a technician will be able to examine several parts to determine what is causing the problem, but technicians have a slight advantage in this department. They will be able to use computer systems to isolate the problem part and get the issue resolved more easily.

Both auto mechanics and auto technicians usually work in an automotive repair shop. That’s why they share an in-depth knowledge of safety protocols that are meant to keep themselves and their fellow team members safe.

It is necessary for people in both roles to be friendly and communicable. Both mechanics and technicians will find themselves explaining potential repairs to customers and possibly even dealing with transactions, like checking in vehicles for service or printing out invoices for services performed.

Preparing Technicians for Their Future

Difference Between a Mechanic and Auto TechnicianAn automotive technician is a person who has been trained and certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). When drivers hear that a service center employs ASE-certified technicians, it inspires confidence that may not be found when simply mentioning the word mechanic.

ATC’s Automotive and Collision programs are based on specific subject matter that a technician is required to understand in order to pass the ASE Technician certification exams. Our experienced instructors encourage all students to register for the certification exams while attending school.

One great course of action is to take the exams right after completing a course in a specific certification area like Brakes, Engine Repair, or Electrical Systems. That way, your knowledge and skills will be fresh and ready to be put to the test.

As a student at ATC, you’re getting the latest education and schooling, which some auto mechanics may not be able to claim. You will learn the theory and operation in the classroom, and then move into the shop to get hands-on experience diagnosing problems and making repairs.

Our ATC Program Offerings

At our auto technician school, we’re proud to offer students a few different programs. You can choose your specialty and enjoy a career as an automotive technician following graduation.

If you like working with your hands and foresee a future in the automotive industry, we have several paths for you to follow. You can enroll in one of the following programs:

  • Automotive Technology
  • Automotive and Hi-Performance Technology
  • Automotive and Diesel Technology
  • Collision Reconditioning Technology
  • Marine Service Technology

There are many different paths for you to follow when you decide to pursue a career as an automotive technician. Whether you want to work with fast cars that belong on a racetrack, heavy-duty diesel trucks that help keep our economy running, or you just want to be the friendly neighborhood auto technician, the opportunities are abundant.

After passing the certification exam, technicians will be required to fulfill a work experience requirement of two years to become certified in most areas. Graduates of ATC programs may qualify for one year toward the work experience requirement.

Get Started with Your ATC Application Today!

Have you ever dropped your car off at a dealership and wondered if a mechanic or technician was working on it? You may have even thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I had those skills.” Now, you can apply to Automotive Training Center to start your career as an automotive technician.

Begin by filling out an online application, then schedule your campus tour near Exton and Warminster with the ATC team today!

For program disclosure information, please go to

ASE Education Foundation iCar Training
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