Apprentice Mechanic Decisions

imported_John Whelan - April 26, 2016
If you're an apprentice mechanic I wouldn't be surprised that you have a lot of decisions to make. Taking the plunge and getting into this trade has many options to think about. The mechanic label is stretched out to many other areas. Commercial transport, Heavy Duty and automotive mechanics are the big three and even they are specialized.

Dealerships appoint certain techs who have been trained to perform specialized jobs like diesel fuel injection, engine repair and electrical. The reason of course is to do the job quickly and efficiently to get the customers on their way. Another big reason is to make money without a lot of write offs on shop time. When I worked for a GM dealership if I wasn't on a job there was a tier style wage.

On shop time my wages dropped by 2 dollars. With charge out time my wages increased. Since then this shop which I no longer work at has gone union so the mechanics are guaranteed so many hours a day. The flat rate structure has changed so techs don't lose their shirt if a job goes off track like a broken exhaust stud or all the other dozens of problems that can happen working on machinery of any kind.

Companies only have so much money to spend on training so once they send one of their techs to school you can bet they will be appointed repairs in their specialized field. Truck shops have techs that specialize in electrical and engines for instance. Warranty repair time for any dealer is slim so they want their best mechanics on the job. When apprenticing you'll want to dig right in to the nitty gritty but that may take a while until you've proven your abilities to the Foreman or Service Manager.

You'll be classed as a general repair tech doing brake jobs, servicing, component replacement and other straight forward work. There are some cases where a shop throws you right into the high tech work which is exciting and most likely a journeyman will be close by to guide you along. When I was 2nd year working in the oil patch the truck shop who employed me had me doing electrical, gear work and engine in-frames which was really cool to get hands on experience.

If you can find a job that is remote and the employer has no restrictions on what you work on that would be the best scenario as long as you are willing to sacrifice the lifestyle of being out of the big city lights for a while. It's a move that will pay off big time for you and build up your resume if you want to move on later on down the road.
Apprentice Mechanic