High performance engine technicians fine tune and repair high performance vehicles for high torque, optimal acceleration and terminal speed. High performance mechanics also perform dyno-testing, sport tuning and car modification on racing vehicles. Changing technology and repair techniques are increasingly sophisticated so technicians must undergo specific training and stay abreast of the latest developments.
Nature of the Work
Over the years, automotive service technicians’ duties have evolved from simple mechanical repairs to high-level technology-related work. High performance vehicles are more sophisticated, requiring technicians to develop skills using computerized shop equipment and other electronic components in addition to use of traditional hand tools. High performance engine technicians must posses a broad knowledge of high performance vehicles’ integrated electronic system and computer regulators. Technicians must also be able to use electronic diagnostic equipment as well as digital manuals and reference materials. Technicians who work on high performance vehicles during car races need to work with speed and agility to quickly perform maintenance and repairs. Rebuilders and engine technicians typically spend most of their time in a shop building and repairing high performance automotive parts.
Education and Training
High performance automotive technicians need a high school diploma and two years of vocational training in automotive mechanics. Most specialized training can be obtained at high performance training schools. It is common to start at a company as a technician’s assistant or as an apprentice while obtaining certification and training. It typically takes two to five years of training and education to become a fully qualified high performance technician. With the changing automotive industry and use of electronic components, technicians attend more workshops and specialized training courses throughout their career.
According to The Bureau of Labor and Statistics in 2006, most service technicians reported working an average 40-hour work week, but 30 percent reported working overtime. High performance automotive technicians often work nights and weekends in order to meet deadlines for upcoming events. Those who work during races must schedule around those events. Some technicians work only in shops while others must work on loud, fast-paced racing track side lines. Both types of technicians work on dirty, greasy parts with computerized tools or hand tools. Technicians must often lift heavy parts and tools and often may incur minor cuts and bruises.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported faster than average growth for technicians during the 2006-16, with employment increasing 14 percent. Job opportunities are particularly good for those with post-secondary training and ASE certification.
Entry-level pay for technicians range between $21,000 and $32,000 per year. Mid-range earnings start at $32,000 and range up to $55,000. Experienced and master technicians report earnings between $58,000 and $108,000 annually.