Can a Felon Become an Auto Mechanic?

When it comes to getting a job after their release from prison, felons find it challenging.  Jobs they once had are lost and careers may be gone.

Felons may think no one will hire them, but there are resources available.

They will have to be open and willing to learn a new trade or start a different career.

This is the opportunity for felons to begin a new profession.

This blog post will address the issue of whether a felon can become an auto mechanic.

  • What is an Auto Mechanic?
  • What Education/Training Does an Auto Mechanic Need?
  • How Much Does an Auto Mechanic Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Supporting a Felon in Becoming an Auto Mechanic

What is an Auto Mechanic?

An auto mechanic is a person who ensures that a vehicle operates in a safe and reliable manner.  They are responsible for diagnosing and repairing problems with cars.

An auto mechanic also performs preventive maintenance such as brake and fluid checks, oil changes, and tire rotation to make certain a car operates as efficiently as possible.

Current technology requires that a mechanic be familiar with electrical and computer systems of vehicles.  A mechanic can be considered to be an auto technician.

An auto mechanic must be familiar with diagnostic computer equipment to discover a problem, explain it to a customer, and be prepared to fix that problem.

They may work in a variety of settings including a repair shop, dealership, gas station, rental car companies, and private car shops.

Most auto mechanics work a 40-hour week but often put in more time with many repair shops being open evenings and weekends.

Certain skills are essential to be successful as an auto mechanic:

  • Good diagnostic skills to locate a problem
  • Strong fine motor skills to be able to handle tools easily
  • Good communications and interpersonal skills to relate to customers and be able to relay complex information regarding mechanical issues in an easy-to-understand manner
  • Problem-solving ability to locate problems and quickly understand how to fix them
  • Good technical aptitude to learn new diagnostic techniques
  • Commitment to providing service to customers
  • Motivation to maintain certification
  • Organization skills to carry out a repair in a systematic manner

What Education/Training Does an Auto Mechanic Need?

Typically, to become an auto mechanic, an individual needs a high school diploma or a GED.

There are many programs available through a community college or technical school offering the necessary basics to find a job as a mechanic.

While it is possible to work as an auto mechanic without any certification, many employers in this area prefer hiring someone with a certificate or diploma from an accredited school.

The most recognized certification is through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).  Programs offering this combine technical and hands-on training.

Areas of education are in:

Automotive parts and systems

  • Engines and drive trains
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Exhaust
  • Transmissions
  • A/C and heating
  • Body
  • Tires
  • Ignitions

Practical training

  • Troubleshooting, diagnosing, and repairing mechanical and electrical systems
  • Oil changes
  • Working with electronic diagnostic equipment
  • Improving engine performance
  • Wheel alignment

Business and Administration

  • Record keeping
  • Service operations
  • Cost estimates
  • Repair order writing
  • Warranty policies
  • Business management
  • Customer service

Most programs include an internship for gaining practical experience.

Typical length of an auto mechanic program is six months for more basic training to two years for an ASE certification.  There are certification exams to take and pass for ASE.

How Much Does an Auto Mechanic Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 740,000 auto mechanics.  This occupation is expected to show a 5% growth by 2024.

The average salary for an auto mechanic in 2015 was $40,700 annually.  The top 10% of mechanics earned $63,000.

Geographic location, certification, experience, and specialization could have a significant impact on these earnings.  Auto mechanics on the East and West coast tend to earn a higher salary.

An Opportunity for Felons?

While each technical school and training program has its own criteria, there is enough demand for qualified mechanics that many programs will accept a felon.

With the opportunity to specialize in different types of engines, from small to large to diesel jobs are available.

A good avenue for a felon wanting to become an auto mechanic is to find a job as a mechanic helper to start.  Then they can gain experience and demonstrate how far they have come in a positive direction since their conviction.

After a couple of years’ experience, it will be more likely that they will be accepted into an auto mechanic program.

Tips for getting hired as a mechanic are:

  • Apply to a small auto shop rather than a large one to increase the chance of finding a job
  • Be open to starting as a mechanic helper to begin
  • Make a good impression on an employer in an interview

In order to be successful in their pursuit of becoming an auto mechanic, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background.  Lying about their conviction will prevent them from becoming an auto mechanic.

It is important to be honest in filling out an application for certification.  If a felony isn’t disclosed but found on doing a background check, this constitutes fraud and is a punishable crime.

For anyone considering not being honest about their felony, it is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful in this pursuit, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. Lying about their conviction will prevent them from becoming an auto mechanic.

They are already working with the often negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

There are many success stories, as the Guide to Being Employed, reveals, showing how having a goal, commitment, dedication, and perseverance can assist felons in achieving their dream.

There are re-entry programs, such as drug treatment, and educational opportunities.

Having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming an auto mechanic.

Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that they have not been convicted of a crime.

For employers, there is a Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring a felon.

Felons have been shown to make good employees.

Supporting a Felon in Becoming an Auto Mechanic

For families of felons wanting to pursue a dream of becoming an auto mechanic, encourage your loved one and support their efforts to live an honest life, change their lifestyle, and keep their dreams alive.

They have made mistakes and been incarcerated, but they have paid the consequences for their past actions.  They are not defined by their crime.

It is time for them to move forward and live an honest life.

Your family member is worth making the effort for, if they are sincere in their desire to become an electrician.

Help them realize their ambition no matter how difficult the road might be.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become an auto mechanic with a felony?  What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.


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