How to Become a BMW Mechanic
Intense and focused training to get you into the industry ahead of the game
Becoming a mechanic can prove to be a daunting task. To run your own shop, thousands of dollars are required to invest in tools, space, and other capital. An alternative to becoming a general technician is to specialize in a certain make, and BMW is one make which an aspiring technician can specifically learn. To successfully make it to the BMW service center, a mechanic must complete a series of steps; all of the steps are outlined here.
Step 1: Attain Necessary Education to Become a General Technician
Just like most other professions, becoming a technician involves building off of an educational foundation. The foundation includes a high school diploma or G.E.D. as well as post-secondary training. While getting out of high school is normally cut and dry, there are some options with an aspiring BMW mechanic decides to take the next step into post-secondary school. The first option for many young mechanics is going to be a high school course offered. These courses typically end with the opportunity to get some kind of certification, so they are great for getting a head start into the field. The next step is to enroll in a post-secondary education program.
Technical schools or community colleges are usually the next block in the foundation of a tech’s education. When it comes to becoming a BMW tech, some of the best schools to attend include UTI (with an 80% rate of employment for graduates) and Lincoln College of Technology. Both of these technical schools offer BMW-specific training after the general course completion.
Step 2: Get Real Field Experience
Nothing is as impactful to a mechanic’s ability to fix a car as their own experience in the field. You can read as many textbooks and manuals as you want, but until you actually get out in a shop where you actually crank wrenches, you will be severely lacking in knowledge. While BMW does not directly require work field experience, it cannot hurt to work in a shop to earn the time stamp and a little bit of extra cash during the college years. One common job for tech school students to accept is a repair shop doing simple repairs on vehicles. This work is definitely a positive on any application.
Step 3: Gain ASE Certifications
The traditional mechanic certification program is ASE. While it is not necessary to gain any ASE certification to get into the BMW STEP program, it definitely does not hurt. It is important to begin the process of ASE certification after two years of shop experience (one if the applicant gained some sort of post secondary education). While any one of the nine automobile ASE programs will be helpful with BMW vehicles, electrical/electronic system certification is probably the most important knowledge to have on modern vehicles. Moving on down the line, engine repair and automatic transmission are also going to be essential for shop jobs. With this said, engine performance is the program that most standard technicians probably do not need as most in-shop work will be repairs and not performance based.
Step 4: BMW STEP and FastTrack
The most popular training program for aspiring BMW mechanics is BMW STEP. STEP (Service Technician Education Program) is a seven month course that specialized students in BMW vehicles including everything from 3-series to the M-series. There are different levels of STEP, with level 1 (the seven month course) being the most prestigious and the level which trains students to become master technicians. STEP II, which is an abridged version of STEP, provides the student with an eight-week course that will set the student on the track to become a BMW master technician. Typically, STEP II is for technicians who already have jobs at BMW dealerships. BMW FastTrack is a 12-week program that provides the student with some BMW credits. While it will set the student above those with just ASE certification, it is not even comparable to BMW STEP.
Step 5: Apply, Interview, and Work
After gaining BMW training, it is time to find a job and begin making that degree work. Most institutes which provide BMW STEP training and FastTrack training provide a “hook-up” with BMW dealerships. According to BMW statistics, nine out of ten mechanics do not end up working at the dealership they originally wanted to, so keep this statistic in mind before setting your mind on a certain area.