Emergency Vehicle Technician Career

Overview

An emergency vehicle technician (EVT) is an expert in the field of repairing and servicing emergency vehicles that include ambulances, law enforcement vehicles, mobile investigation units, SWAT vehicles, fire trucks and so on. They may work in repair shops, service stations, dealerships or remain on call throughout the day. At times they may also work in-house at airports, fire stations, law agencies and so on.

The emergency vehicle technician is responsible for the general health of the vehicle to ensure that breakdowns do not occur during crucial times. After running its rounds and delivering the necessary service, the emergency vehicle must be well maintained and ready for its next trip. It is a job that requires hard work, attention to detail and adherence to industry quality standards. A lot of lives are at stake which is why there is no room for error.

Education Requirements

A 2 year vocational program or an associate’s degree in Automotive Systems Technology or a similar academic field can be considered entry level education in this field of vehicle technology. These programs provide the basic academic knowledge and exposure to students to understand how automobile systems work and function. Exposure to new technologies, methods and equipment is also provided to students at this level.

Bulk of the learning occurs on the job as students gain valuable practical experience that helps them relate academic knowledge and practical application. Once a student has gained a certain level of experience while learning under a supervisor, he is ready for professional certification and training. The Emergency Vehicle Technician Certification Commission Inc., (evtcc.org) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ase.com) are the two leading authorities on vehicle technician certification programs and training. You should consult with these two resources for further knowledge on certification programs regarding exam schedules, preparation material, future prospects and course content.

Job Duties

The job duties of an emergency vehicle technician are quite straight forward and primarily related to the health and maintenance of the emergency vehicle. Job duties may vary depending on the type of emergency service offered, size of the company and the number of vehicles. Some of the most common duties are as follow;

  1. Ensure that before every dispatch the vehicle must be in fully working and functioning condition
  2. Run accurate diagnostics and tests thoroughly on the vehicles and their systems
  3. Conduct internal system and external body tests for damage
  4. Tune and service the engine to ensure it is in optimal working condition
  5. Document each vehicle’s findings, test results, repair details etc.
  6. Perform an engine overhaul, check and maintain brakes, suspension and lights
  7. Maintain workshop equipment and tools that are necessary for diagnosing, testing and repairing vehicles
  8. Negotiating with suppliers and vendors for best possible price for parts
  9. Convert vehicles for specialized usage such as police cars, fire engines, ambulances etc.
  10. Determine depreciation, life and longevity of vehicle with respect to usage
  11. Install performance and functional updates on vehicle

Career Outlook

There is also demand for well qualified and experienced emergency vehicle technicians because the services rendered by companies saves lives and prevents damage from spreading. Police officers, fire fighters and so on heavily rely on their vehicles for functional support and backup to assist them. It is therefore imperative that these emergency vehicles always provide maximum performance. In order to ensure this flawless performance, the skills and expertise of emergency vehicle technicians are in demand.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), the employment of vehicle technicians is expected to grow during the decade of 2010 to 2020. This is good news for those who are interested in this field. A number of factors can contribute to this expanding economic outlook.

For starters, as the average population in the United States increases, the demand for emergency vehicles such as ambulances to cater to potential emergencies and accidents is on the rise. Therefore, qualified and skilled vehicle technicians are needed to ensure the functioning of ambulances. Another contributing factor is the increasing caution and prevention exercised by the crime and justice department. Expanding the police force, preparing for terrorist attacks and clamping down on crime has increased the usage of specialized vehicles which in terms requires more emergency vehicle technicians to maintain such vehicles.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) the average hourly wage for automotive technicians in general is about $16.24. The average annual salary for emergency vehicle technicians is about $44,000 (indeed.com). Naturally as you gain more experience in the market while working on a number of cases, your earning potential may increase.

What can further increase your earning potential are certification and training. With certification under your belt you can hope to earn between $21.56 and $27.22 per hour.

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