The Differences Between an Automotive Machinist and a Mechanic

If you’ve been considering a career in the automotive industry, you’ve likely heard about automotive machinists and automotive mechanics. But do you know the difference between the two?

difference between automotive machinist and mechanic

It’s important to know exactly what each job does and the career opportunities each skill set makes available. This will help you decide on the career that interests you before enrolling in a specific technical school or automotive program. That way, you receive the correct training and appropriate degree for the profession of your choice, which will put you in the best position for landing the job you want when you graduate.

What Is an Automotive Machinist?

Automotive machinists work with one of the most important parts of an automotive vehicle: the engine. They can perform maintenance on the engine, as well as upgrades to improve the car’s overall performance. They can also make repairs to parts of the engine and install replacement parts as required. Think of an automotive machinist as a specialist for a car (or other vehicle) engine. Machinists often have careers in the automotive racing industry, because of the importance the engine plays to a winning race car and team.

What Is an Automotive Mechanic?

If the auto machinist is a specialist, the auto mechanic is a general repairman. A mechanic can run diagnostics on an entire vehicle and, in most cases, make repairs as necessary. Mechanics may do everything from changing tires and recalibrating balance to replacing a timing belt and installing a new car battery. Sometimes auto mechanics specialize in specific types of maintenance and repairs, such as tire installation and rotation, as well as oil and air filter maintenance. As such, mechanics may find jobs in auto repair shops, maintenance garages, tire centers, and more.

How Do I Become an Automotive Machinist?

Both automotive machinists and mechanics typically require formal education, with certification and even an associate’s degree being the end goal upon graduation. Reputable schools and courses require both classroom time and hands-on training so that students learn procedures and processes before working directly with any car parts. Students also need to learn the technology that’s in today’s vehicles.

If you’re interested in becoming an automotive machinist, be sure to enroll in an automotive machinist school, such as the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology (SAM Tech). Because an automotive machinist is focused on engines, you want to make sure you’re receiving an education that focuses on engines too. Otherwise, if you enroll in a program for certification as an auto mechanic, you’ll only gain passing knowledge of an engine and not the in-depth experience you’ll need to become an auto machinist.

Automotive machinist school will focus almost completely on teaching you about automotive engines, including the block and the cylinder heads. You’ll also be taught how to operate the machining equipment used to create and modify the engine and its parts. Additionally, students learn the difference between standard and high performance and what changes and adjustments to an engine are necessary to generate different levels of power output.

If you’re interested in race cars and tinkering around with car engines, then a career as an automotive machinist might be perfect for you. SAM Tech is the automotive machinist school to consider, not only for its courses and degrees but also for its connections to the motorsports industry. Both our school and our graduates are esteemed by companies in the industry, including elite racing teams and race engine builders. Contact SAM Tech today to find out more. We’ve been churning out automotive machinists since 1985.


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