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Service Station Attendant

Service Station Attendant

Education and Training None

Salary Median—$8.33 per hour

Employment Outlook Poor

Definition and Nature of the Work

Service station attendants perform a variety of tasks for motorists and boaters. They pump gasoline, check oil and water levels, clean windshields and other windows, and add air to tires. Most sell and install products, such as spark plugs and windshield-wiper blades. At some stations, attendants check transmission and brake fluid levels, charge batteries, and repair or change tires. They all take payments, make change, and give directions.

Duties vary from station to station. Smaller establishments may have only one attendant, who provides all services. Large stations may employ several attendants, each of whom has specific duties such as pumping gas and making minor repairs or replacing parts.

Some attendants make road calls to help stranded motorists by changing tires, recharging batteries, or making other minor repairs. Sometimes they tow vehicles to their stations for additional repair work.

Education and Training Requirements

Employers prefer to hire high school graduates, although the job has no specific educational requirements. No experience is required, and on-the-job training is common. Several large companies do offer training courses, however. Some high schools have vocational courses that combine students' last two years of school with part-time work as service station attendants.

Employers prefer applicants who have driver's licenses, a general understanding of how automobiles work, and some sales ability. They also should be familiar with local roads, highways, and points of interest so they can give directions to strangers and locate vehicles whose owners have called for road service. Marina service stations require employees to be familiar with basic boat maintenance, boat safety, and local waterways.

Attendants should be friendly, speak well, and be able to make change quickly and accurately and keep business records.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to service stations. Newspaper classified ads may list job openings.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement depends on individual goals. For attendants who are not interested in becoming supervisors, advancement is very limited. They may become expert in making certain kinds of repairs and advance to the job of mechanic's helper. With additional training, they can become automobile or boat mechanics. Those who have business management skills may advance to station manager. Many experienced station managers go into business for themselves by leasing stations from oil companies or buying their own stations. Oil companies hire some service station managers as sales workers or district managers.

Employment of service station attendants is expected to decline through 2014. Self-service gas stations have eliminated many jobs, and most motorists go to repair shops or oil-changing establishments. However, some drivers prefer to patronize full-service gas stations, so a certain number of attendants may always be needed.

Working Conditions

Service station attendants must be outdoors in all kinds of weather. Their work tends to be dirty, especially if they make repairs. Many attendants work forty to fifty hours per week, often at night and on weekends. Employees at larger stations usually work in shifts. Attendants get extra pay for overtime.

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings vary, depending on the station, its location, and the kind and amount of work done. In 2004 the median wage for service station attendants was $8.33 per hour. Attendants with more responsibility, such as those who do minor repairs and maintenance, earned more than $10 per hour. Attendants sometimes receive commissions on the goods they sell or bonuses.

Where to Go for More Information

Service Station Dealers of America/National Coalition of Petroleum Retailers and Allied Trades
1532 Pointer Ridge Pl., Ste. E
Bowie, MD 20716
(301) 390-4405

Benefits for full-time personnel may include health insurance and paid vacations. Some employers furnish uniforms and pay for cleaning them.

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