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Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Alaska

If you enjoy solving problems logically, working with your hands and have an eye for detail, then a career in auto mechanics may be of interest to you. Depending on job availability, you could find work as an automotive service technician, body and collision repairer, glass repairer or diesel mechanic. Through on-the-job or post-secondary training you can learn how to repair pretty much any part of most automobiles. [En Español]

Becoming an automotive technician in Alaska is not too difficult. Most shops only require a high school diploma or GED, and training can be learned while on the job. However, some larger places of employment such as dealerships or service centers may prefer to hire automotive technicians with experience and certification.

The Job Outlook in Alaska

According to the data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May of 2020 there were 1,660 automotive technicians employed in Alaska. Additionally, there were 650 diesel mechanics, 320 body and collision repair workers, and 70 glass installers and repairers working in the state. By the year 2030, the number of automotive technicians is predicted to rise by six percent. Glass installers and repairers in the state are expected to see the highest rise in employment, with a predicted increase of zero percent. Body and collision repairers follow with an expected increase of six percent, and diesel mechanics are expected to see a twelve percent rise in employment.

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Auto Mechanic Salaries in Alaska

The automotive service industry encompasses a wide range of specialized roles, each with distinct responsibilities and salary ranges. The primary occupations within this field include Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers, Automotive Body and Related Repairers, and Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists. This essay will compare the salaries for these roles in Alaska and provide a regional comparison to illustrate the variations in pay across different areas.

The salary data for automotive service-related roles reveal notable regional variations. For instance, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics in Alaska have a median annual salary of approximately $46,880. This is somewhat lower than in high-cost living areas like San Francisco, CA, where the median salary is about $66,060. The cost of living and demand for specialized skills significantly influence these salary variations.

Salaries in Alaska by Occupation

Occupation Annual Low (10%) Annual Median (50%) Annual High (90%)
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics $34,320 $46,880 $73,830
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers $29,280 $40,950 $60,530
Automotive Body and Related Repairers $31,660 $47,350 $74,300
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists $37,630 $54,500 $76,490

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Alaska by Region

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Q1 (25%) Annual Median (50%) Annual Q3 (75%) Annual High (90%)
Anchorage, AK $38,710 $46,010 $59,870 $72,410 $90,520
Fairbanks, AK $36,940 $45,230 $58,760 $70,330 $86,730
Balance of State $35,670 $43,820 $57,330 $68,450 $84,120

Auto Mechanic Schools in Alaska

If you are looking for a post-secondary auto repair program in Alaska, there are several to choose from. Some are certificate programs, but there are also two-year programs in which you can earn an Associate degree.

  • University of Alaska Anchorage. The University of Alaska in Anchorage offers both an undergraduate certificate in general automotive technology program as well as an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Automotive Technology degree program. Both programs take two years to complete, but the undergraduate program has fewer credit hours, as general education hours are not required. Both programs are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Students enrolled in the AAS program must also be able to exhibit computer proficiency.

If you enroll in the AAS program, you have two options: General Automotive (GA) and General Motors ASEP (GMASEP). These programs have different admissions preconditions, but aside from the final semester the coursework is the same for both.

The GMASEP option is sponsored by General Motors Company and provides work experience at a participating GM dealership while the student is completing the program. Instructor approval is required for this option.

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College. The UAF offers a certificate program in automotive technology. Combining in-class instruction and hands-on teaching, this program prepares students for entry-level work as an automotive technician. In order that students receive as much individual attention as possible, class size for this program is limited to 18 students per semester. This program is not only NATEF-accredited but it is approved by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) as well.
  • University of Alaska Southeast. The University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau has an automotive technology certificate program available. As with most auto technology certificate programs, this program enables students to be able to work as an entry-level auto mechanic by teaching them the basic technical skills they will need to perform their job. This program can usually be completed in as little as one year.

ASE Certification

ASE certification may be preferred by some employers, but it is not required. Automotive technicians that hold ASE certification are likely to have more job opportunities and earn a higher salary. To take an ASE exam, you must have two years of related work experience or one year of work experience plus a certificate or degree. There are many sub-categories that you can test in. These tests are challenging, but they can be retaken. Once you are certified, you will need to retake the ASE certification exam every five years to remain certified.

Working as a Mechanic in Alaska

Automotive technicians, body and collision repair workers, diesel mechanics, and glass installers and repairers in Alaska can look for work in places such as dealerships, service stations, independent shops and fleet repair shops. Most employers will require a driver’s license as well as clean driving record. You can also be expected to stand for long periods of time, lift heavy objects and operate heavy machinery, so the physical ability to do all of these is expected.

Fairbanks and Anchorage are where you will find the most work as an automotive technician, diesel mechanic or body and collision repairer. If you like working on vehicles and want to earn a living doing so, a career in auto mechanics in Alaska would be an excellent choice.

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