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.
According to the data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May of 2017 there were 1,600 automotive technicians employed in Alaska. Additionally, there were 820 diesel mechanics, 280 body and collision repair workers, and 60 glass installers and repairers working in the state. By the year 2024, the number of automotive technicians is predicted to rise by five percent. Glass installers and repairers in the state are expected to see the highest rise in employment, with a predicted increase of seven percent. Body and collision repairers follow with an expected increase of six percent, and diesel mechanics are expected to see a four-percent rise in employment.
Whether you learn through hands-on training or complete a post-secondary training program, a lot of time and work must be put into honing your skill as an auto mechanic. The salary reflects that effort.
In 2017, Alaska was the highest paying state for automotive technicians, as reported by the BLS. Furthermore, Fairbanks and Anchorage were the first and third highest paying metropolitan areas, and Southeast Alaska was the highest paying non-metropolitan area in this career field. Automotive technicians in Alaska earn an average $27.48 hourly and $57,150 annually. Those with more experience and certification are paid as much as $82,880 annually.
Within the state, diesel mechanics are the top earners in auto service. They are paid an average of $65,410 annually and can make up to $87,030 annually. Furthermore, body and collision repairers earn an annual average of $61,410, and glass installers and repairers report an annual average of $33,480.
Salaries in Alaska by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%||Highest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||1,530||$26.17||$54,440||$29,640||$78,960|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||270||$25.74||$53,540||$34,520||$70,900|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||130||$15.98||$33,240||$25,610||$45,220|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||870||$30.15||$62,710||$42,960||$84,900|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Alaska by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
Auto Mechanic Programs 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 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 ASE certified, you will need to retake the test 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.
3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Automotive Technology – Associate Program
The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Associate program is based at their campus in the city of Anchorage. Of the 16,762 students, about 5% are postgraduates. The University of Alaska Anchorage has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the university has NATEF program accreditation. The Automotive Technology program is offered with the option of completing a GM ASEP program. Fees for tuition for in-state students are generally around $5,784 and for out-of-state students approximately $17,990 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,608, depending on the program chosen.
505 South Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7500
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program
The Certificate program in Automotive Technology at University of Alaska Fairbanks is taught at their campus in Fairbanks in Fairbanks North Star County. Of the 8,638 students, about 13% are postgraduates. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the university has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $5,976 and for out-of-state students around $18,184 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,400, although this will depend on the program.
11066 Auke Lake Way, Juneau, Alaska 99801-8697
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program
The University of Alaska Southeast’s Certificate-level Automotive Technology program is based at their campus in the town of Juneau. Of the 2,800 students, about 12% are postgraduates. The University of Alaska Southeast has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $8,415 and for students from other states around $22,550 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,400, depending on the program chosen.
809 Second Avenue, Seward, Alaska 99664-0889
Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technologies – Certificate Program
AVTEC-Alaska’s Institute of Technology offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. All programs are offered at their campus in Seward in Kenai Peninsula County. The majority of of the school’s 970 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 100%. The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $3,250 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $2,491, although this varies from program to program.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.
Below is a list of NATEF accredited high school programs, offering training in automotive technology, autobody and collision repair and diesel mechanic programs in the state of Alaska. Please note that accreditation status is correct at the time of writing and may have since changed. Please check with the school and with NATEF before making any commitment.