Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Connecticut
Becoming an automotive service technician or mechanic requires a lot of specialized knowledge and skill, much of which is learned on the job. The best way to begin a career working on cars or trucks is to complete a secondary or post-secondary certificate or degree program. These programs offer coursework and hands-on learning that can help you land a first job in a dealership or garage. [En Español]
In Connecticut, mechanics and auto body workers start with one of the state’s National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) accredited education programs and then go on to get on-the-job experience and training to become ASE certified. Some students choose to earn a general certificate or degree in automotive technology, while others go through manufacturer-specific programs. Either path can lead to a great career in Connecticut with job growth and competitive salaries.
The overall job growth in careers in auto service technology, body work and repair, and diesel engine or heavy truck repair is strong for all states, including Connecticut. There are expected to be thousands of new jobs available for qualified candidates between now and 2030.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 8,000 auto mechanics working in Connecticut in 2020, a number that continues to grow.
The average annual salary for a mechanic working in Connecticut in 2021 was $47,450. The highest earners in the state, those mechanics with more experience, education and specialized certifications, made an average of $76,240 in 2021. Working as a mechanic on cars is not the only career for automotive technology.
Those trained to work with buses, trucks and diesel engines earned an average annual salary of $60,270 with top earners making $93,300. Body repair and collision workers in Connecticut made an average salary of $48,070 and the top 10 percent earned $71,950. Areas of the state with the highest salaries for mechanics and collision workers are in Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury and Waterbury.
Salaries in Connecticut by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||8,310||$22.81||$47,450||$29,830|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||**||$18,23||$37,920||$28,470|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||1,570||$23,11||$48,070||$36,080|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||2,400||$28,97||$60,270||$37,500|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Connecticut by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||2,560||$23,71||$49,310|
|New Haven, CT||1,340||$24,30||$50,550|
|Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI||570||$23,68||$49,250|
Auto Mechanic Schools in Connecticut
Auto mechanic training programs that prepare students to work as mechanics or in body repair are accredited by NATEF. They may offer certificates, diplomas or two-year associate degrees in general automotive technology or in specialty areas. Some also offer manufacturer-specific programs to prepare students to work in those dealerships.
- Gateway Community College. The North Haven campus of Gateway offers a couple of different automotive technology programs, which culminate in associate degrees. The Comprehensive Automotive Repair and Service program teaches students the skills needed for entry-level work as mechanics. Gateway also offers the General Motors ASEP, a program designed by General Motors to prepare students to work on their vehicles. Students may also choose to complete the Honda PACT program. Gateway’s programs prepare students to pass all eight areas of specialty ASE certification.
- Naugatuck Valley Community College. Naugatuck students can enroll in the school’s ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician Program to earn an associate’s degree. The program is accredited by NATEF and offered in conjunction with the National Automotive Dealership Association. Students have the flexibility to choose to complete the courses on a full-time or part-time basis and will be prepared for entry-level work.
- Port and Chester Institute. For a shorter program, Port and Chester in Stratford, Enfield, Rocky Hill, Waterbury and Branford offers students a year-long certificate course. Upon completion of the program students are prepared to land an entry-level mechanic or service job and continue training on the job to become certified.
High school students can also work toward an entry-level mechanic position by completing vocational programs in Connecticut:
- Bristol Technical Education Center. This unique program offers coursework for juniors and seniors in high school as well as adult students. The automotive technology program is a one-year program of courses that train students to work as entry-level mechanics. Students can also participate in the school’s Work-Based Learning program which helps them get hands-on experience and job placement so they can get to work right after graduating.
- Bullard-Havens Technical High School. Located in Bridgeport, Bullard-Havens offers a program for high school students to be prepared to work in automotive technology immediately after graduating. Students come from five different cities and also participate in Work-Based Learning.
Entry-level Connecticut auto techs, collision and body workers, and heavy truck mechanics do not have to have certification. However, most do achieve certification after more training on the job. ASE, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, offers several different certifications for mechanics. To qualify to take the certification exams you must have a certificate or degree as well as one year of work experience, or just two years of work experience.
Working as a Mechanic in Connecticut
For qualified graduates and workers with additional experience, mechanic and automotive technology jobs are numerous in Connecticut. The areas with the most jobs available are Hartford, West Hartford, East Hartford, Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk. Jobs are available in collision and body shops, dealerships, independent garages and service stations. With training and dedication to keep learning on the job, you could have any one of these careers in Connecticut.