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 Job Outlook for Mechanics and Auto Techs in Connecticut

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 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 8,000 auto mechanics working in Connecticut in 2017, a number that continues to grow.

Salaries for Connecticut Mechanics

The average annual salary for a mechanic working in Connecticut in 2017 was $48,110. The highest earners in the state, those mechanics with more experience, education and specialized certifications, made an average of $71,390 in 2017. 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 $56,970 with top earners making $79,300. Body repair and collision workers in Connecticut made an average salary of $49,130 and the top 10 percent earned $64,440. 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

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%Highest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics8,430$21.66$45,060$24,550$66,080
Automotive Body and Related Repairers1,640$23.43$48,740$27,370$67,440
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers**$17.77$36,970$31,960$44,700
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists2,170$26.16$54,410$35,540$76,670

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Connecticut by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT1,930$22.19$46,150
Danbury, CT550$22.92$47,670
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT2,840$21.14$43,960
New Haven, CT1,280$22.75$47,320
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI630$20.10$41,820
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI1,650$20.13$41,860
Waterbury, CT520$22.53$46,860
Waterbury, CT1,500$20.68$43,010

Automotive Technology Programs in Connecticut

Automotive 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.

ASE Certification

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.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Area

Gateway Community College

20 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510
(203) 285-2000
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Gateway Community College’s Certificate-level Automotive Technology program is offered at their campus in the city of New Haven. Most of the school’s 7,980 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $4,168 and for students from other states around $12,504 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

Naugatuck Valley Community College

750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Connecticut 06708-3089
(203) 575-8040
Automotive Technician – Certificate Program

Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Certificate-level Automotive Technician program is taught at their campus in Waterbury in New Haven County, Connecticut. This public college has in the region of 6,976 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $4,208 and for out-of-state students in the order of $12,544 per year. Study materials can cost about $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Porter and Chester Institute of Branford

221 W Main St, Branford, Connecticut 06405
(203) 315-1060
Automotive Technician – Certificate Program

Porter and Chester Institute of Branford’s Certificate program is based at their campus in Branford in New Haven County, Connecticut. The majority of of the school’s 256 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $17,220 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.

Porter and Chester Institute of Stratford

670 Lordship Blvd, Stratford, Connecticut 06615-7158
(860) 529-2519
Automotive Technician – Certificate Program

Porter and Chester Institute of Stratford’s Certificate program is offered at their campus in the city of Stratford, Connecticut. The college has round 1,961 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $17,220 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,500, although this varies from program to program.

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Area

Bristol Technical Education Center

431 Minor Street, Bristol, Connecticut 06010
(860) 584-8433 x304
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Bristol Technical Education Center offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their campus in Bristol in Hartford County, CT. Most of the school’s 46 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The Automotive Technology program, with a duration of 900 contact hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is over 80%. Tuition fees are generally around $3,760 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $500, although this will depend on the program.

Lincoln Technical Institute-East Windsor

97 Newberry Road, East Windsor, Connecticut 06088
(860) 627-4300 x46600
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Lincoln Technical Institute offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their East Windsor campus in East Windsor in Hartford County. The college has in the order of 875 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The Automotive Technology program, with a duration of 88 credit hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is over 80%. Tuition fees for the Automotive Technology program are about $30,836 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,400. The typical program completion time is 17 months.

* 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.

Neighbor States

See options in the neighboring states of New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.

NATEF Accredited Secondary School Programs

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 Connecticut. 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.

AnsoniaBridgeportDanielsonMilfordNorwichWindham

City: Ansonia

O’Brien Technical High School

141 Prindle Ave., Ansonia, CT 6401
(860) 774-8511

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: Ignacio Vega
Tel: (860) 774-8511
Programs: Automobile Service Technology

City: Bridgeport

Bullard Havens Technical High School

500 Palisade Ave., Bridgeport, CT 6610
(203) 581-0882

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: Roxanne Amiot
Tel: (203) 581-0882
Programs: Brakes, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Engine Performance, Suspension & Steering

City: Danielson

Ellis Technical High School

613 Upper Maple St., Danielson, CT 6239
(860) 456-3847

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: Brendan Smith
Tel: (860) 456-3847
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair

City: Milford

Platt Technical High School

600 Orange Ave., Milford, CT 6460
(203) 783-5381

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: Kirk Stankiewicz
Tel: (203) 783-5381
Programs: Automobile Service Technology

City: Norwich

Norwich Technical High School

7 Mahan Dr., Norwich, CT 6360
(860) 889-8453

Automotive Program

Contact: Michael Kaiser
Tel: (860) 889-8453
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair

City: Windham

Windham Technical High School

210 Birch St., Windham, CT 6226
(860) 456-3679

Automotive Program

Contact: Bob McConnell
Tel: (860) 456-3679
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair