Becoming an Auto Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Washington D.C.
There are many employment opportunities available for auto mechanics in the District of Columbia, with jobs as automotive technicians, automotive body and related repairers, automotive glass installers and repairers, and bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. [En Español]
The best way to begin a career as a mechanic is to start with an Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) program in high school. To advance in the field and earn a higher salary, more education and experience will lead to more opportunities. The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is the coveted certificate needed in order to gain higher positions throughout an automotive career. To become ASE certified a mechanic must pass an exam and have enough related on-the-job experience. Some certifications available include service consultants, damage analysis and estimates, school bus certifications, exhaust specialists and electric vehicle specialists.
According to the May 2017 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 350 automotive service technicians and mechanics were employed in Washington, D.C. at the time. The District of Columbia is small in size, so the majority of the data is from the greater metropolitan area, including Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia.
In D.C and surrounding metro areas, there were 12,580 automotive service technicians and mechanics, 2,060 automotive body repairers, 440 automotive glass installers and repairers, and an additional 2,980 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists employed in 2017.
In the D.C. metropolitan area, according to 2017 BLS statistics, automotive mechanics earned an average salary of $51,120 annually, or $25 per hour. Entry-level positions averaged $26,170 annually, or $13 per hour. The average salary increased to $49,480 per year, or $24 per hour, as experience grew. Automotive technicians and mechanics could earn as much as $77,820 per year, or $37 an hour, in the Washington D.C region.
Automotive body and related repairers in the Washington D.C area earn an average of $55,180 per year, or $27 per hour. Automotive body repairers have the highest average salary for all mechanic jobs in the Washington D.C area. The average salary for entry-level jobs is $26,550 per year, or $13 an hour. Similarly, automotive glass installers and repairers earn an average of $32,400 a year, while automotive glass installers and repairers could earn up to $49,060 annually.
Truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists in Washington D.C earn an average salary of $54,490, or $26 per hour. Entry-level truck mechanics or diesel specialists make an average of $35,210 annually, or $17 an hour, and up to an average of $53,830 yearly, or $26 hourly, with additional experience. Truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists could earn around $77,100 per year, or $37 an hour.
Salaries in DC by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%||Highest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||390||$31.04||$64,560||$37,410||$123,730|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||**||$32.35||$67,290||$47,680||$81,620|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||130||$26.89||$55,930||$34,510||$77,770|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in DC by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
Popular Automotive Programs in Washington D.C.
Some individuals are able to begin their training and work as mechanics before they graduate high school. In the Washington, D.C. region there are a few schools that offer AYES programs. The Arlington Career Center and Thomas Edison High School of Technology are among those schools, and many high schools in the area offer standard automotive programs.
For post-secondary automotive education, The Excel Institute is the only school in the District of Columbia. The Excel Institute is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). The curriculum is certified by the ASE to properly prepare trainees to receive their certification.
Lincoln College of Technology has a campus in nearby Columbia, MD, with programs in automotive mechanics, technology, automotive service management and automotive technology with AUDI educational partnership. NATEF certified, the college curriculum prepares students for advanced jobs in the automotive industry.
The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) offers many automotive programs, including manufacturer-specific programs such as General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program, Ford Motor Company Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET) and Toyota Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN). CCBC offers an associate of applied science for automotive technology with an option for a manufacturer-specific program, as well as credit and non-credit certifications.
Where to Find Work in Washington D.C.
Anywhere in the Washington, D.C metropolitan area will have plenty of job opportunities for mechanics. It’s fairly easy to commute throughout the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. Mechanics in the area can find jobs as automotive shops or work at dealerships. The opportunity to receive training for specific manufacturers will improve one’s chances of working for a particular dealership.
* 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.
At present there are no NATEF accredited high school programs in the state of Montana.