Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Delaware
A career in automotive mechanics is ideal for anyone who enjoys spending time working on cars and trucks in addition to doing work that is hands-on and varies from day to day. In Delaware, you can not only find work as an auto mechanic but also as an auto body and collision repairer or diesel mechanic. [En Español]
There are no statewide requirements to work in Delaware as an entry-level auto mechanic. Most employers will require a valid drivers license and a high school diploma. A background check may be required by some employers. Post-secondary education may be preferred but not required. Many employers require some experience, while post-secondary programs provide on-the-job training that will give students that experience prior to looking for a job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2020 there were 1,960 auto mechanics, 580 diesel mechanics and 400 auto body and collision repairers employed in the state of Delaware. Employment in the automotive repair field is on the rise nationally. In Delaware, there is a predicted increase of one percent in employment of auto mechanics by the year 2030. Furthermore, auto body and collision repairers are looking at an expected three percent increase and diesel mechanics a seven percent increase in employment. The cities of Wilmington and Dover report the highest employment in the state for all types of mechanics.
The work that auto mechanics, diesel mechanics and body and collision repairers do is often difficult and requires a lot of skill and physical labor. The salaries in this profession reflect that, even for those just beginning their careers. The more training a mechanic has, as well as experience and any certifications, the higher the salary may be.
The most recent BLS data, which is from May 2021, states that auto mechanics in Delaware make $23.05 an hour or $47,940 yearly. Those in the highest tenth percentile can make as much as $65,430. Auto body and collision repairers earn $20.06 hourly and $41,730 yearly. While auto mechanics are the most employed in this field in Delaware, diesel mechanics are the top earners, making $23.81 an hour, or $49,520 a year, with the potential to make up to $64,510 a year.
Salaries in Delaware by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||1960||$23,05||$47,940||$29,270|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||**||$18,23||$37,920||$28,470|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||410||$18,25||$37,970||$26,000|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||580||$23,27||$48,390||$35,720|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Delaware by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
ASE Certification and Auto Mechanic Schools in Delaware
Since Delaware is a smaller state, there are only a handful of secondary and post-secondary automotive technician training programs in the state. However, the quality of education provided is no different than that of larger states, as all of these programs prepare students for further certification through Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
- Delcastle Technical High School, St. Georges Technical High School and Hodgson Vo-Tech High School are all part of the New Castle County VoTech School District and offer an auto technology program. Delcastle and Hodgson both offer an auto body repair program as well.
Since all of these schools are part of the same Vo-Tech school district, the guidelines are the same. Students apply for admission during their eighth-grade year. In ninth grade, those in the program will take precursory classes to let them experiment with different specialties before choosing a career path they would like to continue on. They will then take classes for that career path over the remainder of their high school years in conjunction with their regular academic curriculum. Students enrolled in these programs can continue their education after high school by going on to complete a certificate or degree program at a post-secondary school. They may also wish to test for ASE certification. Students who want to go right to work after graduation may look for work as an auto mechanic, diesel mechanic, engine performance specialist, drivability specialist, brake tech, transmission tech or auto parts specialist.
- Polytech High School is in the Polytech school district of Delaware and offers a National Automotive Technician Educational Foundation (NATEF) accredited automotive technology program. Students are taught shop procedures, preventative maintenance, safety in the workplace, tool and equipment procedures, and mathematics and science skills. Completing this program will give students the opportunity to pursue a career as an auto mechanic, whether they continue with post-secondary education or begin work immediately after graduation.
- For those considering a post-secondary education in auto technology in Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College is the top choice. DTCC offers both a certificate program as well as an associate degree program, and both can be taken at the Georgetown and Stanton campuses. The certificate program combines classroom lectures with lab experience and an internship. Graduates can then take the exam to become ASE certified, look for employment or continue their education with an associate degree in Automotive Technology. The associate degree program is a two-year program and is ASE accredited to train students in the areas of automatic transmission, brakes, electrical systems, engine performance and repair, suspension and steering, heating and air conditioning and manual drive train and axles.
ASE certification is not a requirement to work as an auto mechanic in Delaware, but many mechanics choose to become certified in one or more areas. This not only gives them the potential to earn more but also provides more job opportunities. Those interested in obtaining ASE certification must either have two years of work experience or a certificate or degree in automotive technology as well as one year of work experience. Certification must be renewed every five years by retaking the exam.
Various types of certification tests are available, and each one covers a different area of auto mechanics. The tests are offered year-round at testing centers around the state. Students who want to become certified in more than one area may take multiple tests at once or spread them out over time.
Some of these certification tests include:
- Truck equipment certification tests: These tests cover areas such as truck-mounted crane operation, dump truck operation and air brake systems.
- School bus certification tests: These tests cover areas such as school bus operation, school bus air brake systems and school bus inspection.
- Alternate fuels certification test: These tests cover areas such as compressed natural gas vehicle operation and electric vehicle operation.
- Light repair certification test: This test covers areas such as basic automotive maintenance and light repair.
- Light truck certification tests: This test covers areas such as light truck operation and inspection.
Working as a Mechanic in Delaware
Those interested in pursuing a career in auto mechanics in Delaware can look for employment in places such as repair and body shops, auto dealerships, garages, parts stores and service stations. Some mechanics may choose to work on a specific vehicle or specific type of repair, including large vehicles, motorcycles, transmissions or brakes. They may do specialty work in garages or work in a shop that caters to what they specialize in.
In Delaware, mechanics in the Dover and Wilmington areas are not only the highest employed but the highest paid. These areas would be ideal to begin looking for work. Although the state is small, the opportunities to work as an auto mechanic in Delaware are great, as is the earning potential.