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 2017 there were 1,940 auto mechanics, 540 diesel mechanics and 390 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 four percent in employment of auto mechanics by the year 2024. Furthermore, auto body and collision repairers are looking at an expected eight-percent increase and diesel mechanics an 11-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 2017, states that auto mechanics in Delaware make $20.36 an hour or $42,340 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%||Highest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||1,950||$20.30||$42,220||$26,450||$61,380|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||490||$21.91||$45,570||$31,930||$62,960|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||460||$23.50||$48,880||$35,770||$61,630|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Delaware by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
Auto Mechanic Programs and ASE Certification 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 NATEF 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.
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.
100 Campus Drive, Dover, Delaware 19901
Automotive Technician – Certificate Program
Delaware Technical Community College’s Certificate-level Automotive Technician program is based at their Terry campus in the city of Dover, DE. The college has roughly 13,471 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $4,607 and for students from other states in the order of $10,899 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,600, depending on the 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 Delaware. 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.
Sussex Technical High School
17099 W Market St, Georgetown, DE 19947
Automotive Program: AYES
Contact: Harold Bunting
Tel: (302) 856-0961
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair
Auto Body/Collision Program: AYES
Contact: Jim Friedel
Tel: (302) 856-0961
Programs: Non-Structural Analysis/Damage Repair, Painting and Refinishing, Structural Analysis and Damage Repair
Paul M. Hodgson Vo-Tech High School
2575 Glasgow Ave., Newark, DE 19702
Contact: Adam Talley
Tel: (302) 838-4092
Programs: Automatic Transmission & Transaxle, Brakes, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Engine Performance, Engine Repair, Heating and Air Conditioning, Manual Drive Train & Axles, Suspension & Steering