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Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Hawaii

Students in Hawaii wishing to break into the auto mechanicfield have many options to explore that can lead them to a successful career. Many people have joined the automotive workforce in different capacities and areas of expertise and at varying levels of education and training. Deciding which kind of auto mechanic you want to be is a good first step in the road to reaching your professional goal. [En Español]

If you’re considering a career as an auto maintenance or service technician, a high school diploma is sufficient for some entry-level positions at most Hawaiian auto service businesses. Once hired, you will receive on-the-job training for common service technician responsibilities, such as learning standard car maintenance, which includes performing multi-point inspections, inspecting fluid levels, checking and changing oil, replacing oil, air and A/C filters, testing and replacing batteries, checking tire pressure and much more.

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Another good option at the entry-level end of the mechanic spectrum is glass installer/repairer. This job doesn’t require any prior certifications or licenses, and you can learn as you go.

However, if you want to become an auto mechanic in Hawaii there are some requirements you need to meet in order to make that goal a reality. In Hawaii, both the repair shop and the mechanic must have a license in order to operate. There are three kinds of auto mechanic licenses available in the state: the automotive license, the motorcycle license and the truck license.

Start with a postsecondary education at an accredited school then obtain an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification, followed by one or more of the three automotive mechanic licenses issued by the state of Hawaii. These items take some time and effort to accumulate, but your effort will bring you earning potential that wouldn’t be possible without them. Those requirements extend to collision and custom body repair mechanics and diesel mechanics too. Auto body and collision workers repair the more superficial parts of vehicles and, if employed in a custom shop, can be more creative with paint jobs and custom fitted car body accessories. Diesel mechanics are responsible for the repairing of larger trucks and buses, and they can work on almost any diesel powered automobiles.

You have several paths to choose from when getting started in the auto mechanic field, but most employers will require a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent for entry-level positions. If you enjoy learning how to diagnose and fix vehicles, there are many options at the secondary level to prepare you for an automotive career. High schools across the country are now partnering with the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation (ASE) to meet the accreditation criteria required to prepare and motivate the new automotive service labor force.

Job Outlook in Hawaii

In 2020, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total of over 4,000 mechanics in the state of Hawaii. Of that total, 2,340 were auto mechanics and auto service technicians. There were 980 diesel mechanics and 800 auto body and collision repair mechanics. Currently, the job outlook for auto mechanic careers in Hawaii is growing and is forecasted to continue to increase by 3.2 percent over the next eight years. Hawaiian mechanics of every specialty are in demand, and there is a healthy job market for quality candidates to take advantage of. The more education and training you have, the more prospects you will have, which can lead to a larger salary.

Mechanic Salaries in Hawaii

In May of 2021, the BLS information showed that of the main three auto mechanic fields,diesel mechanics have highest salaries with an average hourly wage of $29.11, or $60,550 annually. The highest salary for diesel mechanics was reported at $36.98 per hour, or $76,910 per year.

Auto body and collision repair workers were earning an average of $22,78 per hour, or $43,370 annually. The top paid auto body workers that year were paid an average hourly wage of $36.02 or $74,930 per year. Service technicians’ average hourly pay in May 2021 was $23,23 or $48,320 per year, with pay reaching an average of $37.19 per hour, or $77,350 per year. Like many other professions, auto mechanic salaries vary by specialty, but it is easy to see that the more effort you put into your education and career, the more you will receive for that hard work.

Salaries in Hawaii by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics2,340$23.23$48,320$29,160
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers**$22.87$47,560$29,420
Automotive Body and Related Repairers850$22.78$47,370$23,840
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists980$29.11$60,550$38,210

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Hawaii by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI340$26,46$55,030
Urban Honolulu, HI1,760$25,18$52,370

Auto Mechanic Schools in Hawaii

Auto mechanic schools and colleges are available to students in Hawaii who are interested in earning a formal education in automotive technology. The schools listed below all offer ASE-accredited programs that can benefit any aspiring automotive mechanic. All three colleges offer students the chance to earn an Automotive Technician Certificate and/or an Automotive Technology Associate Degree.

  • Hawaii Community College is located in Hilo, Hawaii
  • Kauai Community College campus is in Lihue, Hawaii
  • University of Hawaii Maui College, Kahului, Hawaii

ASE Certification

Anyone interested in working as an auto mechanic in Hawaii can advance their career and earn more money by earning an ASE certificate.

ASE Certification is earned by passing one or more exams provide by ASE, some of which include:

  • Truck equipment certification tests
  • Light repair certification test
  • Engine machinist certification tests
  • Light truck certification tests
  • School bus certification tests

ASE is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent organization that certifies automotive workers in basic automotive knowledge. Applicants seeking the automotive certificate must have two years of work experience or one year of work experience plus a post-secondary certificate or degree to be allowed to take the certification test. The ASE also works closely with high schools and vocational schools in order to prepare the automotive workforce of the future.

Where to Work as a Mechanic in Hawaii

Hawaii has open auto mechanic positions all across the state, but the most of the automotive work is found in the Honolulu area. Entry-level service technicians can easily find work at local oil and lube shops, while body work specialists and master mechanics can offer their expertise at various custom shops and dealerships across the islands. As far as diesel mechanics are concerned, there is never a shortage of work anywhere in the state.

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