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 performingmultipoint 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.

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 2017, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total of 4,080 mechanics in the state of Hawaii. Of that total, 2,740 were auto mechanics and auto service technicians. There were 870 diesel mechanics and 470 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 six 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 2017, the BLS information showed that of the main three auto mechanic fields,diesel mechanics have highest salaries with an average hourly wage of $28.50, or $61,460 annually. The highest salary for diesel mechanics was reported at $38.27 per hour, or $79,610 per year.

Auto body and collision repair workers were earning an average of $25.73 per hour, or $53,520 annually. The top paid auto body workers that year were paid an average hourly wage of $36.01 or $74,910 per year. Service technicians’ average hourly pay in May 2017 was $21.55, or $44,820 per year, with pay reaching an average of $30.92 per hour, or $64,320 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%Highest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics2,690$20.88$43,420$23,900$63,480
Automotive Body and Related Repairers530$24.39$50,720$32,390$71,410
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists960$26.69$55,510$35,130$76,680

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Hawaii by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI310$18.75$39,010
Urban Honolulu, HI1,790$21.65$45,030

Auto Mechanic Programs in Hawaii

There are lots of college options 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 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.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Hawaii / Maui / Kauai nonmetropolitan area Area

Hawaii Community College

1175 Manono Street, Hilo, Hawaii 96720-5096
(808) 934-2500
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Hawaii Community College offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. All programs are imparted at their campus in the town of Hilo. Most of the school’s 3,087 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $3,084 and for out-of-state students in the order of $8,220 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $952, although this varies from program to program.

Kauai Community College

3-1901 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue, Hawaii 96766-9500
(808) 245-8225
Automotive Technician – Certificate Program

The Automotive Technician Certificate program in Automotive Technician at Kauai Community College is taught at their campus in Lihue in Kauai County. Most of the school’s 1,401 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $3,132 and for out-of-state students in the order of $8,268 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $952, although this will vary with the program.

University of Hawaii Maui College

310 W Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, Hawaii 96732-1617
(808) 984-3500
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Automotive Technology at University of Hawaii Maui College is taught at their campus in the city of Kahului. The college has around 3,593 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The University of Hawaii Maui College has institutional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $3,150 and for out-of-state students in the order of $8,286 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $952, although this will vary with the program.

Honolulu, HI Area

Honolulu Community College

874 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817-4505
(808) 845-9211
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Honolulu Community College offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Honolulu, Hawaii. The college has around 4,328 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $3,054 and for out-of-state students in the order of $8,190 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $952, although this will vary with the program.

Leeward Community College

96-045 Ala Ike, Pearl City, Hawaii 96782-3366
(808) 455-0011
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Leeward Community College’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in Pearl City in Honolulu County, HI. Most of the school’s 7,535 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $3,084 and for students from other states around $8,220 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $952, depending on the program chosen.

* 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.

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 Hawaii. 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.

Waimanalo

City: Waimanalo

Hawaii Job Corps

41-467 Hihimanu St., Waimanalo, HI 96795
(808) 259-6079

Automotive Program

Contact: Joann Espinosa
Tel: (808) 259-6079
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair