Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Iowa

If you’re looking for a job where you can apply your problem-solving skills and spend your days working with cars and trucks, you should look into becoming an automotive technician or mechanic. Auto technicians can work in the field as mechanics, auto body repairers, auto glass installers, diesel mechanics, and bus and truck mechanics. [En Español]

In Iowa, there are no special licensing requirements to work as a mechanic, however additional education and experience in the field will offer more opportunities for employment. Many high schools offer classes, and there are a wide variety of college and technical schools that have programs for those who are interested in pursuing a career in automotive technology.

The Job Outlook in Iowa

Iowa had a total of 13,950 automotive technology specialists working in the state, according to the May 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. This represents 7,970 auto service technicians and mechanics, 1,670 auto body and related repairers, 150 auto glass installers and repairers, and 4,160 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. These numbers are expected to increase by 8.4 percent in the next decade to 2024.

Mechanic Salaries in Iowa

Mechanics in Iowa earn a competitive salary, according to the BLS. In May 2017, the average salary for auto service technicians and mechanics was $40,660 annually or $19.55 hourly. Auto body repairers and bus and truck mechanics and diesel mechanics earned even more, with auto body repairers averaging $41,130 annually and truck and bus drivers and diesel mechanics averaging $42,500. The top bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists earned as much as $61,780 annually.

Salaries in Iowa by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%Highest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics8,480$18.58$38,650$22,430$57,090
Automotive Body and Related Repairers1,730$19.10$39,720$22,080$62,020
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers170$15.33$31,880$22,110$41,020
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists4,030$19.91$41,410$26,210$59,750

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Iowa by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Ames, IA290$19.70$40,980
Cedar Rapids, IA770$19.71$40,990
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL1,040$18.61$38,720
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA1,760$19.74$41,050
Dubuque, IA330$18.34$38,140
Iowa City, IA350$19.71$40,990
Iowa City, IA2,200$20.75$43,150
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD460$17.68$36,760
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA480$17.56$36,530

Auto Mechanic Programs in Iowa

There are several colleges throughout the state of Iowa that offer both certificate programs and degree options for students interested in pursuing additional education.

  • Kirkwood Community College. Located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this community college offers a certificate program in auto collision repair and an associate degree program in automotive technology, with an option for students to complete the Toyota T-TEN program, a specialized program offered by Toyota that offers internship opportunities at local dealerships.
  • Des Moines Area Community College. This school offers both a certificate program and an associate degree program in auto technology. They also offer participation in GM ASEP, where students get real-world work experience with participating dealerships through General Motors.

There is one high school in Des Moines that offers additional educational opportunities for students. Des Moines Central Campus High School is a NATEF-accredited school.

ASE Certification

ASE Certification is available for auto technicians who have a minimum of two years of experience and can pass a test demonstrating their knowledge and skills. This test is offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Having an ASE certificate shows potential employers and customers that you are a highly-trained and skilled auto technician.

Working as an Auto Mechanic in Iowa

Job opportunities in Iowa are plentiful, especially in the areas of Omaha and Council Bluffs, as well as the Davenport, Moline and Rock Island region. Des Moines is another area that is rich with job opportunities, especially for auto service technicians and mechanics. The BLS report from May 2017 showed 2,110 auto service technicians in Omaha, 1,610 in Des Moines and 1,170 in the Davenport region. Most bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists were concentrated in the Omaha area, with a total of 1,300 jobs reported. The highest earners in this industry worked in the Omaha area.

Entry-level jobs in auto technology require a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Cedar Rapids, IA Area

Kirkwood Community College

6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2068
(319) 398-5411
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Kirkwood Community College’s Associate-level Automotive Technology program is offered at their campus in the city of Cedar Rapids, IA. This public college has in the region of 14,368 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The Automotive Technology program is offered with the option of completing a Toyota T-TEN program. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $4,362 and for students from other states around $5,202 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $2,500, depending on the program.

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Area

Eastern Iowa Community College District

306 W River Dr, Davenport, Iowa 52801-1221
(563) 336-3300
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program, Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Eastern Iowa Community College District offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Davenport. This public college has round 8,383 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $4,570 and for students from other states around $6,912 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,600, although this varies from program to program.

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Area

Des Moines Area Community College

2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa 50023-3993
(515) 964-6241
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Des Moines Area Community College offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. All programs are taught at their campus in Ankeny in Polk County. Most of the school’s 22,298 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The Automotive Technology program is offered with the option of completing a GM ASEP program. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $4,410 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,820 annually. Learning materials may cost around $1,526, although this will vary with the program.

Vatterott College-Des Moines

7000 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50321
(515) 309-9000
Diesel Mechanic – Associate Program

Vatterott College offers various Associate program options for mechanics. All programs are offered at their Des Moines campus in the city of Des Moines. Most of the school’s 172 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $12,419 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $2,521, depending on the program.

Northeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

North Iowa Area Community College

500 College Dr, Mason City, Iowa 50401
(641) 423-1264
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

The Automotive Technology Certificate program in Automotive Technology at North Iowa Area Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Mason City, Iowa. Most of the school’s 2,947 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $5,003 and for out-of-state students in the order of $7,113 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $969, although this will vary with the program.

Northeast Iowa Community College

1625 Hwy 150, Calmar, Iowa 52132-0400
(563) 562-3263
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Automotive Technology at Northeast Iowa Community College is based at their campus in Calmar in Winneshiek County, IA. This public college has in the region of 4,865 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $5,012 and for students from other states around $5,152 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,400, although this will vary with the program.

Northwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

Iowa Central Community College

One Triton Circle, Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501
(515) 576-7201
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Iowa Central Community College’s Associate-level Automotive Technology program is taught at their campus in the town of Fort Dodge, IA. This public college has in the order of 5,634 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be around $5,580 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $7,815 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,200, depending on the program.

Iowa Lakes Community College

19 S 7th St, Estherville, Iowa 51334-2295
(712) 362-2601
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

The Automotive Technology Associate’s degree program in Automotive Technology at Iowa Lakes Community College can be taken at their campus in the town of Estherville, IA. The college has in the order of 2,315 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $5,900 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,252 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,300, depending on the program.

Northwest Iowa Community College

603 W Park St, Sheldon, Iowa 51201
(712) 324-5061
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program, Automotive & Light Duty Diesel Technology – Associate Program

Northwest Iowa Community College offers various Certificate program options for mechanics, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Sheldon in Obrien County. The majority of of the school’s 1,612 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $5,760 and for students from outside the state around $6,060 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,312, although this varies from program to program.

Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Area

Iowa Western Community College

2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503-1057
(712) 325-3200
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program, Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Iowa Western Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Most of the school’s 6,472 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $5,472 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $5,632 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,253, depending on the program chosen.

Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Area

Western Iowa Tech Community College

4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51102-5199
(712) 274-6400
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program, Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Western Iowa Tech Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Sioux City. This public college has approximately 6,152 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is generally around $4,200 and for out-of-state students approximately $4,224 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,224, although this will depend on the program.

Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Ave, Ottumwa, Iowa 52501
(641) 683-5111
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Automotive Technology at Indian Hills Community College is offered at their campus in the town of Ottumwa. The majority of of the school’s 4,773 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $3,960 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $5,760 yearly. Study materials can cost around $1,248, although this will depend on the program.

Marshalltown Community College

3700 S Center St, Marshalltown, Iowa 50158
(641) 752-7106
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Marshalltown Community College’s Certificate-level Automotive Technology program is taught at their campus in Marshalltown in Marshall County. The college has in the order of 1,923 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $4,536 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $4,824 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,100, depending on the program chosen.

Southeastern Community College

1500 West Agency Road, West Burlington, Iowa 52655-0180
(319) 752-2731
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

The Automotive Technology Certificate program in Automotive Technology at Southeastern Community College is based at their campus in the town of West Burlington, IA. This public college has in the region of 2,868 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $5,220 and for students from other states around $5,370 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,254, although this will vary with the program.

Southwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

Southwestern Community College

1501 West Townline Street, Creston, Iowa 50801
(641) 782-7081
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program, Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Southwestern Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the town of Creston, Iowa. This public college has in the region of 1,656 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $5,490 and for students from outside the state in the order of $5,700 per year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,254, although this will vary with the program.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA Area

Hawkeye Community College

1501 E Orange Rd, Waterloo, Iowa 50701
(319) 296-2320
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

The Automotive Technology Associate’s degree program in Automotive Technology at Hawkeye Community College is offered at their campus in the city of Waterloo, IA. This public college has roughly 5,370 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $4,786 and for students from outside the state in the order of $5,496 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,254, although this will vary with 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.

Neighbor States

See options in the neighboring states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.

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 Iowa. 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.

Des Moines

City: Des Moines

Des Moines Central Campus High School

1800 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 242-7846

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: James Nelson
Tel: (515) 242-7846
Programs: Automobile Service Technology