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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 following topics may be covered in an automotive technology program:

  • Auto mechanics
  • Engine repair
  • Auto maintenance
  • Electrical systems
  • Engine performance
  • Air conditioning
  • Fuel systems
  • Brake systems

The Job Outlook in Iowa

Iowa had a total of 13,950 automotive technology specialists working in the state, according to the May 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. This represents 8,210 auto service technicians and mechanics, 2,060 auto body and related repairers, 260 auto glass installers and repairers, and 4,680 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. These numbers are expected to increase by 8.4 percent in the next decade to 2030.

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Mechanic Salaries in Iowa

Mechanics in Iowa earn a competitive salary, according to the BLS. In May 2021, the average salary for auto service technicians and mechanics was $38,550 annually or $18,54 hourly. Auto body repairers and bus and truck mechanics and diesel mechanics earned even more, with auto body repairers averaging $47,120 annually and truck and bus drivers and diesel mechanics averaging $48,050. The top bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists earned as much as $64,020 annually.

Salaries in Iowa by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics8,210$18.54$38,550$28,740
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers260$17.85$37,130$29,610
Automotive Body and Related Repairers2,060$22.66$47,120$29,830
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists4,680$23.10$48,050$37,010

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Iowa by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Ames, IA230$26,78$55,710
Cedar Rapids, IA600$21,87$45,490
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL910$21,08$43,850
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA1,510$22,53$46,860
Dubuque, IA260$21,25$44,200
Iowa City, IA310$22,51$46,820
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD440$22,09$45,960
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA390$20,73$43,120

Auto Mechanic Schools 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 2020 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.

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