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Becoming an Auto Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Idaho

Becoming an auto mechanic is a great career for anyone who wants a well-paying job and an action-packed workday. One will be able to diagnose, repair, maintain and overhaul the latest makes and models of vehicles used in the automotive, trucking, construction, industrial and farming industries.[En Español]

In Idaho, auto mechanics, auto body repairers and diesel mechanics are in demand because of their low count compared to the number of registered vehicles in the region. One just has to prove that he or she possesses the required technical knowledge and skills and will be rewarded in this profession.

Job Outlook in Idaho

To accommodate all motor vehicles in need of service, the number of auto workers must be proportional to the number of vehicles in an area. In Idaho, over 607,902 automobiles, 3,877 buses and 1,164,527 trucks were registered in the year 2016, according to the Federal Highway Administration. However, the May 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that only 4,780 automotive service technicians, 810 automotive body and related repairers, 280 automotive glass installers and repairers, and 1,760 bus and truck mechanics were employed at the time. This disparity in ratio suggests plenty of job openings await aspiring mechanics in the region. Furthermore, Projections Central predicted that from the year 2020 through 2030, there will be a 8% and 15% increase in employment of automotive body and related repairers and diesel mechanics, respectively.

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Mechanic Salaries in Idaho

Entry-level auto mechanics’ compensation in the Gem State starts at an average of $13.84 per hour or $28,780 annually according to the BLS. The average annual salary was $41,470 and went as high as $61,210 a year for more experienced and tenured automotive service technicians. A similar result was seen for diesel engine specialists, whose annual earnings ranged from $35,830 to $63,620, with the lower end of the values representing the payment to new hires and the higher amount for the veteran auto workers. Automotive body and related repairers took home an average of $47,310 a year. Their entry-level counterparts earned an average of $29,860 a year, which was below the average annual salary of beginner diesel mechanics.

Salaries in Idaho by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics4,780$19.94$41,470$28,780
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers280$22.70$47,220$29,760
Automotive Body and Related Repairers810$22.75$47,310$29,860
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists1,760$22.69$47,200$35,830

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Idaho by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Boise City, ID1,550$20,64$42,930
Coeur d’Alene, ID400$21,67$45,070
Idaho Falls, ID360$21,01$43,690
Lewiston, ID-WA170$22,13$46,030
Pocatello, ID180$19,70$40,980
Twin Falls, ID310$20,71$43,070

Auto Mechanic Schools in Idaho

In Idaho, there are several auto mechanic training institutions that prepare students for a career in the automotive industry. Programs that are approved by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) are recommended. Sometimes a high school diploma would be sufficient to enter the automotive workforce, but post-secondary studies are endorsed as that increases one’s earning potential and chances of being hired immediately. An important industry certification, which is a must for every mechanic, is conferred by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and is available for different specializations. It indicates a mechanic’s qualification for the job.

Post-Secondary Programs:

  • College of Western Idaho (CWI). This campus offers NATEF-accredited associate degree and certificate programs in automotive and auto body technology. Their automotive tech course is in partnership with Ford and provides students an opportunity to become Ford Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) Certified Technicians during their first year in the program. The auto body tech program trains students in the fine art of vehicle painting and restoration, and prepares them for entry-level positions such as parts orderer and runner, paint technician, insurance estimator and even as shop owner and manager.
  • North Idaho College (NIC). With ASE Master Technician instructors and certificate and associate degree automotive tech programs that meet the NATEF standards, NIC offers students a mix of classroom and hands-on learning that will give them a head start in their automotive career. NIC’s curriculum covers the eight ASE areas that will prepare students for the ASE examination.
  • College of Eastern Idaho (CEI). CEI is proud of its graduates’ job placement standing for the last five years, at 97.78 percent and 100 percent in the fields of auto and diesel technology, respectively. CEI offers a promising auto and diesel mechanic career through its certificate program that can be completed in as little as 10 months and an associate degree program within 29 months. Their curriculum is endorsed by NATEF and includes lectures and hands-on application in five ASE areas of automotive vehicle repair and three ASE topics on heavy duty diesel repair.

Secondary Programs:

  • Dennis Tech Center (DTC). Located in Wilder, DTC has three automotive courses approved by NATEF: auto body (collision repair) technology, automotive technology and heavy equipment/diesel technology. Handled by capable instructors who always keep abreast with the latest in the auto industry and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, CTI grooms students to enter employment upon graduation or to proceed to post-secondary schooling in a nearby college such as the College of Western Idaho.

There are over 40 certification tests administered by the ASE, covering different aspects of auto and diesel mechanics. In Idaho, the most popular ASE exams taken by mechanics are:

  • Light truck certification tests
  • Light repair certification test
  • Truck Equipment certification tests
  • Alternate fuels certification test
  • Transit bus certification tests

Where to Find Work in Idaho

Boise City employed only 1,720 automotive service technicians, 200 auto body and related repairers, and 530 diesel mechanics in May 2020, according to the BLS. Other areas trailed far behind: only 390 auto mechanics were hired in Logan and 90 auto body repairers and 150 diesel mechanics were active in Idaho Falls at the time. There is also a high demand for auto workers in other areas of the state: Lewiston, Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello.

Graduates of automotive and diesel tech programs can work at independent repair shops, auto parts dealers, truck stops or service stations, transmission and specialty shops, small and large dealerships, state and federal transportation departments, and semi-truck and farm equipment dealers.

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