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 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that only 3,820 automotive service technicians, 620 automotive body and related repairers, 140 automotive glass installers and repairers, and 1,650 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 2014 through 2024, there will be a 25.7% and 27.9% increase in employment of automotive body and related repairers and diesel mechanics, respectively.

Mechanic Salaries in Idaho

Entry-level auto mechanics’ compensation in the Gem State starts at an average of $10.79 per hour or $22,450 annually according to the BLS. The average annual salary was $41,690 and went as high as $62,140 a year for more experienced and tenured automotive service technicians. A similar result was seen for diesel engine specialists, whose annual earnings ranged from $27,240 to $58,900, with the lower end of the values representing the payment to new hires and the higher amount for the veteran auto workers. However, the top earners were the tenured automotive body and related repairers who took home an average of $74,370 a year. Their entry-level counterparts earned an average of $25,490 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%Highest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics3,620$19.20$39,940$20,610$61,150
Automotive Body and Related Repairers650$21.18$44,050$25,860$65,660
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers140$17.42$36,230$21,850$54,920
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists1,610$19.52$40,590$27,040$57,000

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Idaho by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Boise City, ID1,560$19.29$40,120
Coeur d'Alene, ID330$19.48$40,520
Idaho Falls, ID290$22.17$46,120
Lewiston, ID-WA110$16.49$34,310
Lewiston, ID-WA430$16.75$34,830
Pocatello, ID220$16.67$34,670

Popular Automotive Programs in Idaho

In Idaho, there are several educational 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.

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 2017, 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.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Boise City-Nampa, ID Area

College of Western Idaho

5500 East Opportunity Drive, Nampa, Idaho 83687
(208) 562-3000
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program, Automotive Technology – Associate Program

College of Western Idaho offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in Nampa in Canyon County, ID. This public college has about 8,391 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $3,336 and are $4,536 and $7,344 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $696, although this varies from program to program.

Coeur d’Alene, ID Area

North Idaho College

1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2199
(208) 769-3300
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

North Idaho College offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Coeur d’Alene, ID. The college has about 5,543 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $3,288 and are $4,624 and $8,160 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,248, although this will vary with the program.

East Idaho nonmetropolitan area Area

Brigham Young University-Idaho

525 S Center, Rexburg, Idaho 83460-1690
(208) 496-1411
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

The Automotive Technology Associate’s degree program in Automotive Technology at Brigham Young University is offered at their Idaho campus in the town of Rexburg, ID. The majority of of the school’s 43,803 students are on 4-year programs. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the university has NATEF program accreditation. Fees for tuition are, as a rough guide, about $3,920 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $784, although this varies from program to program.

Idaho Falls, ID Area

Eastern Idaho Technical College

1600 S 25th E, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83404-5788
(208) 535-3000 x3371
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Eastern Idaho Technical College offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Idaho Falls. This public college has about 688 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $2,434 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,836 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $2,600, although this varies from program to program.

Lewiston, ID-WA Area

Lewis-Clark State College

500 8th Ave, Lewiston, Idaho 83501-2698
(208) 792-5272
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Lewis-Clark State College offers various Associate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Lewiston. Most of the school’s 3,633 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $6,120 and for students from other states around $17,620 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,650, depending on the program chosen.

Pocatello, ID Area

Idaho State University

921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, Idaho 83209
(208) 282-2700
Automotive Technology – Associate Program, Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Idaho State University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Pocatello. This is a full, 4-year public college with 13,078 students, of which 86% are undergraduates. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the university has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $6,956 and for students from other states around $21,023 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,000, depending on the program.

Southcentral Idaho nonmetropolitan area Area

College of Southern Idaho

315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
(208) 733-9554
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

College of Southern Idaho offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Twin Falls. This public college has in the order of 7,548 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $3,120 and are $4,120 and $6,720 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost about $990, although this will depend on 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 Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

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 Idaho. 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.

BoiseWilder

City: Boise

Dennis Technical Education Center

8201 W. Victory Rd., Boise, ID 83709
(208) 854-5813

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: Irene Westrick
Tel: (208) 854-5812
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair

Auto Body/Collision Program: AYES

Contact: Scott Moore
Tel: (208) 854-5813
Programs: Painting and Refinishing

Truck Program: AYES

Contact: Irene Westrick
Tel: (208) 854-5812
Programs: Brakes, Diesel Engines, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Preventive Maintenance Inspection, Suspension & Steering

City: Wilder

Canyon-Owyhee School Service Agency TEC

109 Penny Lane, Wilder, ID 83676
(208) 482-6074

Automotive Program

Contact: Gary Schleicher
Tel: (208) 482-6074
Programs: Maintenance and Light Repair, Mathematics

Truck Program

Contact: Greg Hale
Tel: (208) 482-6074
Programs: Brakes, Diesel Engines, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Preventive Maintenance Inspection, Suspension & Steering