Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Indiana
Indiana is a great state to work in as an automotive technician or mechanic. There are plenty of job opportunities in the major population centers as well as in rural areas. And becoming a mechanic in the state is as simple as starting with a diploma or certificate program at a technical school or community college. As long as you are willing to complete a short program and begin with an entry-level job and continue with hands-on training, you are ready to begin an exciting new career working with cars and trucks. [En Español]
In 2017 there were over 14,000 mechanics working in Indiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There were also over 8,000 mechanics specializing in trucks, buses and diesel engines, and more than 3,000 people working in collision and auto body repair. The overall growth for careers for automotive service technicians and those in auto body and truck repair is strong. The BLS reports that growth is at six percent and that there will be tens of thousands of new positions available for qualified workers over the next several years.
A good salary is one important factor that draws individuals to this career. Working with cars and trucks requires specific training and skills, and the pay reflects it. From BLS data, the average salary for auto mechanics in Indiana in 2017 was $40,170 per year or $19.31 per hour. The specialized skills needed to work with trucks and diesel engines net these workers even more at $44,200 annually and $21.25 per hour. Auto body repairers earned $41,860 per year and $20.13 per hour in 2017.
These are average salaries for the whole state, but pay can be higher depending on location. For instance, in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area, the average annual salary for mechanics in 2017 was $46,820. Workers in these fields can also earn more when they have years of experience and special training or certifications. The highest 10 percent of earners in Indiana in 2017 made an average of $61,690 per year.
Salaries in Indiana by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%||Highest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||14,160||$19.01||$39,540||$22,190||$60,950|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||3,190||$21.34||$44,390||$23,570||$67,470|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||450||$14.90||$31,000||$17,520||$45,360|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||8,120||$20.43||$42,500||$28,180||$60,270|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Indiana by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Fort Wayne, IN||1,140||$18.47||$38,420|
|Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN||410||$17.56||$36,530|
|Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN||2,860||$18.21||$37,890|
|Michigan City-La Porte, IN||170||$14.64||$30,450|
|South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI||1,350||$16.00||$33,280|
|Terre Haute, IN||360||$18.01||$37,470|
Automotive Tech Training Programs in Indiana
Completing a post-secondary program is not strictly required to become a mechanic in Indiana, but employers prefer to hire new workers who have the important background knowledge provided in an educational program. Training typically continues on the job after being hired. Some of the available programs in Indiana include:
- Ivy Tech Community College. Ivy is one of the biggest providers in the state of automotive-related diplomas, certificates and degrees, with multiple campuses including in Bloomington, Elkhart, Peru, Muncie and numerous other cities. Students can choose an associate degree, a five-semester program, in automotive technology for a comprehensive education. Also available are shorter certificate programs in a variety of areas of specialization, including truck chassis systems, alternative fuels, collision repair, motorsports technology and others. Ivy also offers students the Toyota T-TEN program, which trains mechanics to work specifically as certified Toyota and Lexus technicians and helps place graduates at these dealerships.
- Vincennes University. Located in Vincennes, Indiana, this campus provides career-minded students with an associate degree program in automotive technology. The program offers an education that covers all the basics of working as a mechanic and prepares students to become certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The program includes 60 credit hours of coursework, but there are extras that can be added including courses in electronics and alternative fuels.
- Lincoln Tech. The Indianapolis campus of Lincoln Tech has a certificate program with just 29.5 credit hours of coursework. Courses include engine repair, performance tuning, air conditioning, electrical systems, brake systems, and steering and suspension. The program prepares students for entry-level work in a repair or service setting and to continue training while on the job.
Auto Tech Training for High School Students
Indiana also has several programs available for high school students to complete in order to be ready for entry-level work in auto service upon graduation. These are available at technical centers and career academies throughout the state, including the Area 31 Career Center in Indianapolis and the Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center in Evansville, among many others. High school programs are guided and accredited by ASE’s Automotive Youth Education Systems.
Certification as a mechanic is done through ASE, and there are several areas of specialization. The more certifications a mechanic has, the greater his or her employability. ASE offers several different certification exams in Indiana. To qualify for them a mechanic needs either two years of work experience or one year of work experience after completing a training program.
Working as a Mechanic in Indiana
Being trained and ultimately certified as an auto service tech, a diesel and heavy truck mechanic or an auto body and collision repair worker opens up many opportunities for employment in Indiana. Qualified individuals may be hired by dealerships, service stations, and chain and independent repair and body shops. While there are always jobs in more rural areas, the largest number of jobs is in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin area, in and around Indianapolis, near Cincinnati and in Jefferson County.
Ivy Tech Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Indianapolis. This public college has in the order of 81,668 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. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $4,175 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,052 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,196, depending on the program chosen.
7225 Winton Drive – Building 128, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268
(317) 632-5553 x40400
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program
Lincoln College of Technology offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. All programs are offered at their Indianapolis campus in the city of Indianapolis. This private, for-profit college has approximately 1,103 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. Tuition fees for the Automotive Technology program are in the order of $29,575 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,722. Program completion is usually 14 months.
1002 N First St, Vincennes, Indiana 47591
Automotive Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s degree program in Automotive Technology at Vincennes University is taught at their campus in the town of Vincennes, Indiana. Most of the school’s 18,711 students are on 4-year programs. The university 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 $5,575 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $13,184 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,274, 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.
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 Indiana. 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.
Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center
1901 Lynch Rd., Evansville, IN 47711
Contact: Bryan Ruble
Tel: (812) 435-8823
Programs: Automobile Service Technology
Contact: Jim Buente
Tel: (812) 435-8824
Programs: Brakes, Diesel Engines, Drive Train, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Heating and Air Conditioning, Preventive Maintenance Inspection, Suspension & Steering
J. Everett Light Career Center
1901 E. 86th St., Indianapolis, IN 46240
Contact: Dana Wilcox
Tel: (317) 259-5265
Programs: Automobile Service Technology
Walker Career Center
9651 E. 21st St., Indianapolis, IN 46229
Contact: Kevin Cannaday
Tel: (317) 532-6150
Programs: Brakes, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Engine Performance, Engine Repair, Suspension & Steering
Auto Body/Collision Program
Contact: Kevin Cannaday
Tel: (317) 532-6150
Programs: Non-Structural Analysis/Damage Repair, Painting and Refinishing