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 2020 there were over 14,500 mechanics working in Indiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There were also over 8,700 mechanics specializing in trucks, buses and diesel engines (see diesel mechanic schools in Indiana), and more than 3,600 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 three 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 2021 was $45,650 per year or $21.95 per hour. The specialized skills needed to work with trucks and diesel engines net these workers even more at $47,400 annually and $22,79 per hour. Auto body repairers earned $46,980 per year and $22,59 per hour in 2021.
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 2021 was $47,640. 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 2021 made an average of $63,850 per year.
Salaries in Indiana by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||14,520||$21.95||$45,650||$28,910|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||290||$18.16||$37,780||$29,490|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||3,670||$22.59||$46,980||$29,580|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||8,720||$22.79||$47,400||$36,790|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Indiana by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Fort Wayne, IN||1,080||$19,76||$41,110|
|Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN||320||$21,63||$44,990|
|Michigan City-La Porte, IN||200||$20,96||$43,590|
|South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI||610||$21,66||$45,050|
|Terre Haute, IN||300||$20,75||$43,160|
Auto Mechanic Schools 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.
To earn certification, one must pass one or more exams offered by the ASE, some of these exams include:
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Light repair certification test
- Light truck certification tests
- School bus certification tests
- Transit bus certification tests
- Engine machinist certification tests
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.