Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Kansas
To become an auto mechanic or truck mechanic in Kansas, all you really need is a willingness to learn and be trained. There are no official educational requirements, but it helps to get a certificate or two-year degree before seeking a job. With that education you can expect to land a great entry-level position at which your training will continue on the job. Then, you can get certified and be ready to work just about anywhere and to earn an even better income. [En Español]
Job growth in the automotive technology and repair industry is strong, growing at six percent and with thousands of new jobs expected to be available between now and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2020, the BLS recorded that there were 6,080 automotive service technicians working in Kansas, with the highest number working in Kansas City. There were also 2,690 bus and truck mechanics and 1,770 body and collision repairers.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for a mechanic in Kansas in 2021 was $37,820. For truck mechanics, who have additional training and skills, it was $47,870. The top earners in these areas made an average of $61,210 and $74,520, respectively. This reflects the fact that there is a lot of room to advance, specialize and use experience to earn a greater income. In 2021, the highest paid auto and truck mechanics in Kansas were in St. Joseph and Wichita.
Salaries in Kansas by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||6,080||$18.18||$37,820||$23,540|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||**||$19.05||$39,620||$29,080|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||1,770||$19.34||$40,240||$23,440|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||2,690||$23.01||$47,870||$36,290|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Kansas by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
Auto Mechanic Schools in Kansas
Programs for automotive service technicians and truck and diesel mechanics are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Those for high school students are accredited by Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES). There are several accredited programs in Kansas for adult students and those still in high school.
Automotive programs that prepare students to work as mechanics or in body repair are accredited by NATEF. They may offer certificates, diplomas or two-year associate degrees, in general automotive technology or in specialty areas. Some also offer manufacturer-specific programs to prepare students to work in those dealerships.
- Kansas City Kansas Community College. Accredited by NATEF, this program offers students a quick pathway to entry-level work and on-the-job training as a mechanic. There are three automotive technology certificate programs, and students can choose to do one or to complete all of them in order for a total of 53 credits. To complete just the first certificate costs about $2,268 for in-state students and takes about four months. To complete all three costs $5,724 and takes just under a year.
- Pittsburg State University. Located in Pittsburg, Kansas, this school’s automotive program is unique in that it offers both a two-year associate degree and a four-year bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. Furthermore, the school partners with Flint Hills Technical College in Emporia to offer students who completed the associate degree there to transfer credits and earn Pittsburg’s bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. The four-year program is one of the best of its kind in the country, and students in either program can participate in automotive or diesel internships for hands-on work experience.
- Manhattan Area Technical College. Students in and around Manhattan, Kansas, can earn a two-year associate degree in automotive technology at this NATEF-certified program. Students here can also transfer their credits to Pittsburg to earn a four-year degree. Manhattan offers preparation for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification in electronic systems, engine performance, engine repair, suspension and steering, brakes and several other areas of specialty.
Some of the schools that offer programs for high school students include Wichita Area Technical College in Wichita, Washburn Institute of Technology in Topeka, Olathe Advanced Technical Center in Olathe and Hutchinson Career and Technical Education Academy in Hutchison.
A program in automotive technology or diesel technology does not culminate in ASE certification, although it does put students on the path to achieving it. ASE certification can be achieved in a number of specialties, some of which includes:
- Light repair certification test
- Light truck certification tests
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Transit bus certification tests
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
To take one or more of these exams requires at least one year of work experience plus the completion of a degree or certificate program or two years of work experience with no degree.
Working as an Auto Mechanic in Kansas
There are plenty of opportunities to work as an automotive service technician or a truck mechanic in Kansas. Areas of highest employment include Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka. There are also positions in smaller cities and rural areas.
Students who have completed education programs can expect to be hired for entry-level jobs and additional training at dealerships, repair centers, body shops, service centers and garages. With a willingness to learn and be trained, you can become a mechanic in Kansas and have a great career working with your hands and helping people every day.