Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Kentucky
Qualified automotive service technicians and truck mechanics are always in high demand. In Kentucky there are plenty of training and job opportunities for anyone who is prepared to learn and to get work right away. There are no specific state requirements for learning to be a mechanic, but most employers want to hire entry-level mechanics who have completed some level of educational program. [En Español]
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2020 there were 9,570 auto mechanics working in Kentucky. There were also 4,000 bus and truck mechanics and 1,420 body and collision workers in the state that year. The industry is growing around the U.S. With six-percent growth according to the BLS, there will be thousands of new jobs over the next few years for those who have trained and are qualified.
The pay is good for mechanics in all states, because this career requires a specific skill set that not everyone has. According to May 2021 data from the BLS, automotive service technicians in Kentucky earned an average annual salary of $36,870. The top 10 percent of earners in this career in the state made an average of $61,210. The average salary for truck mechanics was $47,120, and top earners made $63,120 in 2021
The higher incomes for the top earners in these fields demonstrate the potential for making more money after training in an entry-level position. Mechanics with more years of experience, with National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification, or with specialized training or certifications in things like electronics or alternative fuels can make more money.
Salaries in Kentucky by Occupation
|Average Hourly Wage
|Average Annual Salary
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Kentucky by Region
|Mean Hourly Wage
|Mean Annual Salary
|Bowling Green, KY
|Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
Auto Mechanic Schools in Kentucky
While getting a secondary or post-secondary certificate or degree in automotive technology is not necessary for becoming a mechanic in the state, most Kentucky employers hire entry-level mechanics with this basic education. There are several options for training throughout the state. Look for those that are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
- Gateway Community and Technical College. Gateway is located in Florence, Kentucky, and has several options for automotive programs for students. The school offers two-year associate degree programs in automotive technology, diesel technology and collision repair technology. Gateway also has a program to train students specifically to work on Ford vehicles. Called the Ford ASSET program, it prepares students to work in Ford dealerships.
- Jefferson Community and Technical College. Located in Louisville, Jefferson offers a range of options, including an associate degree in automotive technology and a diploma program in automotive technician. The school also has several certificate programs that students can use to get more specialized training for employability. These include certificates in brake repair, electronics, tune-up and maintenance, air conditioning and more. Students may also choose to complete the Toyota T-TEN program, which provides training to become certified Lexus and Toyota technicians.
- Hazard Community and Technical College. In Eastern Kentucky, students can attend programs in Hazard, earning an associate degree. The degree options include associate degrees in automotive technology, collision repair and diesel technology. Students can also earn certificates in shorter programs for more specific skills like brake repair, front end mechanic, engine repair, and manual transmission and drive train technician.
Secondary Auto Mechanic Programs
Like many other states, Kentucky has a number of opportunities for high school students to jumpstart their careers in automotive technology. Several schools and technical career centers offer students the option to complete a comprehensive training program that prepares them for entry-level positions right out of high school. Some of the locations include Campbell County Area Technology Center, Belfry Area Technology Center, Holmes High School in Covington, and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
Most mechanics who have completed a training program and who have gone on to be hired in entry-level positions are working toward ASE certification. The organization offers general certification as well as certifications in a number of related specialties.
Some of these specialties include:
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Light repair certification test
- Light truck certification tests
- Transit bus certification tests
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
To qualify to take a certification exam a mechanic must have either two years of on-the-job work experience or one year of experience after having completed a certificate or degree program at an accredited school.
Work Opportunities for Mechanics in Kentucky
As a growing industry there are plenty of job options for qualified candidates in automotive technology in Kentucky. The area of highest employment is near Cincinnati, in Louisville and Jefferson County, and in Lexington and Fayette, but there are also opportunities in more rural areas. Auto mechanics and diesel mechanics work at dealerships, repair shops, tire stores, body and collision shops and service stations. Working in this field in Kentucky is a great opportunity to make a good living doing interesting, hands-on work, and getting there doesn’t take a lot of time or money.