Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Louisiana
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the auto mechanic industry in Louisiana, you’ll be happy to know that this field has many options to choose from and can be very lucrative. Some popular positions to consider in this sector include auto mechanic, service technician and auto body/collision technician. Each area of expertise will have a subset of positions available and a wide range of jobs within each category. [En Español]
Standard auto mechanics and service technicians have to be familiar with the inner workings of many different types of vehicles and must also know how to use a variety of tools, including computer diagnostic tools, lathes, jacks and various hand tools. In some states automobile service technicians must have a license or certifications. In Louisiana, however, licenses are not required in order to diagnose and repair vehicles.
There are several paths to getting started in the auto mechanic field, but most employers will require a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent for most entry-level positions. If college isn’t for you but you enjoy learning how to diagnose and fix vehicles, there are many options at the secondary level to prepare you for an automotive career. Many high schools are now partnering with the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation (ASE) to meet the accreditation criteria needed to prepare and inspire the new automotive service workforce.
If you want an edge on the competition, look into programs that are accredited by the ASE Education Foundation, formerly the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). ASE certification will significantly increase your marketability and earning potential and will ultimately make you more attractive to a potential employer. The ASE Education Foundation is involved with more than 2,300 automotive technology training programs and over 50,000 students nationally, to provide the transportation industry a viable workforce through higher standards. The Foundation also offers career development and workplace exposure, creating relationships and partnerships with employers.
Currently, the job outlook for automotive careers in Louisiana is growing and is not expected to slow anytime soon. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 7,270 automotive service technicians and mechanics working in Louisiana in 2020. Additionally, there were 2,860 diesel specialists and bus and truck mechanics, 1,900 auto body repair workers and 360 auto glass installers/repairers. These careers are becoming more popular in all states, with an expected 6-percent growth continuing through 2030.
Louisiana mechanics are in demand, and the more training you have, the more earning potential you have. BLS data from May 2021 state that diesel specialists and bus and truck mechanics are the highest paid among the mechanic trade, with an average salary of $21.35 per hour, or $44,410 annually. The highest salary for diesel specialists is about $30.95 per hour, or $64,370 annually. Following closely behind are automotive body repair workers with an average salary of $20.63 per hour, or $42,920 annually. At the high end of that specialty, auto body workers receive an average of $29.55 per hour, or $62,720 annually. Automotive service technicians’ average pay is $19.12 per hour, or $36,950 annually, with pay maxing out at about $29.55 per hour, or $61,460 per year. Auto glass installers and repairers can expect an average salary of $14.21, or $29,560 annually. Mechanic salaries vary by specialty, but it’s clear that with the right training and experience, a career as an auto mechanic can indeed be a viable option for anyone interested in the field.
Salaries in Louisiana by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||8,130||$22.23||$46,250||$23,640|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||540||$17.42||$36,220||$23,210|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||1,980||$22.88||$47,590||$28,770|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||2,590||$23.18||$48,210||$33,470|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Louisiana by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Baton Rouge, LA||1,580||$23,32||$48,510|
|Lake Charles, LA||360||$22,34||$46,470|
|New Orleans-Metairie, LA||1,690||$23,96||$49,830|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA||830||$22,38||$46,550|
Auto Mechanic Schools in Louisiana
Louisiana students looking to earn a formal education in the automotive technology field have many options available to them to further their automotive mechanic development. The institutions below offer either a degree program or a certification program, or both.
- South Central Louisiana Technical College:Automotive technology programs are administered in nine areas of expertise. The main certificate is the Basic Automotive Skills certificate, which is the core of the program. Once it is earned, students have the option to obtain certificates in the eight other courses.
- Delgado Community College:The Motor Vehicle Technology program at DCC offers students the option of earning a Certificate of Technical Studies or an AAS degree. The fundamental courses include general automotive and collision repair. Delgado also offers manufacturer-specific programs that enable students to obtain experience with Ford with the popular Ford FACT program or General Motors (GM) products with the GM ASEP program.
- South Louisiana Community College:SLCC offers a program for general automotive technology that takes only three semesters to earn a technical diploma.
- Southwest Louisiana Technical Community College:SOWELA has a technical automotive degree program that covers seven different competency areas and even has internship opportunities with Toyota and Honda.
Anyone interested in working as an auto mechanic in Louisiana can further their career and earn more money by achieving ASE certification. ASE is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent organization that certifies automotive workers in areas including automobile and light truck, collision repair and refinish, truck equipment, medium-heavy truck and others areas of expertise. Candidates seeking certification must have either two years of work experience or one year of work experience plus a post-secondary certificate or degree to qualify for the certification test.
Below are a few of the certification tests made available:
- Light truck certification tests
- Light repair certification test
- Transit bus certification tests
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
Where to Work as a Mechanic in Louisiana
There are plenty of opportunities for trained, certified and entry-level mechanics, diesel mechanics and collision and body repair workers in Louisiana. Nearly everyone owns a vehicle or uses mass transit and all of those vehicles will need maintenance work or repair work at some point. Most mechanic work is found in the larger cities, such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Mechanics can work for dealerships, automotive repair shops and body shops. There are also a significant number of opportunities in smaller auto mechanic shops and dealerships throughout the state.