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Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Michigan

A career as a mechanic, automotive service tech, diesel engine mechanic, or body and collision repair worker is as easy in Michigan as completing a secondary or post-secondary program and landing an entry-level position. From there you will be able to work while still learning and training and while being supervised by master mechanics. While there are degree programs available in the state, you can choose a shorter certificate program, and you can also choose to work toward becoming certified and earning an even better income. [En Español]

There are various topics that will be covered in an auto mechanic training program, these may include:

  • Auto maintenance
  • Fuel systems
  • Engines Transmissions
  • Brakes
  • Electrical systems
  • Air conditioning and heating

The Job Outlook for Mechanics in Michigan

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 20,670 automotive service technicians working in Michigan in 2017. Also employed in the state that year were 8,600 bus, truck and diesel specialists and 4,980 auto body repairers. The highest numbers were employed in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area and Grand Rapids. The BLS estimates that all of these jobs are on the rise in Michigan and across the country and that there will be thousands of new jobs in the coming years.

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Salaries for Auto Service Technicians in Michigan

With the amount of training required to work in auto service, the salaries have to match that commitment. You can expect to earn a good living in Michigan in any of these careers. BLS statistics show that in 2021 the average annual salary for automotive technicians in the state was $46,810. Truck and bus technicians earned $47.850, and collision workers earned $46,350.

The highest earners in each of these careers are those with more areas of specialty, extra certifications and years of experience. The top 10 percent of mechanics in the state earned $75,000 on average in 2021. The top earnings for bus and truck workers and for body repairers were $62,850 and $77,130, respectively. Collision and auto body workers are the most specialized and their earnings reflect that fact. The cities in the state with the highest average salaries are Ann Arbor, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn and Kalamazoo-Portage.

Salaries in Michigan by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics19,200$22.51$46,810$29,010
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers110$18.02$37,480$29,190
Automotive Body and Related Repairers5,010$22.28$46,350$29,400
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists7,870$23.01$47,850$35,810

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Michigan by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Ann Arbor, MI590$25,73$53,530
Battle Creek, MI220$21,75$45,230
Bay City, MI210$21,86$45,470
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI9,390$22,49$46,780
Flint, MI900$21,94$45,640
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI2,430$22,99$47,830
Jackson, MI190$22,21$46,200
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI620$22,11$45,990
Lansing-East Lansing, MI730$22,37$46,520
Midland, MI130$21,26$44,210
Monroe, MI150$22,51$46,830
Muskegon, MI240$21,72$45,180
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI230$21,46$44,640
Saginaw, MI430$22,43$46,650

Auto Mechanic Schools in Michigan

There is no requirement that mechanics complete a degree or certificate program to work in Michigan, but many employers prefer to hire people who have had this education. There are many options for two-year programs or even shorter programs that can get you into an entry-level position in the state.

  • Henry Ford Community College. This Dearborn community college works in partnership with Ford Motor Company to offer students the Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) program. It prepares students to work in Ford and Lincoln dealerships and is a two-year associate degree-granting program. This is the only Ford ASSET program in Michigan. The school also has a general automotive technology degree that prepares students for any entry-level auto mechanic job.
  • Macomb Community College. Located in Warren, Michigan, this school has a general automotive technology associate degree program as well as a shorter automotive tech certificate, but it also offers a number of specialty certificate programs. These include engine machining, maintenance and light repair, and master automobile service technology. The school also works with General Motors to offer the GM ASEP (Automotive Service Educational Program).
  • Ferris State University. Ferris, which is in Big Rapids, has both a certificate and a degree program. Each prepares students for entry-level work by providing an overall education in automotive service, maintenance and repair. Students can also earn two additional certificates, either separately or while in enrolled in the automotive tech programs. These include a certificate in performance machining and one in performance motorsports.
  • Delta College. Delta, in Bay City, offers a number of certificate options and associate degrees for students interested in automotive careers. These include an associate degree through the GM ASEP program and an automotive tech degree with a focus on management. Certificates include diesel technician, automotive technology and heavy duty diesel service technology.

Secondary Automotive Tech Programs

Many high schools and school districts offer young people the chance to earn a certificate in automotive technology through vocational, tech and career centers. These allow students to gain the skills they need to begin working in the industry immediately upon graduation. Secondary programs are offered in conjunction with Automotive Youth Educational Systems. A few of the many programs in Michigan are at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Oakland Technical Center in Clarkston, Breithaupt Career and Technical Center in Detroit, and Genesee Career Institute in Flint.

ASE Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifies mechanics and other auto tech workers through examinations. ASE certification is often expected by employers when they hire young workers, although it requires some work experience to qualify to take the tests. Either two years of work experience or one year on the job plus a certificate or degree qualifies an individual to take a certification exam. There are several areas of specialization for the ASE certifications.

There are over 40 tests available through ASE, covering a wide range of auto mechanic topics. Some of these tests include:

  • Truck equipment certification tests
  • Light repair certification test
  • Light truck certification tests
  • Engine machinist certification tests
  • School bus certification tests
  • Alternate fuels certification test
  • Transit bus certification tests
  • Parts specialist certification tests

Working as a Mechanic in Michigan

There are many career opportunities for mechanics, auto body workers, and diesel and truck specialists in Michigan. Recent graduates may be hired by dealerships, service stations, repair shops and collision or paint shops. The most opportunities for jobs in Michigan are in Detroit and area suburbs, and in and around Grand Rapids, the two major population centers in the state.

By earning a degree or certificate and being prepared to train on the job after graduating, you can expect to have a great career and earn a fantastic living working on cars or trucks in Michigan.

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