Becoming an Auto Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Montana
There is an abundance of opportunities for individuals looking to begin or relocate their work as automotive technicians or mechanics in the state of Montana. Available employment includes jobs as automotive technicians and mechanics, automotive body and related repairers, automotive glass installers and repairers, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. [En Español]
Although there are currently no Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) programs available in Montana, there are plenty of auto technology degree and certificate programs offered throughout the state that will improve knowledge and experience.
To begin a career as a mechanic, it’s not required to have post-secondary educational training before beginning an entry-level position. Advancement in automotive careers and salary increases can come with experience and more skills in the industry. It’s highly suggested, however, to obtain the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification to advance in the industry, which is easily obtained with proper training.
According to the May 2017 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2,940 automotive service technicians and mechanics were employed in Montana. An additional 530 people were employed as automotive body and related repairers, 180 as automotive glass installers and repairers and 1,060 as heavy vehicle mechanics. There is a projected employment increase of 9.7 percent in the automotive industry in Montana until the year 2024.
Per the BLS, automotive mechanics earned an average salary of $37,870 annually, or $18 per hour, in 2017. Entry-level positions for the job averaged $19,120 annually, or $9 per hour. The average salary increased to $35,160 annually, or $17 per hour, as experience grew. Automotive technicians and mechanics could earn up to $61,570 per year, or $30 an hour.
Automotive body and related repairers in Montana earn an average of $41,730 per year, or $20 an hour. Entry-level jobs begin with an average salary of $26,160 per year, or $20 an hour. Similarly, automotive glass installers and repairers earn an average of $37,670 a year in Montana. Entry-level positions begin with an average salary of $21,950 a year, or $11 an hour.
Truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists received the highest annual salary of $48,490, or $23 per hour. Entry-level truck mechanics or diesel specialists made an average of $32,060 annually, or $15 hourly, and up to an average of $46,860 yearly, or $23 hourly, with additional experience. Truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists could earn around $71,060 per year, or $34 an hour.
Salaries in Montana by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%||Highest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||2,770||$18.09||$37,620||$18,840||$60,590|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||530||$20.23||$42,080||$25,220||$60,600|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||220||$15.45||$32,140||$21,630||$41,270|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||1,280||$20.96||$43,600||$26,880||$65,340|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Montana by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Great Falls, MT||220||$16.48||$34,270|
Popular Automotive Programs in Montana
Although it is not required to have formal training to become a mechanic in Montana, those who want to advance in their career would benefit from training and obtaining certifications. Montana State University has locations in Billings and Havre that have Associate and Bachelor degree programs in automotive technology. For those living in northern Montana, Havre does not offer any certification programs.
Fort Peck Community College in Poplar, MT, offers Associate and certification programs for automotive technology. The certification program is typically a year-long program consisting of 30 credits to enhance entry-level job performance and increase the chances of advancing in the industry. Fort Peck Community College’s Associate degree program in automotive technology is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and adheres to the curriculum needed to advance in the automotive industry. Completing the associate degree program involves the same requirements as the certification program and an additional year of advanced classes.
Where to Find Work in Montana
For a new career as an automotive mechanic, Great Falls, MT, offers the highest entry-level salary in Montana at $22,170 per year. Great Falls also offers the least competition in the field with only 220 employed according to BLS. For bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists, the highest entry-level salary is in Missoula, MT, at $39,290 per year. The least competition is in Great Falls with only 50 employed bus, truck and diesel mechanics. Overall, Billings is the city with the most employed and therefore the least need of mechanics of all types. Technicians can find jobs with dealerships, independent or franchise repair shops and other related shops.
- Billings, MT
- Central Montana nonmetropolitan area
- Eastern Montana nonmetropolitan area
- Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area
- Western Montana nonmetropolitan area
1500 University Drive, Billings, Montana 59101-0298
Automotive Technology – Associate Program
Montana State University offers various Associate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their Billings campus in the city of Billings. Of the 4,425 students, about 9% are postgraduates. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the university has NATEF program accreditation. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $5,826 and for out-of-state students approximately $18,216 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,460, although this will depend on the program.
Montana State University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their Northern campus in the town of Havre, Montana. This is a full, 4-year public college with 1,234 students, of which 94% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Furthermore, the university has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $5,371 and for out-of-state students in the order of $17,681 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,200, depending on the program chosen.
605 Indian Street, Poplar, Montana 59255-0398
Automotive Technician – Certificate Program
Fort Peck Community College’s Certificate program in Automotive Technician is based at their campus in the town of Poplar. Most of the school’s 321 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees are around $2,250 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $700, although this will depend on the program.
2715 Dickinson Street, Miles City, Montana 59301-4774
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program
Miles Community College’s Certificate program in Automotive Technology is based at their campus in the town of Miles City, MT. This public college has around 481 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $3,990 and are $5,220 and $8,310 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,100, depending on the program chosen.
1115 N Roberts Street, Helena, Montana 59601
Automotive Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s program in Automotive Technology at Helena College University of Montana is based at their campus in the town of Helena, Montana. Most of the school’s 1,454 students are on 2-year programs. The university is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the university has NATEF program accreditation. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $3,109 and for students from other states around $8,409 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,350, although this will vary with the program.
25 Basin Creek Rd, Butte, Montana 59701
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program
The Automotive Technology Certificate program in Automotive Technology at Highlands College of Montana Tech is based at their campus in the town of Butte. Most of the school’s 850 students are on 2-year programs. Tuition fees for in-state students are in the order of $3,325 and for out-of-state students in the order of $8,595 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,100, depending on the program chosen.
* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.
At present there are no NATEF accredited high school programs in the state of Montana.