Becoming an Auto Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Pennsylvania
A majority of employers in Pennsylvania prefer that people working in the automotive field have some post-secondary training that leads to an industry specialized certification or degree. A high school diploma, or its equivalent, is required for most entry-level positions in this field. [En Español]
While post-secondary training isn’t a requirement to become an auto mechanic or automotive technician, it can help a person be more marketable and obtain a higher salary. If that is the path you decide to take, then you want to search for a program that is accredited by National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and will conclude with earning the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification.
To become ASE certified, a person must pass one or more exams that cover specific knowledge areas related to the automotive field. After successfully passing an ASE exam, a person is considered ASE certified in that particular area. There are currently 40 ASE certification tests available, some of which include:
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Engine machinist certification tests
- School bus certification tests
- Transit bus certification tests
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Parts specialist certification tests
If post-secondary education isn’t for you, there are many options at the secondary level to prepare you for an automotive career upon graduation. Many high schools are a part of the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) Education Foundation, with programs that meet the accreditation criteria. So, if you enjoy getting greasy and inspecting, maintaining and repairing cars and light trucks, then pursuing an automotive career might be for you.
In May 2020, there were 32,230 people working as automotive service technicians or auto mechanics in Pennsylvania as detailed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Furthermore, there were 7,640 people working as auto body and glass repairers, as well as an additional 12,250 working as diesel engine specialists. Employment for automotive mechanics in Pennsylvania is predicted to increase by 1 percent up until 2030. Pennsylvania has one of the top five employment rates for auto mechanics in the United States.
Mechanic Salaries in Pennsylvania
In May 2021, the average salary for auto service technicians and mechanics in Pennsylvania was $46,490 (BLS). This is equal to an hourly wage of $22.35. Auto body repairers earned an average annual salary of $47,400, or $22.79 per hour, while bus and truck engine mechanics earned $48,190 per year or $23.17 per hour. Automotive glass installers and repairers earned on the lower end, with an average annual salary of $38,280, which is equal to an hourly wage of $18.40. Comparing Pennsylvania’s pay to the rest of the country, the national average is $46,880, or $22.54 per hour.
Salaries in Pennsylvania by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||32,230||$22.35||$46,490||$29,110|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||680||$18.40||$38,280||$35,920|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||7,640||$22.79||$47,400||$29,780|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||12,250||$23.17||$48,190||$32,610|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Pennsylvania by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|East Stroudsburg, PA||400||$19,96||$41,510|
|State College, PA||280||$20,95||$43,580|
Auto Mechanic Schools in Pennsylvania
While there are many options for automotive training programs in Pennsylvania, there are some that are more popular than others.
- Lincoln Tech: Lincoln Tech has a Philadelphia, PA, campus that offers day, afternoon and evening programs that lead to certificates. Students can take the program with or without an internship. The coursework takes between 56 and 106 weeks to complete depending on whether a person chooses the day/afternoon option or the evening option. Another program option available at Lincoln Tech is their Automotive Service Management diploma offered as a day program only, which takes around 74 weeks to complete.
- Universal Technical Institute (UTI): UTI is located in Exton, PA, and offers programs in the automotive fields, motorcycle care, collision repair, diesel engine mechanics and even marine vehicle maintenance. Some of their programs take less than a year to complete. UTI also offers specialized training with manufacturer-specific programs available with such companies as BMW, GMC, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota and many more.
- Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC): CCAC has two program options that can take 18 months or less for the certificate program and two years for the associates in Automotive Technology. It is located in Pittsburgh, PA, near the Ohio border. On top of earning their Automotive Technology certificate or diploma, students will earn an Emissions Inspector certification and a State Inspection certification. CCAC also offers specialized programs through General Motors, Ford and Chrysler dealerships. Part of the program at CCAC includes a six- to 12-week, paid on-the-job training.
- Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County (CTCLC): This program is a collection of high schools in the Northeastern part of Pennsylvania and is located in Scranton, PA. This AYES Automotive Technician program is a national auto industry program supported by GM, Toyota and Nissan. It is a NATEF-accredited curriculum that gives students the opportunity to earn college credit and work toward an associate’s degree through a few of their local post-secondary schools.
Where to Find Work in Pennsylvania
Most auto mechanics in Pennsylvania work in automobile dealerships and independent repair shops. Those that specialized as bus and truck engine mechanics (also known as diesel technicians) can also work on the road driving trucks and transporting goods. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will be the easiest areas in which to find work, but there are many other small towns that offer numerous opportunities.