Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in South Carolina
If you enjoy working with your hands and working with cars and trucks, you may be interested in a career as an automotive technician or mechanic. There are many jobs available for those who like this type of work. Some of the most popular jobs in the automotive technology field include auto service technicians and mechanics, auto body workers, auto glass repairers and installers, bus and truck service technicians and diesel mechanics. [En Español]
Finding an entry-level position in the automotive service industry in South Carolina is not difficult. No license is required to diagnose or fix automobiles in South Carolina. You do stand a better chance of finding employment in the automotive technology field if you have Automobile Service Excellence (ASE) certification. There are high schools throughout the state, technical schools and colleges that offer additional training to help you further your career.
The following topics may be covered in auto mechanic training programs:
- Fuel systems
- Engine repair
- Brake repair
- Automotive diagnosis
- Engine fundamentals
- Damage analysis
- Electrical systems
- Auto mechanics
There are many job opportunities in South Carolina for those interested in working in the auto technology industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2020 that there were a total of 13,250 auto service technicians, 2,010 auto body repairers, 450 auto glass installers and repairers, and 3,170 bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists employed throughout the state. These numbers are expected to expand by 6 percent by 2030.
The BLS report from May 2021 shows that the highest paid specialty in automotive technology was bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists, earning an average of $19.34 hourly or $40,220 annually, though with experience auto body repairers could expect to earn as much as $61,830 per year. Auto service techs and mechanics earned an average of $18.07 hourly or $37,580 annually.
Salaries in South Carolina by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||13,250||$18.07||$37,580||$27,240|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||**||$17.88||$37,190||$28,820|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||2,010||$20.42||$42,460||$29,090|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||3,170||$23.41||$40,220||$18,010|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in South Carolina by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Charleston-North Charleston, SC||1,840||$21,07||$43,820|
|Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC||440||$20,32||$42,260|
|Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC||920||$19,51||$40,580|
Auto Mechanic Schools in South Carolina
There are many secondary schools, trade schools and colleges that offer further education for those interested in a career in auto technology. Two schools in South Carolina that offer certification are:
- Spartanburg Community College. In addition to an auto technician certificate program and an auto technician associate degree program, Spartanburg Community College is one of the only schools in South Carolina to offer the prestigious Ford Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET). ASSET is a two-year Ford Technical Career Entry program with a paid internship.
- Midlands Technical College. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, Midlands offers an Auto Technician certificate program and an Auto Technology degree option, with students receiving an associate’s degree upon completion. Midlands Technical College has NATEF accreditation.
Numerous high school programs throughout South Carolina are NATEF-accredited. These programs specialize in automotive technology, auto body and collision repair and diesel mechanics.
ASE Certification is provided by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and designates those mechanics who have the required experience and knowledge to meet quality standards in auto technology. Mechanics who receive ASE certification have received additional training to diagnose and service automobiles.
There are over 40 tests offered by ASE, some of which includes:
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Engine machinist certification tests
- Transit bus certification tests
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Parts specialist certification tests
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
- School bus certification tests
Working as an Auto Mechanic in South Carolina
There are numerous jobs available throughout South Carolina for those interested in automotive technology. Most jobs are found in the areas of Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia where the BLS reported there were 7,040 auto service technicians, 2,030 auto body repairers and 2,540 bus and truck mechanics and diesel mechanics. The highest paying positions for auto service technicians were found in the resort town of Hilton Head, where the average salary was $23.60 hourly and $49,080 annually. Hilton Head employed just 470 auto service technicians.
Jobs in the auto service technology field can be found at car dealerships, service stations and lube and brake shops. A driver’s license is required, and most employers like to see a clean driving record.