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Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in South Dakota

If you’re looking for a job that allows you to problem solve and work with your hands, you may want to consider a career as an automotive technician or mechanic. There are a variety of career options in the auto technology field, including auto service technicians and mechanics, auto body workers, auto glass repairers and installers, bus and truck service technicians and diesel mechanics. [En Español]

Auto mechanics in South Dakota are not required to have a license to service or repair automobiles, but having additional education, certification or a degree will give you more opportunities to find employment.

You can expect the following topics to be covered in an automotive technology program:

  • Auto maintenance
  • Damage analysis
  • Engine performance
  • Engine repairHeating and cooling systems
  • HydraulicsIgnition systems

South Dakota has high schools and technical schools that can provide the additional training you need to find a job and further your career.

The Job Outlook in South Dakota

In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total of 4,350 people employed in the auto technology industry in the state of South Dakota. This total is comprised of 2,920 auto service technicians and mechanics, 900 bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists, 530 auto body and related repairers and 100 glass installers and repairers. Employment for the auto service technology industry is expected to increase by 2.9 percent in the next decade.

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Mechanic Salaries in South Dakota

Mechanics in South Dakota earn a competitive salary with the highest paid specialty in the field of bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists. According to the BLS report from May 2021, bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists earned the most, with an average salary of $47,990 annually or $23.07 hourly. This was followed by auto body and related repairers, who earned an average salary of $47,320 annually or $22.75 hourly. Auto service technicians and mechanics earned more than glass installers and repairers, with an average annual salary of $46,520 for mechanics and $22,670 for glass installers.

Salaries in South Dakota by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics2,340$22.37
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers**$10.90$22,670$22,670
Automotive Body and Related Repairers880$22.75$47,320$36,370
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists1,080$23.07$47,990$37,650

Auto Mechanic Salaries in South Dakota by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Rapid City, SD330$21,92$45,590
Sioux Falls, SD610$24,05$50,020

Auto Mechanic Schools in South Dakota

There are two schools in the state of South Dakota that offer additional educational opportunities in the automotive technology field.

  • Lake Area Technical Institute. Located in Watertown, South Dakota, Lake Area Technical Institute offers both a certificate program in custom paint and fabrication and an associate degree program in auto technology. It is a NATEF-accredited school.
  • Southeast Technical Institute. Students can take a variety of courses related to auto technology, including a certificate program and an associate degree program. Southeast Technical Institute has NATEF accreditation.

For those interested in pursuing automotive technology, auto body repair and diesel mechanics during high school, there are options available at Mitchell Career and Technical Academy in Mitchell, South Dakota. Mitchell Career and Technical Academy is a NATEF-accredited high school that also participates in Automotive Youth Educational Systems(AYES), a program developed by ASE to help young adults get a great start in the automotive service industry.

ASE Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers ASE Certification to mechanics who have passed a test showing that they have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to meet the high-quality standards of the auto technology industry.

Some of these exams include:

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

ASE certification is only given out to those with the additional training and hours required to diagnose and repair cars and trucks.

Working as an Auto Mechanic in South Dakota

Most jobs in South Dakota for those interested in working as an auto mechanic can be found in the metropolitan areas of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as Sioux City, Iowa. There are some jobs available in Rapid City, South Dakota. The BLS from May 2020 reported 630 auto service technicians, 100 auto body repairers, and 330 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists working in Sioux Falls.

The average salary in Sioux Falls was the highest in the state, with auto service technicians making an average of $47,090 annually and $23.12 hourly. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists were paid even more, with an average annual salary of $59,380 and an average hourly wage of $28.55.

Jobs can be found at a variety of places in South Dakota, including car dealerships, brake and lube shops, service stations, tire shops and commercial fleet companies. For entry-level positions, most employers simply want to see a clean driving record and a valid driver’s license.

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