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. 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 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total of 3,450 people employed in the auto technology industry in the state of South Dakota. This total is comprised of 1,920 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.

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 2017, bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists earned the most, with an average salary of $43,270 annually or $20.80 hourly. This was followed by auto body and related repairers, who earned an average salary of $40,440 annually or $19.44 hourly. Auto service technicians and mechanics earned only slightly more than glass installers and repairers, with an average annual salary of $39,580 for mechanics and $39,140 for glass installers.

Salaries in South Dakota by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%Highest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics2,040$18.00$37,440$25,030$54,090
Automotive Body and Related Repairers640$18.89$39,300$28,450$50,310
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers**$20.94$43,560$34,360$56,620
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists960$20.20$42,010$31,500$56,330

Auto Mechanic Salaries in South Dakota by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Rapid City, SD350$17.71$36,830
Rapid City, SD460$17.68$36,760
Sioux Falls, SD670$19.01$39,550

Auto Mechanic Programs 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. 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 2017 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 $41,940 annually and $20.16 hourly. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists were paid even more, with an average annual salary of $46,050 and an average hourly wage of $22.14.

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.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Eastern South Dakota nonmetropolitan area Area

Lake Area Technical Institute

1201 Arrow Avenue, Watertown, South Dakota 57201-0730
(605) 882-5284
Automotive Technology – Associate Program

Lake Area Technical Institute’s Associate-level Automotive Technology program is taught at their campus in the town of Watertown, South Dakota. The majority of of the school’s 1,846 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Furthermore, the college has NATEF program accreditation. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 84%. Fees for tuition are generally about $5,076 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $1,400, although this will depend on the program.

Sioux Falls, SD Area

Southeast Technical Institute

2320 N Career Ave, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57107-1301
(605) 367-7624
Automotive Technology – Certificate Program

Southeast Technical Institute offers various Certificate program options for mechanics. Classes are taken at their campus in Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County, SD. This public college has roughly 2,047 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, the college has NATEF program accreditation. Tuition fees are usually around $5,980 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,500, 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 ( Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

Residents of South Dakota may also wish to review their options in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.

NATEF Accredited Secondary School Programs

Below is a list of NATEF accredited high school programs, offering training in automotive technology, autobody and collision repair and diesel mechanic programs in the state of South Dakota. Please note that accreditation status is correct at the time of writing and may have since changed. Please check with the school and with NATEF before making any commitment.


City: Mitchell

Mitchell Career and Technical Academy

821 N. Capital St., Mitchell, SD 57301
(605) 995-3034

Automotive Program: AYES

Contact: David Reuland
Tel: (605) 995-3034
Programs: General Service Technician