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Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Tennessee

To become an auto mechanic or a truck mechanic in Tennessee all you need is a desire to work hard and to learn. There are no strict educational requirements, but most employers in the state prefer to hire entry-level mechanics who have completed a post-secondary program and then to train them more on the job. If you love to work with your hands, are interested in learning a new skill and want a job with good security and a great income, consider learning to become a mechanic. [En Español]

The Job Outlook for Mechanics in Tennessee

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth in jobs for automotive service technicians and truck and diesel mechanics is strong. Growth continues at six percent, opening up thousands more jobs for qualified workers in all states. The BLS also records that, in 2020 in the state of Tennessee, there were 17,790 mechanics employed as well as 6,330 bus and truck diesel mechanics. The area of the state with the highest number of employed mechanics was the region of Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro and Franklin.

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Auto and Truck Mechanic Salaries in Tennessee

When you become a mechanic you can expect to earn a great living, because the job requires specialized skills that not everyone has. In Tennessee in 2021, according to the BLS, auto mechanics made an annual average salary of $42,000. The average salary for diesel mechanics was $47,310. The top 10 percent of earners in the state for each profession took home an average of $63,890 and $66,310, respectively.

In Tennessee the opportunities to earn a higher income are related to years of experience and specializations but also location. The highest salaries are for mechanics around Clarksville, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Davidson, Memphis and Chattanooga.

Salaries in Tennessee by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics17,790$20.19$42,000$28,280
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers**$17.94$37,300$29,260
Automotive Body and Related Repairers4,040$22.09$45,950$26,880
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists6,330$22.75$47,310$31,970

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Tennessee by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA1,350$21,96$45,670
Clarksville, TN-KY530$19,52$40,590
Cleveland, TN260$20,72$43,110
Jackson, TN370$20,82$43,310
Johnson City, TN400$20,30$42,210
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA630$20,04$41,680
Knoxville, TN2,190$21,82$45,390
Memphis, TN-MS-AR3,250$22,88$47,590
Morristown, TN210$19,49$40,540
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN4,900$22,61$47,030

Auto Mechanic Schools in Tennessee

The options for post-secondary education programs in automotive and diesel technology are varied in Tennessee, but it is important to choose one that is accredited or certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Some of those programs can be found at:

  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology. This school offers students several different options for earning a certificate or diploma in automotive technology. The options include light maintenance and repair, automotive technician assistant, automotive technician apprentice and master automotive technician. It takes just under two years for students to complete one of these programs, and the costs for tuition and supplies are $6,230 and $4,270. Programs are available on campuses in Nashville, Dickson, Hartsville, Murfreesboro, Crossville, Jacksboro, Livingston, Athens, Harriman, Elizabethton, Knoxville and Covington.
  • Southern Adventist University. At Southern Adventist, which is located in Collegedale, students can earn a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in automotive service. The program is unique in offering a four-year degree and in requiring students to take business courses. This is a great option for anyone interested in owning their own garage one day. Students also get hands-on work experience interning in a local repair shop.
  • Lincoln College of Technology. Lincoln, with a campus in Nashville, offers students a program in collision repair and refinishing. Unlike auto mechanics, auto body workers are specialists in making repairs and painting the bodies of cars, often after an accident. Instructors in the program are ASE certified (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence), and the program follows standards set by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. The program confers diplomas.

Secondary Auto Mechanic Programs in Tennessee

Students still in high school can participate in programs certified by the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES). There are a few options in Tennessee for students who want to learn how to become a mechanic as part of their high school education. There are programs available at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Covington, Crossville, McKenzie and Morristown and at South Side High School in Jackson.

ASE Certification for Tennessee Mechanics

If you choose to complete an educational program in Tennessee to become an auto service technician or a diesel mechanic or body repair worker, you may also want to work toward ASE certification. ASE provides exams that certify mechanics in a range of specialties including damage analysis, engine machinist, school bus maintenance and more.

Becoming ASE certified is a way to prove that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the work of a mechanic and a specialist. You can qualify to take the certification exams one of two ways: by having completed an educational program followed by one year of related work experience or by having two years of work experience under your belt without a diploma or degree.

Working as a Mechanic in Tennessee

Working with cars and trucks is a growing industry, so you should have no problem finding a job in Tennessee. You may be hired by a car dealership, a garage or repair shop, a tire center or oil change center or by a service station. There are opportunities throughout the state, but you are more likely to find options to choose from in the bigger population centers of Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. By starting with a certificate or degree in automotive technology, you will be on the path toward working as a mechanic and becoming certified.

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