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Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in Virginia

If you like working with your hands and working on cars, you may have considered becoming a mechanic. There are a variety of areas that you could apply your skills in the automotive industry, including service technicians, collision repairers, auto body workers, diesel mechanics and auto glass repairers and installers. Each of these areas has different requirements for entry-level positions; however, if you have the passion for this industry, the requirements are fairly easy to complete. [En Español]

Auto mechanics are not required to have a license in the state of Virginia, though you will have more jobs available to you if you attend one of the many school programs and obtain a degree or certificate. Many certification programs are available through high schools and vocational schools, in addition to community colleges.

The Job Outlook in Virginia

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2020 a total of 30,390 auto mechanics employed in the state of Virginia. This was comprised of 19,680 auto mechanics and service technicians, 4,060 auto body and collision specialists, and 6,650 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. Employment opportunities continue to grow for these types of jobs, with employment for auto mechanics in Virginia expected to grow by 7.9 percent by 2024.

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Mechanic Salaries in Virginia

Mechanics can expect to earn a competitive salary in the state of Virginia. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report from May 2021 shows salaries for three different areas of the auto mechanic field: auto service techs and mechanics, auto body workers, bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists. The average wage for auto mechanics in Virginia is $22.66 per hour, or $47,120 annually, according to the BLS. Employers in the area outside of Washington, D.C., pay the highest rate, with an average of $24.58 per hour, in contrast with the more rural areas of southern Virginia, like Harrisonburg where the average hourly wage is $16.89. In Virginia, auto body repair technicians earn the most, followed closely by bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists, then auto mechanics. The lowest paid auto technicians in Virginia are auto glass repair specialists.

Salaries in Virginia by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual SalaryLowest 10%
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics20,880$22.66$47,120$29,430
Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers580$18.17$37,800$23,870
Automotive Body and Related Repairers4,070$22.94$47,720$30,050
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists7,520$23.38$48,630$36,700

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Virginia by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA340$20,92$43,500
Charlottesville, VA460$22,04$45,830
Harrisonburg, VA320$19,77$41,110
Lynchburg, VA500$20,30$42,220
Richmond, VA3,000$24,01$49,950
Roanoke, VA790$20,36$42,350
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA280$20,77$43,200
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC3,820$22,76$47,350
Winchester, VA-WV370$22,16$46,100

Auto Mechanic Schools in Virginia

Virginia has numerous programs throughout the state for those who want additional certification for their auto mechanic career, including several colleges that offer certification. A few of the colleges where you can learn more about the career and practice for certification are:

  • Northern Virginia Community College. Students can take several courses preparing them for roles in the automotive industry, including a certificate course in automotive technology. Northern Virginia Community College also has NATEF accreditation.
  • J Sargeant Reynolds Community College. This community college based in Richmond, VA, offers several certificate programs. They have NATEF accreditation as well as an option for completing the Ford Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET). The ASSET program is the only two-year Ford Technical Career Entry Program that includes a paid internship. Students finish with an Associate’s Degree in automotive service technology.
  • New River Community College. New River Community College offers a certification program in Automotive Analysis and Repair. All programs under the automotive technology umbrella are ASE accredited.

NATEF-accredited high school programs are also available through the state of Virginia, offering training in automotive technology, auto body and collision repair, and diesel mechanics.

ASE Certification

ASE certification is The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence credential that indicates auto mechanics have the necessary experience and knowledge to meet the quality standards of the automotive industry for diagnosis, repair and servicing of all types of vehicles.

Working as an Auto Mechanic in Virginia

Jobs as an auto mechanic are plentiful in Virginia, with the highest number available around the area of Northern Virginia (Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax). According to the BLS, in May 2020 there were 2,060 auto mechanics employed in this area. Virginia Beach and Newport News is another area with a high concentration of auto mechanics, with over 1,000 employed here in 2020

Jobs for auto mechanics can be found at dealerships, service stations, auto body repair shops, franchised lube, brake or tire shops, and large commercial fleet companies. Most jobs require a driver’s license and a clean driving record.

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