Becoming a Mechanic or Automotive Technician in West Virginia
If you are mechanically inclined and enjoy figuring out how things work, you may want to consider becoming an automotive technician or mechanic. The auto industry has many jobs available for those who like to work with their hands, including service technicians, collision repair specialists, auto body workers, auto glass repairers and installers and diesel mechanics. [En Español]
There are no special licenses required to become a mechanic in West Virginia; however, many auto repair shops will not hire you unless you have Automobile Service Excellence (ASE) certification. There are many opportunities to get certified in community colleges and technical schools throughout the state. There are also a select number of high schools that offer the NATEF certification in West Virginia.
In May 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total of 3,950 auto service technicians and mechanics, 670 auto body and repair specialists, 80 auto glass installers and repairers, and 1730 bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists employed throughout the state. The outlook for jobs through 2030 shows that those numbers are expected to fall slightly, by 1 percent.
Auto mechanics in West Virginia earn an average of $30,190 annually, or $14,51 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report from May 2021. Highly experienced mechanics can earn as much as $58,310 per year based on these same reports. Of the four categories of auto technicians that are included in the BLS report, auto service technicians and mechanics are the lowest paid of the different specialties within the auto technology field. The highest wages are paid to diesel engine specialists and bus and truck mechanics, who earn an average of $38,640 annually or $18.58 hourly. Auto body and repair specialists earn the second highest salaries, with an average of $37,360 annually or $17.96 hourly.
Salaries in West Virginia by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary||Lowest 10%|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||3,950||$14.51||$30,190||$22,050|
|Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers||80||$18.04||$37,520||$29,660|
|Automotive Body and Related Repairers||670||$17.96||$37,360||$23,830|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||1,730||$18.58||$38,640||$29,110|
Auto Mechanic Salaries in West Virginia by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
Auto Mechanic Schools in West Virginia
If you want to pursue certification for an auto mechanic career, there are a number of programs throughout West Virginia that offer certification. Some of the most notable include:
- Fred W Eberle Technical Center. Located in Buckhannon, West Virginia, this school offers several certification programs for mechanics, including automotive technology, collision repair and diesel technology. Fred W Eberle Technical Center is a NATEF-accredited school.
- BridgeValley Community and Technical College. BridgeValley offers multiple programs, including certification programs and an associate degree program in Diesel Technology. BridgeValley is located in South Charleston, West Virginia.
NATEF-accredited high school programs are also available in West Virginia for training in automotive technology and diesel mechanics.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers a certification for auto mechanics who have acquired the necessary experience and knowledge to meet the quality standards in automotive technology. This is known as ASE certification and verifies that the mechanic has received additional training and can diagnose, repair and service all vehicles.
Some of the various tests provided by the ASE are:
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Light truck certification tests
- School bus certification tests
- Engine machinist certification tests
- Light repair certification test
- Transit bus certification tests
- Parts specialist certification tests
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
Working as an Auto Mechanic in West Virginia
Most jobs for auto service technicians in the state of West Virginia are found in the Huntington area, which borders the Kentucky and Ohio state lines. There were 700 reported auto technicians in this area in the 2017 BLS report. Many of the most lucrative jobs are available just over the state lines in Maryland and Virginia. The Hagerstown, Maryland, and Martinsburg, West Virginia, area has a higher concentration of auto service technicians, with a total of 630 auto mechanics according to BLS. The Hagerstown and Martinsburg area also has the highest concentration of auto body repairers. Charleston, West Virginia, the state capital, has the third largest number of auto mechanics. For the best pay, Winchester, Virginia, reports an average annual salary for auto mechanics of $42,340.
Most car dealerships, service stations and auto body repair shops hire for entry-level positions. A driver’s license and clean driving record are required for most jobs.