The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that there were six million passenger cars and another one million trucks registered to drive in Los Angeles County at the end of 2013. At more than 7 million vehicles, the City of Los Angeles has more automobiles on its roads than most states. That legendary Southern California traffic takes its toll on vehicles, and the city's thousands-strong fleet of mechanics are tasked with keeping motorists' vehicles performing well.
Mechanics play a vital role in identifying and repairing vehicular problems for millions of Los Angeles residents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), automotive service technicians and mechanics typically perform basic car care, such as rotating tires and checking fluid levels, in addition to more complex jobs, such as installing new engines and transmissions. Most often, though, they are called upon to replace damaged or worn out parts and to perform the necessary repairs to get cars and trucks running at peak performance.
Mechanics often use highly sensitive electronic equipment and specialized computer diagnostic software and electronics to troubleshoot performance problems with vehicles. That equipment typically requires training to understand and use properly, and many mechanics choose to attend formal auto mechanic schools in Los Angeles to get the training they need to land jobs at repair shops and automobile dealerships.
Auto Mechanic Schools in Los Angeles
There are dozens of auto mechanic schools in Los Angeles, but only a handful are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. NATEF-certified schools in Los Angeles (there are 13 of them) have been evaluated against industry standards to ensure students receive an education that's directly transferable to the needs of employers.
Study at mechanic schools typically includes the following coursework:
- Fuel and electrical systems
- Braking and steering
- Engines and drive trains
- Air conditioning and heating
Length of study at auto mechanic schools in Los Angeles varies. Programs at vocational schools often can be completed in as little as six months to a year, the BLS says, while students who choose to pursue Associate's of Applied Science degrees at community colleges should plan on two years of full-time study. Since auto mechanics often are in contact with customers it's important to have good verbal and written communications skills as well.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Auto Mechanics in Los Angeles
According to the BLS, there were 13,070 mechanics working in Los Angeles in May of 2013, the third highest metropolitan employment figure in the U.S. behind the greater Chicago and New York City regions. California is the largest employer of auto mechanics with more than 56,000 working in the state in 2013.
Mechanics in Los Angeles earned annual mean wages of about $37,000, a shade under the national mean annual wage of $39,450. The top 10 percent of mechanics in L.A. earned close to $60,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent took home a little more than $20,000 annually.
With millions of cars on the road in Southern California, job prospects are expected to remain strong for mechanics, especially those with formal training in automotive repair and who possess requisite certifications from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, the BLS reports.
California Department of Motor Vehicles, estimated vehicles registered by county through December 2103, http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/about/profile/est_fees_pd_by_county.pdf
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Handbook, www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
NATEF-Accredited schools, National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, www.natef.org/NATEF-and-You/Students-Parents/Find-Accredited-Schools.aspx?Address=los+angeles+%2ccalifornia&d=50&t=1&e=2
Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm