Auto Mechanic and Automotive Schools in San Diego

Auto mechanics have a wide range of job opportunities to in the city of San Diego. In addition to great weather and beautiful beaches, auto mechanics can find employment in private auto shops, dealership repair centers, emission testing and repair centers, collision centers and break centers.

Depending on the expected work, a certificate may be all that is needed to find employment. However, with increased state emissions standards and the growing complexity of vehicles, some shops may prefer mechanics to have formal training in the form of an associate's degree or professional certification from a reputable agency to perform expected auto mechanic job duties.

Some auto mechanics may choose to open their own STAR emissions testing station to take advantage of the requirement that all California vehicles undergo STAR emissions testing every two years.

Auto Mechanic Training and Certification in San Diego

California and the city of San Diego do not require auto mechanics to be licensed, however, there are some tasks which a mechanic could be asked to perform which can require general training and certification. These include:

  • STAR emissions testing
  • Smog checking and testing
  • Break and lamp repair

To obtain a smog check license, automotive repair technicians need to have one of the following:

  • ASE A6, A8 and L1 certifications
  • An AA/AS degree and 1 year work experience
  • Certificate in auto technology, 1 year work experience and 280 hours of engine performance
  • 2 years of work experience and BAR specified diagnostic and repair training

Smog check technicians need to renew their license every two years and meet continuing education requirements provided by the state. They may also be required to meet certification requirements to renew their license, check with CA BAR to learn more.

For auto mechanics in San Diego looking to open their own STAR emissions testing shop, the requirements are the same as becoming licensed, with the addition of a station fee. STAR stations are stations with higher than average standards and can be limited to a "testing only" location as opposed to a "test and repair" location.

Auto Mechanic Salary in San Diego

Auto mechanics in San Diego can enjoy higher than average pay in addition to sunny days and great beaches:

  • According the California Employment Development Department, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics employed in and around the city of San Diego earned a median hourly wage of $20.91 in 2014, just higher than the median hourly wage for all occupations within the city $18.85.
  • Annually, this wage is reported by the EDD to amount to $43,480. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics in San Diego made a median hourly wage of $20.23 or an annual mean wage of $42,890. Learn more about national auto mechanic salaries here.

Auto Mechanic Job Opportunity and Career Outlook in San Diego

Growth of auto mechanic jobs are expected to be positive in the city. According the California Employment Development Department, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics are expected to add an additional 840 more positions between 2012 and 2022, or an employment growth of 14.8 percent during the decade. These increases in job opportunities could come from increased dealerships, small owned mechanic shops, increase in vintage automotive repair and an emissions compliance repair focused repair centers.

Enrolling in an Auto Mechanic School in San Diego

Below are listings of automotive schools in the San Diego area. Schools provide information on what classes and programs they offer, if they are accredited, and if they have partnerships with certification agencies. Find a school listing on this page that fits your educational needs and request information from the school on how to apply.


  1. Labor Market Info, Projections Employment, http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html#Long
  2. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor, 2014 http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41740.htm
  3. Bureau of Automotive Repair, California: https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/Repair_Tech_flowchart.pdf; https://www.bar.ca.gov/FormsPubs/Registration_Licensure_and_Renewal_Requirements.html; https://www.bar.ca.gov

Automotive Schools in San Diego

*This list may contain out-of-state and online schools that accept students from San Diego.