Chicago is one of the three biggest cities in the country, and a population of nearly 3 million residents means hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks that need maintenance service and repair. If you're hoping to land a stable career in the automobile service industry, studying at one of the many auto mechanic training programs in Chicago is a strong first step toward your goal.
What's the Career Opportunity for Chicago Mechanics?
There were almost 14,000 jobs for trained auto techs in the Chicago area in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and opportunities for graduates of automotive schools in Chicago are only expected to increase over the next several years. The Windy City isn't only the top area for automotive jobs in Illinois, either -- no other metro area in the entire Great Lakes region even comes close.
There are certainly a few positions among those thousands of auto tech jobs in Chicago that don't require much formal education, but cars and trucks are becoming more and more a part of the high-tech realm. Studying at automotive schools in Chicago can familiarize you with the new vehicle systems and computerized diagnostic methods that today's service and repair shops can't do business without. Here's some more info on auto mechanic career outlook.
What Training and Certification Do I Need in Chicago?
Auto mechanic training programs in Chicago can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the type of study plan and the amount of time you have available to dedicate to your coursework. Basic certificates in automotive technology may require as few as 20 hours of coursework, for example, but the curriculum often covers only a few aspects of common vehicles.
Associate degree and advanced certificate programs tend to take a more inclusive approach to vehicle service education. Here's a snapshot of the range of subjects typically addressed at auto mechanic schools in Chicago in more comprehensive programs:
- Engine concepts
- Power accessories
- Fuel systems
- Electrical systems
- Automotive brakes
- Performance & driveability
- Manual drive train & axles
- Steering & suspension systems
- Temperature control systems
The curriculum at some automotive training schools in Chicago includes a component designed to prepare you for particular National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification exams, which serve to show that a mechanic has attained expert-level proficiency in a particular system or vehicle type. Mechanics who pass the full schedule of A-series exams offered become ASE Certified Master Mechanics, which can increase employment flexibility and boost earnings.
What's the Salary for Auto Mechanics in Chicago?
The BLS reported the nationwide average auto mechanic salary as $39,980 for the year in 2014, which works out to monthly wages just above $3,330. Average wages for the state of Illinois were more robust than the national mean -- $3,560 per month, to be exact, or $42,730 for the year -- and mechanic salary in the city of Chicago came out even higher than that.
Graduates of auto schools in Chicago who stayed in the area to start their careers earned an annual average of $45,350 in 2014, which breaks down to around $3,780 in monthly compensation. The top 10 percent of mechanic salaries in 2014 earned more than $75,150 for the year, or $6,262.50 per month.
National-Level Job Growth and Industry Outlook
Not only are expected salaries fairly high for graduates of Chicago automotive training schools in Chicago, but employment of mechanics in the city and surrounding area is also expected to grow at a faster rate than expected for the country as a whole. Nationwide auto mechanic career opportunity is expected to see about a 5 percent rise between 2014 and 2024 -- not too shabby, all in all -- but the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) expects a 9.25 percent increase in auto mechanic and service tech jobs within the state borders by 2022.
Job growth for mechanics in Cook County specifically is projected as slightly slower than the statewide figure but still faster than the national average. IDES analysts project a 2012-2022 increase of 6.6 percent in the area immediately surrounding Chicago.
How Can I Enroll in an Automotive School in Chicago?
If you're thinking about enrolling in one of the auto mechanic training programs that appear below, check out the details in our listings and reach out to your chosen school with any questions you may have. Opportunities for mechanics are growing, and the right knowledge and skills can help you qualify for the exact job you want.
- Chicago (city), Illinois, State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed January 22, 2016, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000.html
- "U.S. Cities With a Population of a Million or More as of July 1, 2014, and the Number and Percentage of People Added Since July 1, 2013," U.S. Census Bureau, accessed January 22, 2016, https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/releases/2015/cb15-89_graphic.jpg
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 22, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 22, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
- School pages, accessed January 22, 2016: Automotive Technology, Harry S Truman, City Colleges of Jacksonville, http://www.ccc.edu/colleges/truman/departments/Pages/Automotive-Technology.aspx; Automotive Technology, College of Lake County, http://www.clcillinois.edu/programs/aut/; Automotive Training Programs, Gateway Technical College, https://www.gtc.edu/programs/automotive-training-programs; UTI-Lisle, IL, Universal Technical Institute, http://www.uti.edu/campus-locations/lisle-il; Automotive Technology, Ivy Tech Community College, https://www.ivytech.edu/automotive-technology/;
- Employment Projections, Illinois Department of Employment Security, accessed January 22, 2016, http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/Employment_Projections.aspx