In 2013, Texas had the second highest total of new car sales in the country ($70.8 million), finishing just behind California ($86.9 million), according to the 2014 National Automobile Dealer Association's annual report. Indeed, the automotive industry looms large in Texas, which is quickly becoming the heart of the country's automotive manufacturing.
In April 2014, Toyota was awarded $40 million from the Texas Enterprise fund to bring its North American headquarters to Plano, combining its manufacturing, sales and marketing and corporate offices. The move is projected to produce more than $300 million in capital investment to the region, as well as create approximately 4,000 new jobs.
On the other hand, San Antonio remains an important member of Texas' automotive industry. Toyota opened the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) in 2006, responsible for producing Tundra trucks in 2006. In 2010, Toyota moved full production of Tacoma trucks to TMMTX, adding another $100 million capital investment to San Antonio.
Additionally, 21 Toyota parts suppliers also call San Antonio home, including Tokai Rika (steering wheels), Arvin Sango (Tacoma exhaust systems), and PPG (windshield glass). Two of these major suppliers, Arvin Sango and Toyotetsu, pledged to invest $21 million in San Antonio locations in 2014, adding manufacturing space that is expected to add new jobs to the job market.
Auto mechanic career overview in San Antonio
Indeed, the automotive industry in San Antonio is at once diverse and growing, presenting a range of opportunities to individuals seeking an automotive-focused career. One of the fastest growing careers is automotive service and repair, a field projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to increase by more than 17 percent in the state between 2012 and 2022.
Auto mechanics are responsible for performing a varied array of duties when servicing, repairing and maintaining vehicles. From identifying and isolating issues to making fixes, auto mechanics help keep cars safe and on the road. Specific tasks may include the following:
- Conducting wheel alignments
- Repairing a vehicle's powertrain system
- Changing tires
- Changing a vehicle's oil
- Replacing carburetors
- Servicing and repairing brake systems
Automotive service and repair training in San Antonio
Training programs are typically found at community colleges, technical institutes or vocational schools. There are multiple paths to an education, including diploma, certificate and associate degree programs. The length of the training program depends on the individual school, program, curriculum and graduation requirements.
There are several auto mechanic schools in San Antonio that offer a selection of professional programs of study, such as automotive technology or automotive service. Here is an example of just two of the numerous programs available:
St. Philip's College. St. Philip's College offers two automotive training programs that are recognized by National Automotive Technician Education Program, and includes specializations such as automotive technology and General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program.
South Texas Vocational Institute. With a location in San Antonio, South Texas Vocational Institute offers students an automotive service technician program that prepares students for entry-level positions in car dealerships, repair garages and more.
Career outlook for automotive service technicians and mechanics in San Antonio
As noted above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects state-wide employment opportunities for auto mechanics to increase by 17.7 percent between 2012 and 2022. That growth outpaces the national average of 9 percent, again drawing attention to Texas' growing job market for automotive service and technicians.
More than 50,000 people were employed as auto mechanics in the state in 2013. That number should increase to greater than 60,000 by 2022 -- an increase of approximately 9,000 positions, according to BLS employment data. San Antonio is the third biggest metropolitan job market for auto mechanics, accounting for approximately 8 percent of the state's auto mechanic workforce. All told, more than 4,200 auto mechanics were employed in San Antonio in 2013.
In 2013, auto mechanics in San Antonio earned an annual hourly wage of $18.10, which equates to an annual salary of $37,650. That's slightly below the national average of $39,450, according to data from the BLS.
Prospective students considering enrolling in an auto mechanic school in San Antonio should review their options, conduct research about individual training programs to learn how a diploma or degree could impact their future career prospects.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, OES, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, OOH, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, OES Texas, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm
Projections Central, Texas, projectionscentral.com
State of Texas, The Texas Automotive Manufacturing Industry, http://governor.state.tx.us/files/ecodev/Texas-Automotive-Industry-Report.pdf