Over 33 million vehicles were registered in the state of California in 2014, an increase of two percent over the previous year. With all those cars, trucks and other vehicles on the road, everything from basic maintenance to major repairs will be required on a daily basis throughout the state — and that means you might have a promising career to look forward to if you're a California auto mechanic school graduate.
How much do California auto mechanics make?
In the state of California, auto mechanics made a mean annual wage of $44,230 in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — higher than the national average of $39,980. If you specialize in various types of auto repair you might make more: for instance, diesel engine specialists made an average of $50,570, while heavy equipment mechanics made $56,430.
Here's the breakdown of what California auto mechanics might expect to make in various metro areas across the state:
- Los Angeles: $38,660
- San Diego: $42,890
- Sacramento: $46,790
- Fresno: $37,870
- Oakland: $51,430
Are there good employment opportunities for auto mechanics in California?
Yes. Projections Central reports 15% growth of auto mechanics in California from 2012 to 2022, which is much higher than the nationwide growth of 9% for the occupation. There are currently 2,590 annual openings for graduates of mechanic schools in California; those who have gained education and experience in advanced automotive technology, such as computer systems or hybrid fuel, might see the best prospects.
It is important to note that California has the highest employment level of auto mechanics in the nation, with 60,440 people working in the industry, according to the BLS. That's far ahead of the second-highest contender, Texas, which has just over 47,000 auto mechanics. Of all the metro areas in California, the Los Angeles area has the highest concentration of mechanics, while the Riverside-San Bernadino area also shows robust growth.
How do I become an auto mechanic in California?
Make certain the institution is accredited when choosing a mechanics school:
- The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) currently accredits 48 automotive programs in the state of California. Though there are numerous other schools that offer programs in auto mechanics, going with a program accredited by the NATEF helps ensures you will receive a top-notch education that prepares you to move into the automotive industry immediately upon graduation.
- The state of California has some requirements as to training for high-end services or repairs. For example, those who want to specialize in smog certification or emissions testing must earn the proper training to do so. Those who choose to obtain certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or the Automotive Service Association (ASA) might see better options for work among discerning employers.
Ready to get started? Your new career can begin by searching through our list of mechanic schools in California below, or by checking out more detail on California NATEF Certified Diesel Mechanic Schools or California BMW STEP Program Participating Schools.
1. Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm#tab-1
2. Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
3. California Department of Motor Vehicles, estimated vehicles registered by county through December 2014, http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/add5eb07-c676-40b4-98b5-8011b059260a/est_fees_pd_by_county.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=add5eb07-c676-40b4-98b5-8011b059260a
4. California Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
5. Find Accredited Schools, NATEF, http://www.natef.org/NATEF-and-You/Students-Parents/Find-Accredited-Schools.aspx?State=CA&t=1&e=2