Auto mechanics in Colorado provide a wide range of services to keep the state's cars and trucks operating efficiently. Auto mechanics, many of which have completed educational programs at automotive schools in Colorado prior to entering the state's workforce, are well-versed in using sophisticated diagnostic equipment to identify and diagnose major mechanical problems, as well as performing routine service needs, such as replacing worn brake parts and other common-wear items.
Some automotive service technicians spend their days working on a particular area of a car or truck, such as the engine, transmission, or electrical, braking and steering systems, while others work on air conditioning, drive trains or suspensions. Many mechanics in the state have learned the trade by working up from entry-level positions at independent repair shops, but more and more service and repair technicians working in the state are graduates of mechanic schools in Colorado. Educational programs provide mechanics with a much broader knowledge base of the repair industry, which is becoming increasingly more complicated due to advances in automotive technology and the prevalence of computer-controlled systems in newer cars and trucks.
Auto Mechanic and Automotive Schools in Colorado
There are many vocational and mechanic schools in Colorado that offer training in automotive service and repair. Some of the top automotive schools in Colorado are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, which evaluates automotive training programs against industry standards to ensure graduates have the core competencies necessary to find and hold gainful employment at dealerships and repair shops. Students who graduate from NATEF-accredited training programs are encouraged to earn certification from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence. The coveted ASE certification demonstrates to employers that their mechanics have completed the necessary training and understand the intricacies of performing automotive repair work.
Programs at automotive schools in Colorado typically offer education in the following areas:
- Brake repair
- Steering and suspension
- Engine repair
- Automotive technology
- Electrical and charging systems
There are 14 NATEF-accredited schools in the state located in Denver, Littleton, Sterling, La Junta, Pueblo, Fort Collins, Westminster, Fort Morgan, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Lakewood and Grand Junction.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Auto Mechanics in Colorado
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 11,840 automotive service technicians and mechanics working in Colorado in May of 2013. More than half of the mechanics working in Colorado are employed in the greater Denver-Broomfield-Aurora metropolitan area.
The median hourly wage for all mechanics in the state was $18.50, according to the BLS, which is higher than the national median wage of $17.65. Mechanics with many years of experience, a full suite of tools and ASE certifications generally are paid much more per hour, however. The top 10 percent of mechanics in Colorado earned more than $65,000 per year, the BLS notes, while the bottom 10 percent took home $21,250 annually.
The BLS also reports that auto dealerships and repair shops often have trouble finding highly trained and qualified personnel to perform repair work. Job prospects, the BLS says, should be strongest for graduates of automotive training programs, especially those who have studied newer technologies, such as hybrid fuel or electric vehicle systems. Mechanics without formal training or ASE certification are expected to face the most competition for employment.
Job growth in the field of automotive service and repair is projected to rise by 9 percent from 2012 through 2022, the BLS reports, with the majority of openings at dealerships and independent repair shops. Job growth in the industry is modest due to the increasing lifespan of modern-day vehicles.
Read more about other automotive program in Colorado:
- Accredited Schools, National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, www.natef.org/NATEF-and-You/Students-Parents/Find-Accredited-Schools.aspx?State=CO&t=1&e=2
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm#tab-1
- May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Colorado, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm#49-0000