Home to the Daytona 500 and possessing a large NASCAR fan following, it's not surprising that careers in auto mechanics would be popular in the "Sunshine State."
Florida employs a large number of automotive service technicians and mechanics. Those interested in a career in auto mechanics in Florida should review the job description of an auto mechanic and expect to identify and troubleshoot problems with automobiles through the use of technology as well as more hands-on methods, such as performing tasks with tools, parts and other automotive hardware.
Auto Mechanic Training and Certification in Florida
Formal training programs at automotive schools in Florida, which can typically be completed any where from six months to two years or more after starting, cover topics such as:
- Fuel systems
- Transmission and engine repair
- Suspension and steering
- Collision repair and refinishing
- Diesel technology
After students complete a program at an auto college in Florida, they can choose whether or not they want to pursue a certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Certification from ASE may have an impact on career opportunities so interested students should research the benefits ASE certification provides. Students who complete ASE certification can move onto become ASE-Certified Master Technicians. To qualify for ASE certification, automotive technicians must have two years of on-the-job training or one year of on-the-job training and a two-year degree in automotive repair. Professionals must retake the ASE test every five years to continue certification.
For more information on requirements for auto mechanic training and certification in Florida, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation is a good resource.
Auto Mechanic Salary in Florida
The annual mean wage of automotive and service technicians and mechanics in Florida, according to May 2014 BLS data, was between $37,340 and $38,930. Nationally, the mean annual wage is $39,980, and the mean hourly wage is $19.22, which means auto mechanic salaries in Florida are closely in line with the national wage estimates.
The top paying industries for auto mechanic salaries in Florida are:
- Natural Gas Distribution
- Couriers and Express Delivery Services
- Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
- Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
- Scientific Research and Development Services
Auto Mechanic and Automotive Jobs in Florida
Florida is among the states with the highest number of auto mechanic and automotive jobs. In fact, the metropolitan areas of Punta Gorda, FL and Panama City-Lynn-Haven-Panama City Beach, FL are among the top 10 highest concentration metropolitan areas for auto mechanic jobs in the United States. Auto mechanic job opportunities should be plentiful as the BLS projects the field to grow nine percent from 2012 to 2022. Those interested in an automotive career in Florida can expect to find jobs in the following industries, which include the highest concentration of employment:
- Automotive Repair and Maintenance
- Automobile Dealers
- Automotive Parts, Accessories and Tire Stores
- Gasoline Stations
Q&A with an Expert
We talked to Steve McElfresh, president at Universal Technical Institute-Orlando, for guidance on today's automotive criteria. Steve received his bachelor’s in business management from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining UTI-Orlando, he served as Director of Education/Operations at the Universal Technical Institute campus in Exton, Pa.
Q: What qualities/skills do you look for in a person interested in a career in auto mechanics?
A: In a word: passion. They have a passion for their chosen market segment. Many are enthusiasts and have chosen a career path that supports their passion for a particular market. Any car enthusiast would find a career in a dealership filled with the latest models extremely rewarding.
Our students are young men and women who are passionate about cars, tend to be hands-on learners, are the "fixers of things" and want to make a career out of doing something they love. Many tend to grow up around people who have influenced them in a positive way about the industry.
About 97 percent of our students are men between the ages of 18 and 34, but we are seeing a growing number of women enrolling in our programs. About 20 percent of our students are veterans.
Q: Why is Florida good for someone wanting to start a career in the automotive industry?
A: Demand for skilled technicians is strong across the country. Florida has a vibrant industry that is dependent on transportation, so there will always be a demand for skilled technicians to keep the transportation industry and infrastructure running.
"Florida has a vibrant industry that is dependent on transportation, so there will always be a demand for skilled technicians to keep the transportation industry and infrastructure running." - Steve McElfresh, President, UTI-Orlando
Across the country, our industry partners are telling us they cannot find enough trained technicians to fill the jobs they have and, as Baby Boomers begin to retire in droves and the number of vehicles on the road continues to grow, the gap will only widen.
Q: Are there any specific licensing requirements in Florida for someone interested in an automotive school?
A: Automobile technicians are not required to get a license to service cars or trucks in Florida. Nevertheless, job seekers with training in advanced automotive technology from a renowned automotive school in Florida should enjoy the best job prospects while those who don't have formal training are likely to face strong competition for entry-level jobs.
Mechanics who match the following standards are considerably more likely to get a career in an automobile repair center as compared with job seekers who do not meet many of these minimal criteria:
- Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certifications (Master Technician status preferred)
- Work experience in one of the following areas:
- Repair Technician - 1, 2, or 3 years
- Service Consultant - 2 years
- On-the-job training from local automotive dealers
- Plus: Any car manufacturer certifications (e.g., BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz)
Auto Mechanic and Automotive Schools in Florida
For those interested in automotive careers in the Motor City, Florida has a number of auto mechanic and automotive schools to choose from. Check out diesel mechanic schools in Florida, and browse the school listings on this page to get started on your automotive career path today.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
- Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
- National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, https://www.ase.com/Home.aspx