With the largest city in the state nicknamed the "Motor City," it's not surprising that careers in auto mechanics would be popular in Michigan. The state has a long history as America's automotive birthplace, and it's home to all three American automotive manufacture headquarters including General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler, which are commonly referred to as the "Big Three."
Auto Mechanic Training and Certification in Michigan
According to the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Michigan's post-secondary institutions collectively offer more than 650 automotive-focused programs. While many auto mechanics receive on-the-job training, it is becoming increasingly important for those interested in a career in auto mechanics to receive formal training from an automotive school in Michigan.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), when many employers in the automotive service and repair industry are hiring new technicians, preference is given those who have gone through formal training programs at an automotive school. Companies want skilled technicians who understand the fundamentals of the automotive industry and have real world experience in the auto mechanics field.
- Many programs can be completed any where from six months to two years or more after starting. Formal auto mechanic training and certification programs in Michigan typically cover topics such as:
- Fuel systems
- Diesel technology
- Collision repair and refinishing
- Transmission and engine repair
- Suspension and steering
Once a training program from an auto mechanic school in Michigan has been completed, you can choose whether or not you 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 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.
- Michigan has state-specific certification requirements that Steve McElfresh, president at Universal Technical Institute-Orlando, addressed below. ASE certification alone does not qualify an individual as a State certified mechanic in Michigan.
For more information on requirements for auto mechanic training and certification in Michigan, interested students should review Section 4 of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act.
Auto Mechanic Salary in Michigan
The annual mean wage of automotive and service technicians and mechanics in Michigan, according to May 2014 BLS data, was between $39,150 and $41,560. Nationally, the mean annual wage is $39,980, and the mean hourly wage is $19.22, which means mechanic salaries in Michigan are in line with the national wage estimates.
The top-paying industries for auto mechanic salaries are:
- Natural Gas Distribution
- Couriers and Express Delivery Services
- Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
- Scientific Research and Development Services
- Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
Auto Mechanic and Automotive Jobs in Michigan
Michigan is among the states with the highest number of auto mechanic and automotive jobs, which is not surprising given the state's Motor City status. Nationally, employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations, according the to the BLS.
Those interested in auto mechanic and automotive jobs in Michigan 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
- Automotive Equipment Rental and Leasing
- Support Activities for Road Transportation
Q&A with an Expert
We asked Steve McElfresh, president at Universal Technical Institute-Orlando, for insight into today's automotive industry and the education driving auto mechanics toward the right career path.
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: Why would you recommend this field / profession to someone?
A: Transportation service technician jobs pay well, can't be outsourced or off-shored, and offer opportunities to move up. So graduates of technical and vocational programs like UTI's can do more than just pay back their student loans; they can build great careers, take care of their families and pursue their dreams.
Demand for skilled technicians is very strong. By the year 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor projects there will be more than 1.2 million jobs (1,248,200 to be exact) in the automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine industries. To reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 37,000 technician job openings on average every year.
If you want to do something you love, getting the right training can position you well for employment after graduation.
Q: Are there any specific licensing requirements in Michigan for someone interested in an auto mechanic school?
A: Some states do not require a license to service vehicles in-state. However, Michigan has a certification requirement: Section 4 of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act (MCL 257.1304). This requires repair facilities to employ persons properly certified for the type of repairs performed by the facility. Holders of valid mechanic trainee permits must work under the supervision of a properly certified mechanic. Individuals who hold certification(s) issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) should be aware that ASE certification alone does not qualify you as a state-certified mechanic in Michigan.
Auto Mechanic and Automotive Schools in Michigan
For those interested in automotive careers in the Motor City, there are a number of auto mechanic and automotive schools in Michigan to choose from. Browse the school listings on this page to get started.
- 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
- Detroit Chamber, "The Auto Industry in Michigan," accessed Nov. 2015, http://www.detroitchamber.com/econdev/chamber-initiatives/michauto-universal-name/the-auto-industry-in-michigan/