The automotive industry continues to recover from the recession and it seems like things are headed in a positive direction. A recent November report from the Wall Street Journal revealed auto sales in the U.S. have topped 6.6 million vehicles to-date in 2014. Increasing sales numbers should be welcomed news for individuals considering a career in auto repair. More vehicles on the road means more maintenance, service and repair opportunities.
The need for service and maintenance is one reason the auto mechanic industry produces billions of dollars per year in revenue, reaching $60 billion in 2013, according to a report from IBISWorld. Its sheer size is staggering -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS.gov) estimates more than 700,000 individuals were employed as auto mechanics in 2013.
Auto mechanics are central to the country's transportation system, responsible for keeping vehicles safe and on the road. They are responsible for numerous tasks when servicing, maintaining or repairing a vehicle. For example, auto mechanics may perform the following tasks:
- Change the oil in a vehicle
- Perform a tune-up to a vehicle's engine
- Service or repair heating systems
- Handle a variety of preventative maintenance services
- Repair or change brake systems
- Replace air conditioning units
Automotive service and repair training in New Jersey
The state of New Jersey does not require individual licenses for auto mechanics to work in the state. However, they are required to hold a registered business license if they are opening or operating their own repair shop or garage. Individuals interested in joining the industry should complete a training program from one of the various accredited auto mechanic schools in New Jersey.
Typically speaking, students can complete this training through either certificate, diploma or associate degree programs from colleges, vocational schools and workforce commissions. Some programs are designed to be finished in as little as one year, while an associate degree program may require two or more years of study to complete.
Here are two examples of automotive service and repair training programs in New Jersey:
- Union County College in Cranford offers students an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in automotive technology. Students receive training in eight core automotive sectors, including electrical and electronic repair, brakes, automatic transmissions and more.
- New Community Corporation in Newark, In partnership with the Ford Motor Corporation, offers an automotive mechanic training program designed to prepare applicants for entry-level positions in the workforce.
Career outlook for automotive service technicians and mechanics in New Jersey
The overall auto mechanic industry is projected by the BLS to grow by 9 percent nationally between 2012 and 2022. While the national trends are pushing double-digit growth, the employment projections for New Jersey are a slightly more tepid 5.5 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to Projections Central.
More than 21,000 individuals were employed as auto mechanics in the state in 2012 and approximately 660 new openings should occur state-wide during the 10-year span. The largest job markets for prospective auto mechanics in New Jersey can be found in two metropolitan areas: Newark-Union and Edison-New Brunswick. Below is a list of 2013 employment totals in New Jersey from BLS data:
- Newark-Union: 4,800
- Edison-New Brunswick: 4,020
- Camden: 2,790
- Trenton-Ewing: 690
- Atlantic City-Hammonton: 520
- Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton: 290
- Ocean City: 220
Salary overview for New Jersey auto mechanics
While employment projections lag below the national average, overall wages do not. In fact, auto mechanics salaries in New Jersey outpaced the national average by slightly more than 11 percent in 2013. The state average salary, according to the BLS, was $44,440 in 2013, compared to $39,450 nationally.
At the local level, auto mechanics in the state have the opportunity earn even greater salaries, some reaching nearly $50,000 annually. Here is the metro area average salary breakouts from 2013 data from the BLS:
- Atlantic City-Hammonton: $49,370
- Ocean City: $46,510
- Trenton-Ewing: $46,170
- Newark-Union: $45,170
- Edison-New Brunswick: $44,150
- Camden: $39,170
- Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton: $38,650
Students considering enrolling in an auto mechanic training program should review the various educational options available in New Jersey and take location and professional goals into account before making a decision.
Read more about Auto Mechanic programs in New Jersey:
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 New Jersey, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
Projections Central, Texas, projectionscentral.com
IBIS World, Auto Mechanics in the US Industry Report, http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1689
Wall Street Journal, Auto Sales, http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html
State of New Jersey, Motor Vehicle Commission, http://www.state.nj.us/mvcbiz/BusinessServices/AutoBodyRepair.htm