New York is one of the country's most populous states with an estimated 19.6 million residents in 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. With so many people in the Empire State, it's no wonder the state's Department of Motor Vehicles recorded nearly 10.8 million registered vehicles on New York's roadways in 2012.
New York employs tens of thousands of automobile mechanics and technicians to service and repair residents' vehicles. Mechanics perform a wide range of duties, including:
- Changing oil and other vital fluids
- Replacing common wear items, including belts, brake pads, hoses, tires and windshield wiper blades.
- Installing new critical equipment, such as shock absorbers or struts, starters, alternators and exhaust systems
- Rebuilding damaged engines or transmissions
While many mechanics still learn how to fix cars by working in automotive service shops, the most common path to employment is to enroll in automotive repair programs at mechanics schools to learn the craft.
Auto mechanic schools in New York
The auto repair industry has experienced significant changes in the past few decades as cars have gotten much more complex with the advent of computer-controlled systems. Mechanics, in turn, now use many different complicated computer diagnostic and repair equipment to troubleshoot and fix mechanical problems. They still turn their fair share of wrenches and screwdrivers during routine maintenance tasks, but more often than not automobile mechanics in New York employ sensitive computer equipment that requires extensive training to master.
Community and technical colleges offer many different auto mechanic programs, which can vary in length from one to two years depending on whether they culminate in a certificate of achievement or an associate degree of applied science in automotive repair.
Students interested in attending auto mechanic schools in New York might want to consider attending one of the state's four institutions certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. NATEF schools and their instructors have been vetted to ensure students receive the most up-to-date training. New York has NATEF-accredited schools in Wellsville, Troy, Saratoga Springs and Jamaica.
Coursework at auto mechanic schools in New York usually includes study in the following areas:
- Electronic and electrical systems
- Air conditioning service and repair
- Automotive heating/cooling systems
- Brake repair
- Steering and suspension
- Engine and transmission service and repair
Students who complete an automobile mechanics education program in New York are eligible to earn certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. ASE certification is an important tool to gain employment as it guarantees that mechanics are competent to work on many different aspects of vehicle repair.
Salary expectations and career outlook for New York auto mechanics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), there were 34,160 auto mechanics working in the state of New York in May of 2013, the fourth-highest level of statewide employment in the country.
Mechanics in New York earned median wages of $17.70 an hour, close to the national median hourly wage of $17.65 an hour. The top 10 percent of mechanics in the state took home $63,540 annually, while the bottom 10 percent earned just under $40,000 per year, the BLS reports. The Greater New York City area, which also includes White Plains and Wayne, N.J., employed more than 14,000 auto mechanics in 2013, the BLS reports. Neighboring Nassau and Suffolk counties had the second-highest employment at nearly 6,000.
The field of automotive repair is expected to grow throughout the U.S. by 9 percent, or 60,400 new jobs, from 2012 through 2022, the BLS says. Mechanics who graduate from auto mechanic schools in New York and have ASE certification can expect to have more job opportunities than mechanics without those credentials, the BLS notes.
Read more about Auto Mechanic programs in New York:
Automotive Service Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
New York, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ny.htm
New York, NATEF, www.natef.org/NATEF-and-You/Students-Parents/Find-Accredited-Schools.aspx?State=NY&t=2&e=2
New York, United States Census Bureau, State & Country Quickfacts, July 1, 2013, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36000.html
NYS Vehicle Registrations on File-2012, New York Department of Motor Vehicles, http://dmv.ny.gov/statistic/2012reg.pdf