The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employers in the automotive repair and service industry typically prefer to hire individuals with formal training. In Virginia, auto mechanic schools offer training in the fundamentals of motorcycle, diesel and automotive technology. Although the length of each program may vary, most programs traditionally last between six and twelve months. Auto mechanic schools in Virginia also provide online education coursework--another option for working professionals looking to develop skills in areas such as automotive HVAC, transmissions, fuel injection systems and more.
After finishing a certificate or degree program, many students turn to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence for additional certifications. ASE certification is considered to be the industry standard and represents commitment to the automotive service and repair field. According to the BLS, the 2009 mean annual wage for auto mechanics and service technicians in Virginia was just over $40,700. Certain Virginia localities had an even higher 2009 mean annual wage: Richmond ($48,620), the Washington, DC/Arlington/Alexandria metro area ($46,670) and Charlottesville ($43,430).