Jacksonville ranks among the 15 largest cities in the U.S., and the residents of the northernmost large metro on Florida's Atlantic coast need their vehicles in tip-top shape to get from the urban core to the beaches and back again. Whether you're hoping to work on engines, transmissions, auto HVAC, exhaust systems, wheels and tires or a combination of the above, auto mechanic training programs at Jacksonville have got you covered.
How's the Career for Jacksonville Mechanics?
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counted about 3,700 jobs for auto mechanics and service techs in Jacksonville in 2014, and labor analysts predict a relatively rapid rise in industry employment over the next several years. Florida as a whole is listed among the top 10 fastest-growing states for employment in the auto repair sector, and local applicants who haven't attended automotive schools in Jacksonville may have to spend a few years in assistant positions before becoming full-time mechanics.
The BLS also suggests that auto mechanic career should be especially good for graduates of auto mechanic training programs in Jacksonville that provide some employment experience as a part of their curriculum. Also, if a service center will hire you part-time while you're still in school, you'll have strong chances of moving into a good full-time gig after graduation.
What Training and Certification Do I Need to Become an Automotive Mechanic?
Depending on the curriculum, auto mechanic training programs may lead to an associate degree, career diploma or technical certificate. Associate degree programs tend to require more overall coursework than others but also tend to cover the full range of vehicle systems. Technical certificates can often be earned in as few as 20 credit hours, but their scope of instruction is much narrower.
Here's a list of the type of automotive subjects you can expect to study when pursuing an associate degree or other comprehensive curriculum at automotive schools in Jacksonville:
- Steering and suspension
- Automatic transmissions and transaxles
- Manual transmission and tranxaxles
- Brake systems
- Electrical systems
- Engine performance
- Air conditioning and heating
After graduation, you can continue your education while you work and prepare to apply for certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). In order to become ASE certified, mechanics must demonstrate deep knowledge of a range of vehicle systems and pass a written examination. Those who pass the first eight ASE exams offered in the automobile and light truck category become ASE-Certified Master Automobile Technicians, one of the highest distinctions a mechanic can earn.
What's the Salary for Auto Mechanics in Jacksonville?
Across the whole U.S., according to BLS data, the average annual auto mechanic salary was $37,120 in 2014. That figure, which works out to a monthly wage of about $3,100, was about $1,000 lower than the annual average salary reported by mechanics in Florida the same year.
Local Jacksonville graduates of auto mechanic training programs earned salaries that were approximately equal to the statewide average — an average annual pay of $38,080 and a mean monthly wage of about $3,175 in 2014 — and those who had greater experience or more advanced education earned considerably more. The top 10 percent of mechanic salaries in Jacksonville in 2014 paid more than $57,690, or a monthly wage of more than $4,800, according to BLS data.
National-Level Job Growth and Industry Outlook
Employment growth is another area where the regional numbers for Florida and Jacksonville's Duval County put the national figures to shame. Job growth in the profession is projected at around 5 percent nationwide between 2014 and 2024, which should lead to considerable raw job gains, but the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) shows expected statewide gains of more than 10 percent between 2015 and 2023.
In the specific area around Jacksonville, graduates of auto mechanic schools should see even faster job growth than indicated in the state projection. Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics in Duval County is expected to increase 11.7 percent, bringing more than a thousand openings into the local job market.
How Can I Enroll at Automotive Schools in Jacksonville?
If you're ready to invest in your future with a degree, diploma or certificate from one of an automotive training program, take a look at our listings below and find one that suits your needs. Some schools even offer online auto mechanic training, for students whose work schedules or personal lives may prohibit them from a traditional school schedule.
- Quick 'Jax Facts,' About Jacksonville, City of Jacksonville, accessed January 22, 2015, http://www.coj.net/about-jacksonville/quick -- jax-facts-.aspx
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 22, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed January 22, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
- School pages, accessed January 22, 2015: Automotive Service Technician Technical Certificate, Florida State College at Jacksonville, http://catalog.fscj.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=33&poid=5387; Associate in Science, Automotive Service Management Technology, http://floridastatecollegecatalog.fscj.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=18&poid=3921; Auto Repair Technician Training Online School, Penn Foster Career School, http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/automotive-and-engine-repair/auto-repair-technician-career-diploma;
- Test Series, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, accessed January 22, 2015, http://www.ase.com/Tests/ASE-Certification-Tests/Test-Series.aspx
- Employment Projections, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, accessed January 22, 2015, http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections