Becoming an Automotive Technician or Mechanic in Arkansas
A career in automotive repair or body work is interesting, lucrative, and offers opportunities to use your creative abilities. These hands-on careers are different every day and pay well because they require skills and specific knowledge. In Arkansas, mechanics are in high demand, making it a great state to pursue this career path.
Requirements for becoming an Automotive Service Technician in Arkansas
Auto mechanics in Arkansas are not required to be licensed by the state. However, employers may require certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), which offers a variety of certifications that are relevant to automotive repair.
Obtaining a higher education in this field will give candidates an advantage when seeking employment in the automotive industry. Those who intend on furthering their education, can expect some of the following topics to be covered in an automotive service technology program:
- Collision repair
- Auto repair
- Brake systems
- Computer systems
- Engine repair
- Electrical systems
- Fuel and emission systems
In addition to completing an academic program, candidates should gain practical experience through internships and apprenticeships.
Auto Mechanic Schools in Arkansas
Prospective auto techs have a few options for learning to become a mechanic or other type of automotive worker in Arkansas. For those who are interested in attending an auto mechanic school in Arkansas, Consider the following options:
- Pulaski Technical College. At Pulaski Tech in North Little Rock, students can complete a four-semester NATEF-certified automotive technology program to become accredited mechanics. The school also offers specialized certificate programs like engine machinist and tire center operator certificates.
- South Arkansas Community College. This automotive maintenance certificate program is just 16 credit hours long and covers the basics of engine repair, automotive electronics, steering, suspension and drivetrain. It has been certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and prepares students for entry-level jobs.
Although not necessary, most auto mechanics further their careers by becoming certified through the independent organization ASE. They offer tests for various types of automotive professionals including collision repair and automobile service and tech. To be eligible for a certifying exam, you must have either completed a secondary program along with one year of work experience or two years’ worth of experience itself. Some examples of tests offered by the ASE include:
- Transit bus certification tests
- School bus certification tests
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
- Collision repair and refinish certification tests
- Truck equipment certification tests
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Over the next decade, Arkansas is anticipating a growth in employment for mechanics. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 2% increase in this field from 2020-2030.
Automotive service technicians in Arkansas earned a mean annual salary of $38,680 as of May 2021. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists made an average of $42,700 per year. Auto body and related repairers earned $45,750 per year while auto glass installers earned $29,760 per year.
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Arkansas by region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||390||$20,64||$42,940|
|Hot Springs, AR||190||$20,00||$41,590|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||1,360||$21,71||$45,150|
|Pine Bluff, AR||90||$21,07||$43,830|
Working as an Auto Mechanic in Arkansas
Those who choose to become an auto mechanic in Arkansas will find a few unique opportunities. Large cities like Little Rock and Fayetteville offer many job prospects, while the state’s rural areas have plenty of agricultural equipment to be serviced and maintained. Aspiring mechanics should also look into local automotive dealerships that may need experienced technicians for their service centers. Additionally, with the prevalence of vintage and classic cars in Arkansas, mechanics may be able to find employment specializing in older models.
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 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, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm