Becoming an Automotive Technician or Mechanic in San Diego

San Diego offers a wide variety of career opportunities for those interested in a career in the automotive industry. From the many small independent auto repair shops to major dealerships, there is something for everyone. Prospective technicians should research and understand the different types of automotive service available in their area, as well as become familiar with local industry standards and regulations.

Requirements for becoming an Automotive Service Technician in San Diego

In San Diego, any business or individual engaged in the repair, alteration or diagnosis of motor vehicles must obtain an Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) license from the Bureau of Automotive Repair. This necessary permit costs $200 and is renewable on a yearly basis.

In addition to this, an individual must possess a valid Automotive Repair Technician Certificate. This certificate requires the completion of at least four years of automotive service-related experience or the successful completion of an approved training program.

Those who are interested in pursuing further education can expect to learn about some of the following topics in an automotive technology program:

  • Electrical systems
  • Fuel systems
  • Brake systems
  • Automatic transmissions
  • Steering
  • Light duty automotive systems
  • Maintain hand tools
  • suspension systems
  • Engine performance
  • Emissions systems
  • Computerized diagnostics and maintenance

Finally, those who are interested in pursuing a career as an automotive technician must also possess good customer service skills, as they will be expected to communicate effectively with customers. It is also recommended that potential technicians learn more about the tools and equipment used in automotive repairs.

Auto Mechanic Schools in San Diego

Those interested in becoming an automotive technician or mechanic can pursue a training program at one of the many accredited auto mechanic schools in San Diego. Most programs offer both classroom instruction and hands-on experience, with topics such as engine diagnostics, brake systems, electrical troubleshooting, and more.

Those interested should consider one of the following degree and certificate programs:

  • San Diego Miramar College. This San Diego college offers an associate of applied science degree in automotive technology. This program is dedicated to providing extensive training in a range of automotive manufacturer products, including ASEEF Certified courses on American Honda Motors and Toyota Motor Sales. SD Miramar also offers certificate courses in automotive chassis, electrical, engine performance, and transmission. An Advanced Emission Specialist Certificate is also available at this institution.
  • Automotive Training Group(ATG). ATG is an automotive training center in San Diego that provides certified technician training. They offer a variety of courses such as basic engine tune-up, fuel injection systems, brake service and repair, electrical systems, and more. ATG also offers employers assistance with employee recruitment and placement.

ASE Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is an esteemed, independent certification program tailored to evaluate automotive professionals on their knowledge and abilities within the industry. Acquiring ASE qualifications will give job seekers a remarkable advantage when applying or looking for advancement opportunities. To be eligible for ASE recognition, applicants must pass multiple exams that verify expertise across numerous vehicle systems.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Employment for automotive technicians and mechanics in San Diego is expected to grow by 4% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS also reports that automotive service technicians and mechanics in San Diego earned an average annual wage of $58,440 as of May 2021, while bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists earned an annual wage of $61,640. Automotive glass installers and automotive body and related repairers earned annual salaries of $37,610 and $60,000 respectively.

Auto Mechanic Salaries in San Diego

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA4,970$26,08$58,440

Working as an Auto Mechanic in San Diego

The automotive repair industry in San Diego is a growing sector that offers many opportunities for those looking to pursue a career in the field. With the right education and training, automotive technicians can make a good living while helping people keep their cars running safely and reliably. Those who take their job seriously will soon find themselves in high demand with customers throughout San Diego County.


  1. Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
  2. Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
  3. Labor Market Info, Projections Employment,
  4. Bureau of Automotive Repair, California:;;

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*This list may contain out-of-state and online schools that accept students from San Diego.