Auto Mechanic and Automotive Schools in San Diego

Auto mechanics have a wide range of job opportunities to in the California city of San Diego. In addition to great weather and beautiful beaches, auto mechanics can find employment in private auto shops, dealership repair centers, emission testing and repair centers, collision centers and break centers.

Depending on the expected work, a certificate may be all that is needed to find employment. However, with increased state emissions standards and the growing complexity of vehicles, some shops may prefer mechanics to have formal training in the form of an associate’s degree or professional certification from a reputable agency to perform expected auto mechanic job duties.

Some auto mechanics may choose to open their own STAR emissions testing station to take advantage of the requirement that all California vehicles undergo STAR emissions testing every two years.

Training and Certification in San Diego

California and the city of San Diego do not require auto mechanics to be licensed, however, there are some tasks which a mechanic could be asked to perform which can require general training and certification. These include:

  • STAR emissions testing
  • Smog checking and testing
  • Break and lamp repair

To obtain a smog check license, automotive repair technicians need to have one of the following:

  • ASE A6, A8 and L1 certifications
  • An AA/AS degree and 1 year work experience
  • Certificate in auto technology, 1 year work experience and 280 hours of engine performance
  • 2 years of work experience and BAR specified diagnostic and repair training

Smog check technicians need to renew their license every two years and meet continuing education requirements provided by the state. They may also be required to meet certification requirements to renew their license, check with CA BAR to learn more.

For auto mechanics in San Diego looking to open their own STAR emissions testing shop, the requirements are the same as becoming licensed, with the addition of a station fee. STAR stations are stations with higher than average standards and can be limited to a “testing only” location as opposed to a “test and repair” location.

Auto Repair Careers in San Diego

See here how three of the most common automotive careers are performing in the current San Diego job market, from employment to salary.

CareerTotal EmploymentHourly Mean WageAnnual Mean Wage
Automotive Body and Related Repairers1,040$23.88$49,670
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics5,810$24.43$50,810
Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists1,490$29.74$61,860
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Finding a School in San Diego

Below are listings of automotive schools in the San Diego area. Schools provide information on what classes and programs they offer, if they are accredited, and if they have partnerships with certification agencies. Find a school listing on this page that fits your educational needs and request information from the school on how to apply.


  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:;;

Our Partner Listings

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