Becoming an Automotive Technician or Mechanic in Idaho
A career in auto mechanics is excellent for anyone who wants a good paying job and an active workday. As an auto mechanic, you will be responsible for diagnosing, repairing, maintaining and overhauling the latest makes and models of vehicles used in the automotive, trucking, construction, industrial and farming industries.
Requirements for becoming an Automotive Service Technician in Idaho
Though having a license isn’t necessary in Idaho, employers prefer that automotive service technicians have some form of higher education as well as technical training in order to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques.
It is highly recommended that aspiring auto techs pursue higher education through a vocational school, community college or specialized training center offering courses in automotive technology. These programs will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to become a successful auto service technician in Idaho as well as give them an edge when seeking employment in the field.
Auto mechanic training programs may cover the following topics:
- Auto repair
- Auto maintenance
- Brake systems
- Electrical systems
- Suspension systems
- Maintenance and light repair
- Engine repair
- Transmission systems
- Computer diagnostic systems
Additionally, with the ASE testing, you can become a master auto mechanic, which is a higher level of certification. This will require you to pass more ASE tests as well as have at least two years of on-the-job experience.
Auto Mechanic Schools in Idaho
Mechanics in Idaho have many options for quality training programs approved by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). The following schools offer courses for aspiring auto techs to prepare them for the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification:
- North Idaho College. Offers a certificate program in Automotive Technology (A.A.S.), providing thorough training in brakes, electrical systems, steering and suspension systems, engine repair, computer diagnostic systems and transmissions. The North Idaho College Automotive Technology program is nationally recognized and taught by certified ASE Master Technicians.
- College of Eastern Idaho. CEI provides an opportunity to earn a certificate in auto and diesel mechanics that takes as little as ten months. If you wish to continue your studies, they also offer an associate degree which can be completed within 29 months. Endorsed by NATEF, the curriculum includes lectures and practical application five ASE areas of automotive vehicle repair and three ASE topics on heavy duty diesel repair.
- College of Southern Idaho. CSI offers an Automotive Technology program for those wishing to become certified in auto repair. This two-year program is designed to teach students the latest techniques and theories in automotive systems, components, operations and troubleshooting. The curriculum also covers topics such as electrical systems and engine performance, steering & suspension systems, brakes and transmissions.
Once you have completed an approved automotive technology program, you may choose to become certified by the ASE. This is a voluntary certification and not required for practice in Idaho. However, having an ASE certification is beneficial as it proves your knowledge and experience as an auto technician and can even lead to higher wages when seeking employment.
In order to apply for the ASE exam, you must have at least two years of experience as an auto technician or complete a post-secondary automotive education program such as those listed above.
Some of the exams offered by ASE include:
- Collision repair and refinish certification tests
- Damage analysis and estimating certification test
- Transit bus certification tests
- Truck equipment certification tests
- Light repair certification test
- Alternate fuels certification test
- Light truck certification tests
Once you have successfully completed the ASE testing requirements, you will be issued an ASE certification card which is valid for five years. At the end of this time period, renewal of your certification requires passing a recertification test or retaking of the original exam.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Over the next decade, Idaho is anticipating a growth in employment for mechanics. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 8% increase in this field from 2020-2030.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021 automotive service technicians in Idaho earned an average annual salary $41,470. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel specialists made an average $47,200 per year while auto body and related repairers averaged $47,310 per year. Auto glass installers also brought in an annual mean salary of $47,220.
Auto Mechanic Salaries by Region in Idaho
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Boise City, ID||1,550||$20,64||$42,930|
|Coeur d’Alene, ID||400||$21,67||$45,070|
|Idaho Falls, ID||360||$21,01||$43,690|
|Twin Falls, ID||310||$20,71||$43,070|
Working as an Auto Mechanic in Idaho
Working as an auto mechanic in Idaho can be a rewarding job, whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience.
There are plenty of shops and dealerships looking for qualified mechanics, and learning the trade can be a great way to make a living. With the right training and certification, you’ll have an edge in a competitive job market and may even be able to command higher wages than your peers without it.
- 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