Becoming an Automotive Technician or Mechanic in Illinois

A career as an automotive service technician or a collision and body repair worker might be for you if you love working with your hands, helping people and being around cars. In Illinois, the demand for these skilled professionals is high, and the salaries are great. To become a mechanic in Illinois, you only have to complete a certificate or two-year degree program and continue training on the job.

Requirements for becoming an Automotive Service Technician in Illinois

You do not need any type of professional license to work as an auto mechanic in Illinois. However, employers may prefer to hire technicians who have completed a certificate or two-year degree program from an automotive service technology school.

Prospective auto mechanics can expect to learn about some of the following topics should they choose to enroll in an automotive technology program:

  • Auto maintenance
  • Manual drive train
  • Collision repair
  • Damage analysis
  • Motor vehicle air conditioning
  • Electrical systems
  • Engine management
  • Computer technology
  • Auto repair

Courses usually include a mix of classroom lectures and hands-on experience. You can find certificate and associate degree programs available at Illinois community colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools.

Auto Mechanic Schools in Illinois

There are a number of educational options available to those who are interested in an automotive training program. If you’re looking to get an automotive technology certificate or degree, many community colleges offer programs that may be of interest. Some even have specializations, like general maintenance or repairs for specific brands.

  • Universal Technical Institute. Located in Lisle, UTI provides students with programs in automotive and diesel technology. If you’re looking to get ahead of the competition by specializing your skillset, UTI also offers manufacturer-specific training from some industry giants including Ford FACT, Daimler trucks, Toyota TPAT and Peterbilt PTI. These programs are accredited by NATEF and prepare students for ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certification.
  • Illinois Central College. In East Peoria, Illinois Central College offers a two-year associate of applied science degree. The comprehensive program includes coursework and an eight-week internship for hands-on work experience. The college also offers students the General Motors ASEP program, which provides students with specialized training to work with diesel engines and equipment.
  • Parkland College. Parkland, in Champaign, offers several options for students interested in automotive careers. These include a one-year certificate in auto maintenance and light repair and a two-year associate in applied science degree in management concentration, motorsport concentration, and technician concentration

Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. Contact the financial office at the institution you are interested in for more information.

ASE Certification

ASE certification is something that all service technicians and mechanics usually achieve at some point in their careers. It is not necessarily required, but employers often want to hire people who are working towards this important certification. In order to qualify to take the ASE certification exams you must have either two years of experience working as a mechanic or service tech, or have completed a training program and one year of related work experience.

ASE offers over 40 certification exams on a broad scope of topics related to the automotive industry. Some mechanics prefer to focus on one or two areas, like brakes or electrical systems while others choose take many exams and become certified as Master Mechanics which is ASE’s top level of certification.

A few examples of the certification tests that are available to auto techs include:

  • Transit bus certification tests
  • School bus certification tests
  • Light repair certification test
  • Damage analysis and estimating certification test
  • Parts specialist certification tests
  • Alternate fuels certification test
  • Light truck certification tests
  • Collision repair and refinish certification tests
  • Engine machinist certification tests
  • Truck equipment certification tests

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

The job outlook for auto mechanics is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects steady growth through 2030, with an estimated increase of 3%. As of May 2021, the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $47,400 per year. Bus and truck mechanics earned even more, with an annual average incomed of $58,150 while automotive body and related repairers made an average of $47,180 in the state in 2021.

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Illinois by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Bloomington, IL460$21,9645,680
Carbondale-Marion, IL330$21,39$44,480
Champaign-Urbana, IL410$23,29$48,450
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI20,470$24,85$51,680
Danville, IL150$22,13$46,030
Decatur, IL250$22,03$45,820
Kankakee, IL260$21,44$44,580
Peoria, IL870$22,25$46,280
Rockford, IL790$22,38$46,540
Springfield, IL610$24,03$49,980

Working as an Auto Mechanic in Illinois

Working as an auto mechanic in Illinois offers a variety of opportunities to use your knowledge and skills. From large cities like Chicago, Rockford and Springfield to small towns scattered throughout the state, mechanics are in high demand. With competitive salaries and plenty of job openings, this is a great career choice for those who want the chance to work with their hands and learn about the inner-workings of an automobile. In addition, many auto mechanics in Illinois are able to take advantage of continuing education courses and certifications that can help them enhance their skills and increase their earning potential. With excellent benefits, job stability and plenty of opportunities for advancement, this is a field with great potential.


  • Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2022 EditionBureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
  • National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE),
  • Projections Central,
  • National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE),

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