Becoming an Automotive Technician or Mechanic in Iowa
A career as an automotive technician or mechanic could be perfect for you if you’re great at problem solving and enjoy working with cars and trucks. As an auto technician, you could work in the field as a mechanic, auto body repairer, auto glass installer, diesel mechanic, or bus and truck mechanic.
Requirements for becoming an Automotive Service Technician in Iowa
Auto mechanics in Iowa do not need to be licensed in order to perform vehicle repairs and maintenance. However, gaining an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification may help you stand out in the job market. Employers prefer to hire candidates with some experience as well as a higher education, which is why it may be wise to enroll in an automotive technology program.
Those interested in automotive mechanics technology, can expect some of the following topics to be covered in the various programs offered in Iowa.
- Fuel systems
- Auto maintenance
- Air conditioning
- Automatic transmissions
- Manual drivetrain
- Brake systems
- Suspension and steering
- Engine performance
- Auto repair
- Electrical systems
- Engine repair
Students should also research whether their chosen school is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). NATEF certification ensures students receive a quality education and that their credits will be transferable if they decide to continue their studies at another school. Additionally, some schools may offer apprenticeships for prospective auto mechanics.
Auto Mechanic Schools in Iowa
There are several colleges and technical schools throughout the state of Iowa that offer both certificate programs and degree options for students interested in pursuing additional education.
- Kirkwood Community College. This community college offers two NATEF certified programs in automotive technology: a certificate in auto collision repair and an associate degree program.
- Des Moines Area Community College. This school offers a certificate program and an associate degree program in auto technology. They also offer participation in GM ASEP, where students get real-world work experience with participating dealerships through General Motors.
- Iowa lakes community college. This school offers an associate of applied science degree program in auto technology. The instructors at this institute are also ASE certified master technicians.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. Contact the financial office at the institute you are interested in for more information.
ASE certifies automotive service professionals and technicians who have demonstrated skill and knowledge in the field. To become ASE certified, applicants must pass a series of certification exams that cover different areas of auto repair. Once certified, mechanics are eligible for higher wages and more job opportunities.
Career Options and Salary Expectations
Over the next decade, Iowa is anticipating a growth in employment for auto mechanics. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 4% increase in this field from 2020-2030.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021 automotive service technicians in Iowa earned an average salary of $38,550 per year. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists made an average $48,050 per year while auto body and related repairers averaged $47,120 per year. Auto glass installers also brought in an annual mean salary of $37,130.
Auto Mechanic Salaries in Iowa by Region
|Region||Total Employed||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||600||$21,87||$45,490|
|Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL||910||$21,08||$43,850|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA||1,510||$22,53||$46,860|
|Iowa City, IA||310||$22,51||$46,820|
|Sioux City, IA-NE-SD||440||$22,09||$45,960|
|Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA||390||$20,73||$43,120|
Working as an Auto Mechanic in Iowa
Auto mechanics in Iowa work in a variety of settings and environments, from independent auto shops to large dealerships. Mechanics should expect to use a host of tools and technology, including lifts, ladders, wrenches, and diagnostic equipment. Additionally, they must have knowledge of the various types of engines and components used in cars and trucks. Safety is paramount in the automotive industry, as mechanics are often dealing with hazardous materials such as oil and solvents.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2022 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm