Becoming an Automotive Technician or Mechanic in Michigan

Becoming an automotive technician, diesel engine mechanic or body and collision specialist in Michigan is simple: just complete a secondary or post-secondary program and secure an entry-level job. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your skills while still working under the mentorship of accomplished masters. The state provides degree programs as well as shorter certificate courses; if you decide to pursue certification, you would be rewarded with even greater earning potential.

Requirements for becoming an Automotive Service Technician in Michigan

You must have an automotive technology certificate issued by the Secretary of State to work as an auto mechanic in Michigan.

Many employers prefer that you have graduated from a post-secondary educational program in automotive technology or a related field. Additionally, you may need to pass an examination to become certified as an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technician and/or master technician.

To receive your certificate you must have completed an approved program of at least 1,800 hours. The programs must be offered by a college or technical school and they must include coursework in brakes, fuel systems, electrical systems, engine repair, suspension and steering systems.

Auto Mechanic Schools in Michigan

There are many options for two-year programs or even shorter programs that can get you into an entry-level position in the state. Those interested in automotive service technology should consider one of the following educational options:

  • Ferris State University. Located in Big Rapids, Michigan, Ferris offers both a certificate and degree program that sets students up for entry-level positions within the automotive service, maintenance and repair industry. Students have the opportunity to gain additional certificates in performance machining or performance motorsports while enrolled in any of their automotive tech programs. With these extra credentials under your belt, you can advance even further into this rapidly growing field!
  • Henry Ford Community College. Located in Dearborn, this college is the only one that offers Michigan students an exclusive chance to join Ford Motor Company’s Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) program. This two-year associate degree-granting course provides a unique opportunity for pupils to become certified Ford and Lincoln dealership technicians.
  • Muskegon Community College. Located in Muskegon, this college offers an Automotive Technology certificate program. Students who complete the program are eligible to take ASE industry certification tests.
  • Washtenaw Community College. Located in Ann Arbor, this college offers a two-year associate’s degree program in Automotive Technology. Students also have the option to complete certificate programs and may pursue ASE certification.

ASE Certifications

Automotive Excellence certification is a greatly sought-after and respected honor in the automotive world. To obtain this esteemed recognition, you must pass an ASE certification exam relevant to your area of expertise and then maintain it every five years through reexamination or recertification.

With over 40 ASE certification exams, you have numerous options to choose from. Some of the available tests include:

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

Job Opportunities and Salary Expectations

Over the next decade, Michigan is anticipating a growth in employment for auto mechanics. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 0% increase in this field from 2020-2030, indicating stability in the field.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021 automotive service technicians in Michigan earned an average salary of $46,810 per year. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists earned $47,850 per year while auto body and related repairers averaged $46,350 per year. Auto glass installers also brought in an annual salary of $37,480

Auto Mechanic Salaries in Michigan by Region

RegionTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Ann Arbor, MI590$25,73$53,530
Battle Creek, MI220$21,75$45,230
Bay City, MI210$21,86$45,470
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI9,390$22,49$46,780
Flint, MI900$21,94$45,640
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI2,430$22,99$47,830
Jackson, MI190$22,21$46,200
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI620$22,11$45,990
Lansing-East Lansing, MI730$22,37$46,520
Midland, MI130$21,26$44,210
Monroe, MI150$22,51$46,830
Muskegon, MI240$21,72$45,180
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI230$21,46$44,640
Saginaw, MI430$22,43$46,650

Working as an Auto Mechanic in Michigan

The state of Michigan has several options for automotive technicians to move up in the field. With various educational and certification options, individuals can become certified specialists in their chosen field and even pursue management roles within the industry. Aspiring technicians who follow through with education and training programs can look forward to excellent job opportunities, stability, and a promising career outlook.

Q&A with an Expert

We asked Steve McElfresh, president at Universal Technical Institute-Orlando, for insight into today’s automotive industry and the education driving auto mechanics toward the right career path.

Steve received his bachelor’s in business management from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining UTI-Orlando, he served as Director of Education/Operations at the Universal Technical Institute campus in Exton, PA.

Q: Why would you recommend this field / profession to someone?

A: Transportation service technician jobs pay well, can’t be outsourced or off-shored, and offer opportunities to move up. So graduates of technical and vocational programs like UTI’s can do more than just pay back their student loans; they can build great careers, take care of their families and pursue their dreams.

Demand for skilled technicians is very strong. By the year 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor projects there will be more than 1.2 million jobs (1,248,200 to be exact) in the automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine industries. To reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 37,000 technician job openings on average every year.

If you want to do something you love, getting the right training can position you well for employment after graduation.

Q: Are there any specific licensing requirements in Michigan for someone interested in an auto mechanic school?

A: Some states do not require a license to service vehicles in-state. However, Michigan has a certification requirement: Section 4 of the Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act (MCL 257.1304). This requires repair facilities to employ persons properly certified for the type of repairs performed by the facility. Holders of valid mechanic trainee permits must work under the supervision of a properly certified mechanic. Individuals who hold certification(s) issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) should be aware that ASE certification alone does not qualify you as a state-certified mechanic in Michigan.


  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. National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence,