Auto service techs see strong, constant work stream

Repairing cars – where some are highly technologically advanced – takes training, a strong knowledge of automotive parts and an understanding of engines that rely on computers.

Valerie Sweeten

For those with an inclination for working on cars and who are looking for a career that’s hands-on, a position as a vehicle mechanic could be the perfect fit.

These days, repairing cars – where some are highly technologically advanced – takes training, a strong knowledge of automotive parts and an understanding of engines that rely on computers heavily.

Salary for automotive service technicians has the potential to increase when experience and techniques do as well.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage is set at $37,850 in 2015, with the upper 10 percent making $63,330 depending on the geographical area where you work.

In Texas, according to, the average annual salary typically starts at $24,500, and with experience, annual salary is $54,000.

The demand continues to grow in this profession as well, the BLS stated. It reported that there is an expected job growth of 5 percent for automobile service technicians and mechanics. Some states might see higher growth than the national average.


Getting trained and certified in Houston can be done at area community colleges.

Tom Robertson, Lone Star College-North Harris director of career and applied technology, said it has numerous programs at various levels of training. It starts with Level 1 Automotive Service Technician certification, which can be finished in 16 weeks.

Afterward, students continue their education.

“Level 2 Automotive Service Technician adds two semesters and can be completed in three semesters,” Robertson said. “The degree core classes can be combined with level 1 and level 2 courses, and the students can receive an associate degree in automotive service technology.”

The automotive technology associate degree takes two years to complete and provides a broad academic and technical education along with training necessary to function in the industry.

LSC also has partnerships with Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Hunter, NC3 Coalition and Snap on Tools.

“Most of these partnerships allow students to gain factory training while in school using manufacturer’s products, web-based training, tools and training aides,” he said.

Les Crnkovic, San Jacinto College automotive technology co-department chair, said it also has six programs to meet the needs of the automotive service industry. San Jacinto College also has internships for students.

Its programs include FAST-Future Automotive Service Technicians, and five manufacturer-specific programs: Ford ASSET, GM ASEP, Honda PACT, MOPAR CAP and Toyota T-TEN. Each program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree, and some also offer a certificate. All six programs are ASE NATEF accredited (Automotive Service Excellence – National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation).

After training and gaining hands-on experience, the education will pay off.

“Depending on skill levels, students can work on their own in a shop in six months to a year after graduation,” he said.


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