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Automotive service technicians and mechanics use their skills and expertise to maintain and repair vehicles used for personal and commercial use. Auto mechanic schools in Pennsylvania prepare students with the skills they need to diagnose common automotive problems, repair and replace worn or broken components, and identify complex problems that arise with engines and mechanical components of vehicles.

On the customer service side, auto mechanics in Pennsylvania need interpersonal skills to explain automotive problems and the cost to fix them to their clients. Other common tasks performed by automotive mechanics include:

  • Repairing worn parts and vehicle components
  • Helping customers understand problems and potential solutions
  • Performing vehicle maintenance per manufacturer specifications
  • Testing systems and automobiles to ensure safety
  • Identifying mechanical problems using complex, computerized diagnostic equipment

Fast Facts for Automotive Mechanics in Pennsylvania

A total of 33,480 automotive service technicians and mechanics were employed in the state of Pennsylvania through 2014. Collectively, they earned an annual mean wage of $37,340, which works out to approximately $17.95 per hour. The following cities and regions in Pennsylvania employed more than their share of these workers in 2014:

  • Philadelphia: 10,030
  • Pittsburgh: 6,690
  • Harrisburg - Carlisle: 1,710
  • Lancaster: 1,600
  • Scranton - Wilkes - Barre: 1,560
  • East Central Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area: 1,510
  • York - Hanover: 1,290
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area: 1,120
  • Far Western Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area: 1,050
  • West Central Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area: 1,020

Although plenty of automotive mechanics are already employed in the state, more jobs may be on the way. U.S. Department of Labor data shows that job openings for automotive mechanics in Pennsylvania could increase by as much as 6.2 percent during the decade leading up to 2022, which would add 2,310 new jobs during that time frame.

Salaries for Automotive Mechanics in Pennsylvania

As mentioned above, automotive mechanics in Pennsylvania earned an annual mean wage of $37,340 in 2014. That's slightly less than the national annual mean wage for this occupation, which was $39,980 that year.

Still, some industries paid these workers more than others. On a national level, the following industries paid the highest wages to automotive service technicians and mechanics in 2014:

  • Natural Gas Distribution: $66,280
  • Couriers and Express Delivery Services: $62,560
  • Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing: $59,280
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution: $59,250
  • Scientific Research and Development Services: $56,330

Metro Areas Rated for Salary and Popularity

Region

Employment per 1,000 Residents

Annual Mean Wage in 2014

Philadelphia

5.39

$41,170

Pittsburgh

5.92

$37,000

Harrisburg - Carlisle

5.53

$35,030

Lancaster

7.09

$41,620

Scranton - Wilkes - Barre

6.12

$34,300

East Central Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area

6.31

$32,620

York - Hanover

7.36

$38,860

Northeastern Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area

7.90

$32,270

Far Western Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area

6.36

$34,420

West Central Pennsylvania Nonmetropolitan Area

6.54

$30,240

Expert Q&A

To learn more about the programs auto mechanic schools in Pennsylvania offer, we reached out to Brett Reasner, Dean of the School of Transportation and Natural Resources Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

What are some of the unique issues that auto mechanics face in the state of Pennsylvania?

The climate is certainly a factor in automobile maintenance. Pennsylvania winters, with the moisture from snow and the salt applied to the roads, can affect the vehicle in many ways. Newer vehicles have several sensors, such as antiskid braking systems, that can be adversely affected if moisture is introduced in these electronic systems. The road salt creates issues of corrosion on structural and nonstructural parts and can impact the sensitive electronic systems.

Pennsylvania requires an annual safety inspection to be performed by a technician certified through the state as an inspector. Not all states require this type of annual inspection. In addition to the annual safety inspection, Pennsylvania requires an emissions-inspection program that varies in detail by region, but, at a minimum, requires a visual inspection of the emission-control components.

What is the greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of Pennsylvania?

Wages for automotive service technicians vary by region, but, in general, provide good family-sustaining wages and benefits. Pennsylvania is one of the top five states in the nation in employment level for automotive service technicians.

How will the job of an auto mechanic change in the next 10 to 20 years?

Advances in the level of technology offered in current and future vehicles continue to change the functions of automotive technicians. The current level of technology integration requires technicians to be proficient with on-board diagnostics such as the OBD II scan tools and a laptop computer interface. As technology continues to evolve in the automobile, so will the technicians' need to maintain and troubleshoot faults. Features such as heads-up displays, auto braking and auto park are already here and the next generation is expected to include auto drive, voice recognition, enhanced telematics and advanced charging systems for electric vehicles, to name a few. These systems and others we haven't begun to explore will have an impact of how technicians maintain our vehicles.

How is your school preparing students for a career in automotive technology?

Penn College offers several Associate of Applied Science degrees in automotive. All of our majors are accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) where applicable. Our comprehensive Automotive Technology curriculum covers all eight Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) areas or students can choose to focus on specific manufacturers in our Ford ASSET, Honda PACT or Mopar CAP majors. These majors contain five paid internships and students earn certification directly from the manufacturer. Upon graduation, placement from these majors is typically 100 percent. We also offer automotive Collision Repair and Restoration majors. Any of these associate degrees can lead to our two-plus-two Bachelor of Science degree in Automotive Technology Management. This unique degree is accredited by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) and is also offered online. We also offer degrees for technicians in Diesel, Power Generation, Heavy Equipment and Aviation within the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies.

What special programs or educational tools does your school offer its automotive technology students?

We offer elective classes in engine performance and chassis dynamometer that can lead to a competency credential for Aftermarket Performance Specialists. Students in the chassis dynamometer class use school-owned cars to perform a baseline calculation, then add aftermarket performance parts and measure the increase in torque and horsepower.

We offer classes on hybrid drive systems in our associate degrees, and our bachelor-degree students take classes in alternative fuels and electric vehicles. We have a compressed natural gas refueling station at the Advanced Automotive Technology Center and our shop truck has been converted to run on compressed natural gas. Student projects have included an electric dragster based on a 1999 Camaro and we are working on an electric drive Fiero. This vehicle has competed in the 21st Century Challenge at Penn State University on lead acid batteries. The Fiero is being redesigned for lithium Ion batteries.

Sources:

  1. Automotive Service Mechanics and Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm
  2. Automotive Service Mechanics and Technicians, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493023.htm
  3. Interview with Brett Reasner, Dean or the School of Transportation and Natural Resources Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology, October 9, 2015
  4. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  5. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_pa.htm
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More Pennsylvania Schools

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

School Name
Campus
Highest Award
Enrolled
Johnstown
Associate
248
Pittsburgh
Associate
18,525
Monaca
Associate
3,194
Philadelphia
Associate
17,334
Media
Associate
10,816
Harrisburg
Associate
9,774
Scranton
Associate
376
Nanticoke
Associate
6,323
Blue Bell
Associate
9,184
Bethlehem
Associate
7,912
Williamsport
Bachelor
6,682
Pittsburgh
Associate
184
Lancaster
Associate
769

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Automotive Mechanics

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Pennsylvania. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Automotive Mechanics

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Automotive Mechanics relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Altoona 450 $32,680
Gettysburg 220 $35,500
Bloomsburg 150 $25,010
Berwick 150 $25,010
Harrisburg 1740 $34,570
Carlisle 1740 $34,570
Johnstown 370 $28,390
Chambersburg 390 $35,800
Waynesboro 390 $35,800
East Stroudsburg 420 $34,350
Erie 790 $29,530
Pittsburgh 6680 $33,690
Reading 930 $40,540
Lancaster 1610 $38,500
Lebanon 400 $35,710
Scranton 1660 $32,850
Wilkes 1660 $32,850
Barre 1660 $32,850
Hazleton 1660 $32,850
State College 270 $37,590
Williamsport 400 $31,600
York 1140 $39,360
Hanover 1140 $39,360

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