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Auto mechanics diagnose and repair mechanical problems on a wide variety of vehicles, working in garages, car dealerships, specialty service shops, and other automotive facilities.

If you enjoy working with your hands and using logic to solve problems, this may be the perfect career for you. You can choose a career as an all-around mechanic, or specialize in a certain type of vehicle, such as heavy equipment, motorcycles, or import cars.

Washington Auto Mechanic Schools

Schools across Washington offer programs in automotive technology where students can earn certificates or even full degrees. Here are five institutions with training programs in the field:

  • Bellingham Technical College: BTC offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, as well as two certificate programs in Automotive Technology. AAS graduates leave prepared for mid-level and advanced positions, while certification graduates are ready for entry-level mechanic positions.

  • Big Bend Community College: Located in Moses Lake, BBCC's Automotive Technology program meets the standards of the National Institute for Automotive Services Excellence (ASE) for automotive technician training. Graduates leave the program prepared to receive ASE Certification in all eight principles.

  • South Puget Sound Community College: SPSCC offers an AAS degree and certification in Automotive Technology. NATEF-certified, the program uses state-of-the-art equipment to prepare graduates for a career as an automotive technician.

  • Walla Walla Community College: WWCC employs ASE master certified instructors for its Automotive Repair Technology program. The program follows NATEF guidelines for curriculum and instruction, which includes hands-on application of skills.

  • Renton Technical College: RTC offers three automotive programs. Completing the Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair certificate prepares students to enter either the Automotive Technology certificate track or Automotive Technology/ITEC AAS degree program. Students learn all aspects of auto repair, with ITEC graduates fully trained in all eight ASE principles and prepared to achieve ASE Certification.

What to Expect from Washington Auto Mechanic Programs

For the most part, students in automotive technology programs can expect to learn about the following eight basic principles of auto repair:

  • Electrical/electronic systems
  • Drive train and axles
  • Automatic transmission/transaxle
  • Brakes
  • Engine repair
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Steering and suspension
  • Engine performance

To prepare students for a career working with the complex computer and electrical systems in today's vehicles, programs may also include in-depth training in diagnostics. Along with classroom-based instruction, programs typically have a hands-on training component, where students are given the chance to work on actual automotive systems.

Washington Auto Mechanic Licensing and Certification

Auto mechanics do not need a special license to work in the state of Washington. However, professionals may boost their résumé and earning power if they acquire Automobile Service Excellence (ASE) certification. In fact, some shops require it.

In addition, the EPA requires mechanics working with refrigerants to obtain proper certification.

Resources for Auto Mechanics in Washington

  • ASE offers free practice tests and registration for ASE Certification.
  • The EPA offers information and tests on Stationary Refrigeration Certification.
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More Washington Auto Mechanic Schools

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

School Name
Campus
Highest Award
Enrolled
Bellingham
Associate
2,896
Moses Lake
Associate
1,893
Vancouver
Associate
9,705
Lakewood
Associate
9,829
Pasco
Associate
6,393
Aberdeen
Associate
2,050
Auburn
Associate
6,919
Kirkland
Associate
3,996
Longview
Associate
3,348
Bremerton
Bachelor
6,623
Port Angeles
Bachelor
3,180
Renton
Associate
4,915
Seattle
Bachelor
6,664
Shoreline
Associate
5,581
Mount Vernon
Associate
5,727
Olympia
Associate
4,947
Spokane
Associate
6,961
Walla Walla
Associate
4,600
College Place
Masters
1,829
Wenatchee
Associate
3,150
Bellingham
Masters
14,276
Yakima
Associate
4,354

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Automotive Mechanics

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Washington. 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.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Bremerton 440 $48,540
Silverdale 440 $48,540
Bellingham 280 $47,060
Longview 150 $42,520
Mount Vernon 280 $43,040
Anacortes 280 $43,040
Kennewick 500 $38,780
Richland 500 $38,780
Olympia 440 $39,220
Tumwater 440 $39,220
Seattle 7400 $44,590
Tacoma 7400 $44,590
Bellevue 7400 $44,590
Spokane 1080 $44,880
Spokane Valley 1080 $44,880
Walla Walla 90 $36,160
Wenatchee 260 $37,170
Yakima 440 $37,890

Sources:

  1. College Navigator, IES, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=WA&p=47.0604+15.0803&l=91+92, accessed September 8, 2016
  2. Test Prep & Training, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, http://www.ase.com/Test-Prep-Training.aspx, accessed September 8, 2016
  3. Types of Section 608 Technician Certification, EPA US Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/section608/types-section-608-technician-certification, accessed September 8, 2016

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