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Top Cities for Auto Techs: Chicago

Top Cities for Auto Techs: Chicago

Auto technicians have seen plenty of job growth over the years. And for good reason! As vehicles have become increasingly more complex and the auto industry has changed, it’s become essential to have trained and capable technicians to diagnose and repair them.

So if you’re looking to start a new career in the industry, you may be wondering about the best places to start. The Chicago metropolitan area employs almost 20,000 automotive service technicians and mechanics, which represents well over 4 per every 1,000 jobs in the Chicagoland area—that includes Naperville and Elgin, Illinois—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And even though it’s in the Midwest, Chicago has very similar mean wages as the New York area: about $48,000 per year and about $23 per hour.

The Work

Automotive technicians, mechanics, and service techs work on cars to ensure they’re reliable and running smoothly. They identify and diagnose problems, estimate the work needed, perform care and maintenance, repair and replace parts, test parts and systems, and explain both problems and their repairs to clients.

The Employers

According to the BLS, nearly a third of automotive technicians work in dealerships, with more working in mechanic and repair shops, in automotive parts and tire stores, or as self-employed techs. It’s common for auto techs to work full-time—including overtime on weekends or in the evenings, depending on their employer.

The Training

Most auto techs and mechanics have a postsecondary nondegree award and participate in on-the-job training in order to have successful careers in the industry. Diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs typically include both classroom and lab time to help students learn how vehicles function and to get hands-on experience to work on them.

The National Averages

The BLS shows that automotive service technicians and mechanics earned median annual pay of nearly $41,000 in 2018, or an hourly rate of nearly $20, nationwide. The number of jobs for this occupation is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, at a rate of 6 percent between 2016 and 2026.

Ready to find a school in your area? The Imagine America Foundation has a robust database of schools that can help you get on the path to a new career as an automotive technician—in Los Angeles or anywhere in the country. We want to help you get started!

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