There are plenty of reasons why the automotive industry is thriving in Alabama. The state is actually the site of automotive plants that produce foreign cars, such as Mercedes Benz, Toyota and Mazda. New plants are being established for the future as automotive jobs are continuing to mount for Alabama residents. The same holds true for auto mechanics. Alabama is seeing a 1% job growth for auto mechanics each year. That trend is expected to remain consistent through the better part of the next decade as many experts are predicting that Alabama will soon become the automotive capital of the south.

Alabama Auto Mechanic Education

The path to becoming an auto mechanic in Alabama begins at a school that offers the appropriate training. Accredited colleges throughout the state feature automotive technology programs that issue degrees, certificates and diplomas. Those options all have varying time lengths, but all pretty much focus on the same core principles. Curriculums are designed by each individual school, although all are intended to find auto mechanics immediate work once the program concludes.

Financial aid options are available while tuition fees differ by school. Some schools include the cost of tools in their tuition while others require students to purchase their own. Alabama residents have a variety of schools to choose from as there are a number of automotive technology programs in the state. Here are some of the established Alabama auto mechanic education programs.

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  • Bevill State Community College
    The Vehicle Technology Repair options offered at Bevill State result in the awarding of an Associate Degree of Applied Science or a Long-Term Certificate.
    Sumiton Campus
    101 State Street
    Sumiton, Alabama 35148
    Phone: (800) 648-3271
  • Trenholm State Community College
    Located on the Paterson campus, the Automotive Technology Program features an Associate Degree, Certificate and Short-Term Certificate.
    3920 Troy Hwy
    Montgomery, AL 36116
    Contact: Reuben Buice
    Phone: 334-420-4362
  • Bishop State Community College
    Students can choose to work towards an Associate Degree or Certificate in Occupational Technologies at Bishop State.
    Southwest Campus
    925 Dauphin Island Parkway
    Mobile, Alabama 36605
    Phone: 251-665-4100
  • Gadsden State Community College
    There are several certificate options to choose from in Gadsden State’s Automotive Services Technology Program.
    1001 George Wallace Drive
    Gadsden, AL 35903
    Phone: (256) 549-8200
  • F. Drake State Community College
    J.F. Drake offers an Associate Degree and a NATEF-certified Career Skills Certificate in Automotive Technology.
    3421 Meridian Street
    North Huntsville, AL 35811
    Phone: 256-539-8161

Auto Mechanic Work Experience in Alabama

Work experience is integral for earning an ASE certification and it also helps auto mechanics sharpen their skills in automotive repair. Work experience is the next step that follows an auto mechanic education. Auto mechanics are able to put their training to use in a real-life auto repair setting. The more experience an auto mechanic acquires, the more credibility is built. This helps with acquiring certifications, negotiating pay rates, and becoming a prime candidate for an open mechanic position. The search for employment is often helped by auto mechanic education programs that feature job placement assistance. In the state of Alabama, there is no shortage of auto repair shops and some of the ones listed below could be potential places of employment for new auto mechanics.

Alabama EPA 609-Refrigerant Certification

Motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC) service and repair is not permitted by all auto mechanics. To be eligible to conduct this type of work, an auto mechanic must hold a 609-refrigerant certification. This certification was introduced by the EPA as a way of providing a standard for MVAC repair. The handling of refrigerants is a major part of MVAC repair, which is why an established entity, like the EPA, stepped in and instituted this certification. In order to obtain a certification, an auto mechanic must earn a passing score on the 609-refrigerant certification exam. There are training programs that help auto mechanics prepare for this certification exam and here is a glimpse of a few of those programs.

  • ESCO Institute
    P.O. Box 521
    Mount Prospect, IL 60056
    Phone: (847) 253-2220

ASE Certifications in Alabama

The auto repair industry has come to accept certifications issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) as an industry standard. A certification signifies that an auto mechanic has achieved an above-average knowledge level in a certain area. ASE certifications are a way for auto mechanics to distinguish themselves from the rest of the profession. When it comes to the hiring process, ASE certifications hold a lot of credibility with potential employers. Certification exams are put together by a panel of experts and are not intended to be easy. Work experience criteria must also be met before an auto mechanic can take an ASE certification exam. Earning all the certifications in a test series will result in master status for an auto mechanic, which is a lofty distinction. Here is a look at the various test areas that provide auto mechanic certifications.

  • Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification Test (G1)
  • Automobile & Light Truck Certification Tests (A Series)
  • Collision Repair & Refinish Certification Tests (B Series)
  • Damage Analysis & Estimating Certification Test (B6)
  • Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test (C1)
  • Truck Equipment Certification Tests (E Series)
  • Alternate Fuels Certification Test (F1)
  • Transit Bus Certification Tests (H Series)
  • Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification Test (L1)
  • Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification Test (L2)
  • Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Test (L3)
  • Engine Machinist Certification Tests (M Series)
  • Parts Specialist Certification Tests (P Series)
  • School Bus Certification Tests (S Series)
  • Medium-Heavy Truck Certification Tests (T Series)
  • Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems Test (X1)

Taking an ASE certification exam requires auto mechanics to schedule a test date at an official test center. No certification exams are offered online and taking one in person requires a specific protocol. Auto mechanics are free to choose any ASE test center as there are numerous ones located in each state. Alabama features several ASE official test centers and here is a list of some of those locations.

Test Center #2613
Auburn, AL
Auburn University
112 South College St – 232 Biggin Hall
Auburn, Alabama 36849
(334) 844-3221

Test Center #7424
Prometric Satellite Center
Gadsden State Community College-Gadsden
One Stop Center, East Broad Campus
424 East Cardinal Drive
Gadsden, Alabama 35903
(256) 549-8497

Test Center #7425
Prometric Satellite Center
Gadsden State Comm College-Ayers Campus
1801 Coleman Road
Anniston, Alabama 36207
(256) 832-1241

Test Center #2601
Mobile – S. University Boulevard
820 S University Blvd
Suite 3E
Mobile, Alabama 36609
(251) 345-1704

Test Center #2603
Montgomery – Zelda Road
2640 Zelda Rd.
Montgomery, Alabama 36107
(334) 262-0043

Manufacturer Certification Training in Alabama

A manufacturer certified mechanic has received specialized training on a specific brand of vehicle. This allows auto mechanics to obtain employment at a dealership or service center that focuses on one brand of vehicles. Those are manufacturer certified are considered to possess an above average knowledge level when it comes to repairing and servicing vehicles made by a certain manufacturer. Training occurs at a variety of post-secondary schools. Companies like BMW, General Motors, Chrysler and others have all instituted their own training programs. It is up to each college or training institute to decide whether they will offer one of these programs. In the state of Alabama, manufacturer certification training is limited and here is a look at the various programs that are offered.

  • Ford Asset Program
    Lawson State Community College
    Bessemer Campus
    1100 Ninth Avenue SW
    Bessemer, AL 35022
    Contact: John Harris
    Phone: 205-929-3479
    Email: jwharris@lawsonstate.edu
  • Toyota T-Ten Program
    Lawson State Community College
    Bessemer Campus
    1100 Ninth Avenue SW
    Bessemer, AL 35022
    Contact: Robert Glover
    Phone: (205) 929-3471

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides approximate average salaries for all kinds of professions and that includes auto mechanics. Those numbers show that Alabama auto mechanics earn a median salary of $36,650 per year. However, that is not the ceiling for auto mechanics. The BLS reports that the top 10% of Alabama auto mechanics earn $60,510 per year.

There are different reasons for those increases and decreases. Location is a prime factor, as certain areas of Alabama are home to higher auto mechanic salaries. Work experience and certifications also contribute to that annual salary amount. Here is a look at the different salary averages for auto mechanics throughout the state of Alabama.

  • Birmingham
    Top 10% Salary: $62,590 ($30.09 per hr)
    Median Salary: $43,550 ($20.94 per hr)
  • Montgomery
    Top 10% Salary: $61,200 ($29.42 per hr)
    Median Salary: $40,440 ($19.44 per hr)
  • Mobile
    Top 10% Salary: $62,160 ($29.89 per hr)
    Median Salary: $38,260 ($18.40 per hr)
  • Tuscaloosa
    Top 10% Salary: $55,170 ($26.52 per hr)
    Median Salary: $38,920 ($18.71 per hr)