A future as a South Dakota auto mechanic can lead to a long career that is filled with competitive pay and job security. There is a great deal of open road in South Dakota for the 1.2 million registered vehicles in the state. There are also a lot of stretches of highway in South Dakota where the speed limit is 80 mph. However, these roads are strictly patrolled to ensure motorist safety. The car enthusiast has many options in South Dakota with regular car shows and events. The state of South Dakota has an avid following in many automotive events and the number of auto mechanics in the state is on the rise each year.

South Dakota Auto Mechanic Education

The educational path to becoming an auto mechanic has a few different options. Students can choose from Associate Degree and Certificate programs offered at technical colleges, community colleges and training institutes. The structure of these programs are mostly similar as they combine auto repair conducted in a work bay with classroom instruction.

The state of South Dakota is home to multiple automotive technology programs, all of which set their own admission standards and tuition rates. Completing one of these programs will prepare auto mechanics to enter into the profession with the necessary skillset. It will also allow them to start building work experience that will enable them to eventually qualify for an ASE certification. Listed below are the auto mechanic education programs available to residents of South Dakota.

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  • Lake Area Technical College
    There is an 18-month Associate Degree program offered at Lake Area as well as a light duty diesel technology program.
    1201 Arrow Ave NE
    Watertown, SD 57201‎
    Phone: (605) 882-5284
    Contact: Steve Hauck
    Phone: 605-882-5284 ext. 260
  • Southeast Technical Institute
    A team of experienced instructors heads up the automotive technology department at Southeast, which offers an Associate Degree in Automotive Technology.  
    2320 N Career Ave
    Sioux Falls, SD 57107
    Phone: 605-367-7624
  • Oglala Lakota College
    Located in Kansas City, MCC has seven automotive education options. There are four associate degree programs and three certificate programs available to students.
    490 Piya Wiconi Road
    Kyle, South Dakota
    Phone: 605-455-6000
    support@olc.edu
  • Western Dakota Technical Institute
    Western Tech features an accredited NATEF program in transportation tech-light duty or heavy duty, which awards graduates an Associate Degree of Applied Science.
    800 Mickelson Dr
    Rapid City, SD 57703
    Phone: (605) 718-2400

Auto Mechanic Work Experience in South Dakota

Work experience for auto mechanics holds great value for a variety of reasons. First, it allows auto mechanics to apply their educational training to actual repair work. Secondly, it builds their skills as on-the-job learning never ends in the auto repair industry. Lastly, it starts to satisfy the requirement towards earning an ASE certification. Auto mechanics must show a certain amount of work experience before they can be approved to take an ASE certification exam. Gaining work experience also means first choosing a place to work. Auto mechanics in South Dakota have a long list of options as there are an abundance of reputable auto repair businesses. Here is a look at some of the potential employers for auto mechanics in the state of South Dakota.

EPA 609-Refrigerant Certification in South Dakota

One facet of auto repair involves working on a vehicle’s air conditioner. This is referred to as a motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC) unit and it now requires an EPA certification. This certification was established because MVAC repair involves the handling of refrigerant, which could be dangerous to the environment. The certification has become known as the 609-refrigerant certification. To earn this certification, an auto mechanic must pass an online test. The programs do not require auto mechanics to physically attend any kind of tutorials or lessons. The programs can be utilized from a mechanic’s own home. Here is a list of some 609-refrigerant certification training programs available to auto mechanics throughout the United States.

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

South Dakota ASE Certifications

The auto repair industry has established standards for excellence and that is denoted by earning certifications issued by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). One of these certifications serves as a stamp of credibility as auto mechanics typically strive to earn as many certifications as possible. Many auto repair shops post signs that indicate their staff of mechanics are ASE certified. When advertising their business online or in print, the ASE certification label is often used by auto repair shop owners. This is a way of showing customers that a business has hired capable and qualified auto mechanics. The path to earning a certification begins with accumulating the required amount of work experience. Once that quota is met, an auto mechanic must pass a certification exam given by the ASE. There is also the option of earning master mechanic status, which requires mechanics to acquire multiple certifications in the same test series. Here is a closer look at the numerous test series available to auto mechanics.

  • 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)

ASE certification tests are only available at an official test center. There is no online version of any ASE certification tests. Auto mechanics are required to schedule a specific test date at one of those test centers. When arriving, auto mechanics will be asked to show certain documentation before the test commences. Following this protocol is essential for earning an ASE certification. Here is a look at the South Dakota test centers where machines can take certification exams.

Test Center #7494
Prometric Satellite Center
124 E Dakota Ave
The Right Turn, Inc
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
(605) 773-4755

Test Center #4403
Rapid City
1301 W. Omaha Street.
Suite 218
Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
(605) 343-5229

Test Center #7353
Prometric Satellite Center
Lake Area Technical Institute
1201 Arrow Ave
Watertown, South Dakota 57201
(605) 882-5284

Test Center #4400
Sioux Falls – South Technopolis
4816 South Technopolis Dr.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57106
(605) 362-4875

Manufacturer Certification Training in South Dakota

Car manufacturers have developed training for auto mechanics looking to specialize in working on one brand of vehicles. This has become known as manufacturer certification training. Most dealerships that sell one brand of vehicles staff a team of mechanics who are certified to work on those particular vehicles. Training involves detailed instruction on cars and trucks produced by that manufacturer. Companies like Subaru, Honda, Chrysler, GM and Ford have established training programs offered at various post-secondary schools throughout the country. The schools offering auto mechanic education training in South Dakota do not feature any of those programs. However, here is a look at some of those programs that are available in select states.

  • Honda PACT Program
    This program features 28 schools that have a program that details auto repair and service on all types of Honda vehicles.
  • Ford Asset Program
    This program introduces auto mechanics to the specifics of auto repair on all Ford makes and models.
  • Toyota T-Ten Program
    Auto repair and service on Toyota and Lexus vehicles is taught at the numerous T-Ten programs located across the country.
  • Kia National Training Center
    The Kia National Training Center in West Point, Georgia trains auto mechanics from various parts of the country.

South Dakota Auto Mechanic Salary

The annual salary of an auto mechanic changes by location in the state of South Dakota. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that the median salary of an auto mechanic in South Dakota is $35,470 per year. Those statistics also showed that the top10% of South Dakota auto mechanics earn a salary of $54,090 per year. There are different reasons for the change in salary, as work experience and certification level can both influence pay rates. Here is a look at the various salaries of South Dakota auto mechanics based upon location.

  • Sioux Falls
    Top 10% Salary: $57,100 ($27.45 per hr)
    Median Salary: $38,160 ($18.35 per hr)
  • Rapid City
    Top 10% Salary: $55,710 ($26.78 per hr)
    Median Salary: $34,200 ($16.44 per hr)
  • Western South Dakota
    Top 10% Salary: $50,300 ($24.18 per hr)
    Median Salary: $31,120 ($14.96 per hr)
  • Eastern South Dakota
    Top 10% Salary: $51,650 ($24.83 per hr)
    Median Salary: $35,300 ($16.97 per hr)