Virginia has welcomed multiple auto manufacturers who have set up plants and distribution centers throughout the state. The proximity to Washington, D.C. has made Virginia a very appealing place for automotive manufacturers to set up shop. That location also makes some parts of Virginia very highly traveled. The broad makeup of Virginia has several different landscapes, all of which are part of scenic drives that show a true mesh of urban and rural communities. The Virginia International Raceway opened in 1957 and after closing for a period of 25 years, it reopened in 1998 to become one of the world’s most challenging and illustrious raceways. There is a lot going on in Virginia’s automotive sector and that has led to a promising future for many auto mechanics.

Virginia Auto Mechanic Education

To obtain an auto mechanic education, coursework must be completed in an automotive technology program at a post-secondary school. There are different options as students can choose to earn a two-year Associate Degree or one-year Certificates and Diplomas. Each option is designed to teach students the essentials of automotive repair. Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter into the auto mechanic profession.

Auto mechanic education programs are offered at select junior colleges, technical colleges, community colleges and career training centers. The admissions process and tuition rates differ according to each institution. Many programs offer job assistance to help auto mechanics acclimate to a professional career. Below are some of the schools offering auto mechanic education programs in Virginia.

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  • Northern Virginia Community College
    There are multiple Automotive Technology education programs offered at NVCC, including a manufacturer certification program.
    Manassas Campus
    10950 Campus Drive
    Manassas, VA 20109-2399
    Phone: 703-257-6605
  • Advanced Technology Institute
    A diploma in Automotive Technology is available at three different ATI campus locations in Virginia.
    5700 Southern Blvd.
    Virginia Beach, VA 23462
    Phone: 866-971-2006
  • New River Community College
    The Automotive Analysis and Repair program at New River prepares students to take on a number of job titles in the auto repair industry.
    5251 College Drive
    Dublin, VA 24084
    (540) 674-3600
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
    Associate Degree and certificate options await students who enroll in the Automotive Technology program at Thomas Nelson.
    99 Thomas Nelson Drive
    Hampton, VA 23666
    (757) 825-2700
    Phone: 757-825-3859
    Email: stemoffice@tncc.edu
  • Blue Ridge Community College
    The Automotive Analysis and Repair diploma program at Blue Ridge takes two years to complete and is ASE master certified.
    Blue Ridge Community College
    One College Lane
    Weyers Cave, Virginia 24486
    (540) 234-9261

Virginia Auto Mechanic Work Experience

Auto mechanics must attain a certain amount of work experience prior to taking an ASE certification exam. Gaining real world experience in auto repair also helps mechanics build their skills and credibility. Work experience is also a perennial form of on the job training in the automotive repair sector. Veteran auto mechanics have acquired years of knowledge that results from conducting all types of auto repair. When it comes time to choose a workplace to gain that experience, there is a long list of repair shops in Virginia. Here is a look at some of the potential Virginia workplaces for auto mechanics.

  • Auto Stop
    3808 S Four Mile Run Dr.
    Arlington, VA 22206
    Phone: (703) 931-4575

Virginia EPA 609-Refrigerant Certification

For auto mechanics to be able to conduct repair and service on a motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC), there is a certification requirement that needs to be met. This certification was created by the EPA as a way of creating a safer process for the handling of potentially dangerous refrigerants. The certification can be obtained by passing an online examination, which has been designed by the EPA. A passing score of 84% or better is required to earn a 609-refrigerant certification, which is also needed to purchase smaller quantities of regulated refrigerants. Many auto mechanics enter into a 609-refrigerant certification training program to prepare for this exam. These programs are available to any auto mechanic anywhere in the country and here is a look at a few.

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

    ASE Certifications in Virginia

    The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a name that is synonymous with auto repair. This organization has established more than 40 certifications for auto mechanics. The ASE name is considered a brand of excellence in the automotive repair industry, which is why certifications increase the status of an auto mechanic. Certifications upgrade the level of consideration auto mechanics receive when applying for an open position in a repair shop or dealership. Certifications are earned by first completing the necessary work experience. After that, auto mechanics become qualified to take an ASE certification exam in a specific category. There are a variety of certification exams, all of which have a significant level of difficulty. Earning multiple certifications in one test series allows mechanics to attain master mechanic status. Auto mechanics seeking a certification can select from the following areas:

    • 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 examinations must be taken at an official ASE test center. These centers have been set up all over the country and there are several located in the state of Virginia. Auto mechanics need to bring appropriate identification and documentation to these test centers, as there is a formal process to follow. Test dates must also be set in advance. Listed below is information about some of the numerous test centers in Virginia:

    Test Center #7154
    Prometric Satellite Center
    Thomas Nelson Community College
    600 Butler Farm Road – PWDC Bldg – Rm 1015
    Hampton, Virginia 23666
    (757) 865-5864

    Test Center #0059
    Hampton Roads – Chesapeake
    660 Independence Parkway
    Suite 300
    Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
    (757) 277-9877

    Test Center #7387
    Prometric Satellite Center
    Charlottesville-Albemarle Tech Education Ctr
    1000 Rio Rd E
    Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
    (434) 973-1945

    Test Center #5174
    Bristol – Lee Highway
    2426 Lee Highway
    Suite 100
    Bristol, Virginia 24202
    (276) 696-0172

    Test Center #7151
    Prometric Satellite Center
    New River Community College
    5251 College Drive
    Dublin, Virginia 24084
    (540) 674-3600   Ext 4285

    Manufacturer Certification Training in Virginia

    Typical auto mechanic education programs focus on general automotive repair. However, there are programs that focus on the specifics of auto repair on vehicles made by a single manufacturer. This is known as manufacturer certification training, as companies like Chrysler, Ford and Honda have all designed their own training programs. These programs are offered at various post-secondary schools throughout the country. Earning a manufacturer certification will allow an auto mechanic to obtain employment at a dealership or service center that caters to one specific brand of vehicles. This certification has the potential to turn into a long-term career at an established service center. Here is a closer look at some Virginia manufacturer certification training programs:

    • Honda PACT Program
      Tidewater Community College
      600 Innovation Drive
      Chesapeake, VA 23320
      Contact: David Lee
      Phone: (757) 822-5074
      Email: dllee@tcc.edu
    • Ford Asset Program
      Tidewater Community College
      600 Innovation Drive
      Chesapeake, VA 23320
      Phone: 757-822-5077
      Contact: Beno Rubin
      Email: brubin@tcc.edu

    Virginia Auto Mechanic Salary

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of an auto mechanic in Virginia is $42,110 per year, while the top 10% earn an annual salary of $68,130 in Virginia. There is a good deal of room between those two amounts, showing the potential to increase one’s salary as an auto mechanic in Virginia. More work experience and additional certifications usually mean a bump in pay. Location also plays a role in an auto mechanic’s salary as some cities feature increased pay rates. In the state of Virginia, some cities are more favorable when it comes to auto mechanic salaries. Here is a look throughout the state at the median and top salaries for Virginia auto mechanics.

    • Alexandria
      Top 10% Salary: $74,040 ($35.60 per hr)
      Median Salary: $48,190 ($23.17 per hr)
    • Richmond
      Top 10% Salary: $72,050 ($34.64 per hr)
      Median Salary: $46,380 ($22.30 per hr)
    • Charlottesville
      Top 10% Salary: $64,320 ($30.92 per hr)
      Median Salary: $42,900 ($20.63 per hr)
    • Virginia Beach
      Top 10% Salary: $62,880 ($30.23 per hr)
      Median Salary: $41,590 ($20.00 per hr)